Metroidvania’s Souls-inspired trappings are wrapped in Unsighted, a top-down action title. Alma is a humanoid-like automaton that awakens from amnesia. You are the protagonist in the dystopian universe of Arcadia. Raquel is her missing romantic partner. Her main goal is to find her. The following is a more private, yet still very distressing story.The city, which is populated by automatons, runs out of Anima. This precious resource is the source of these machine’s humanity. This resource allows the machine to feel and think exactly like we do. Without it they turn into unsighted, mindless, inhuman monsters. This means that you, and all others in the world are living in an unsustainable situation.
While you may be aware that some games are an endless race against time, others can make it seem like there is no limit to how much time you have. Unsighted isn’t bluffing about that. Everybody has an hourly life expectancy that continually ticks down. All characters in support, quest-giving NPCs and shop owners are at risk of becoming unsighted. You are also at risk. While some people have more than 500 hours of time, others only have 100. The in-game clock keeps you on track with how long it is left. It communicates through a day/night cycle. A contact list for all the notable people that you have met also helps to keep track.
It sounds fascinating but also stressful. I worried that I’d have to rush through a beautiful world – and Unsighted is a very pretty game – to save as many lives as possible. While that is ideal in context, you can also take your time. Although days pass faster than in real-time, it is not enough to feel that you have to rush the adventure. I’ve taken my time exploring Arcadia thoroughly, but I’ve also found a fun challenge in seeing how quickly I can get through dungeons without skimping on hidden treasures and upgrades.
You can extend your time and others’ by finding meteor dust, a semi-rare resource that adds 24 hours to anyone’s clock. While it was satisfying to just help people I care about, there were tangible rewards for keeping somebody around. Meteor dust can be given to shop owners and will increase their love for you. This is measured in hearts as well as discounts. Although my weapon-smith was dying after three weeks, I gave him some meteor dust so that I could buy a powerful and flaming sword. Some shop owners hint at the possibility of creating powerful products if given sufficient time. An additional character provides three servings of meteor powder to purchase estus flask style healing syringes.
The system is challenging but fun. Help your favourite side character in order to prolong their life, help a vendor earn essential equipment or take it home? The ability to see how much time an NPC is left gives you a sense of purpose and melancholy. An enthusiastic pet shop owner, with his spider-like body and limbs, told me that his goal was to be able to pet dogs safely without scaring them. As I looked at the remaining days, I let out a small sigh and realized that there was still time for him to turn. I decided to make it my mission to ensure that this man lives long enough so he can pet dogs. The endings of the story are varied depending on which person survives. It is possible to miss some story tracks, so there are many reasons you should revisit Unsighted once the credits roll.
This timer makes me feel more attached to characters as I can’t take their presence for granted. There also seems to be some emergent moments with NPC’s. My fairybot was exploring when she suddenly stopped and confided to me her story about her long-lost sibling. This story could be used to start a new story line. Though I haven’t lost anyone yet (an elderly farmer is teetering on the brink, though), I’ve committed to the decision that if they die, they die and to see the story through no matter what happens while bracing for heartbreak.
While the setup is excellent, Unsighted can also be played like a dream. It’s great to play fast melee combat and have powerful counterattacks set up by satisfying parries. Alma is able to equip various melee weapons, firearms and active reloads. You are free to match and mix as you please. With a blaster/katana load-out, you can combine close quarters with ranged offense. A twin-stick shotgun is a great alternative. A shotgun can be used in tandem with a machine pistol. A heavy ax/sword combination can make you a barbarian. The use of weapons can be applied to environmental puzzles. For example, a large shuriken could be used to steer a massive weapon to strike distant switches and light torches. Stamina meters allow for strategic awareness to meet new challenges without being too restrictive.
Alma can be customized to your taste with different chips that grant bonuses like increased health and stamina or health-draining effects or faster reload speeds. You only have a limited number of slots for chips, meaning you’ll have to change load-outs for certain encounters, though you can unlock additional slots at special healing terminals. Temporary cogs offer limited bonuses, such as an increase in attack power or revive after death.
Complimenting the combat is Alma’s smooth, snappy movement. The way she runs, jumps, and climbs up structures feels great, and it doesn’t take long before you’re gleefully maneuvering around areas while slashing enemies to scrap. It’s easy to see how great it is. Unsighted challenges players with platforming tasks that are unexpected for a game of this nature, but they work. It also makes exploring Unsighted’s giant world a treat. You will need to gather five scattered meteor fragments. Each one is guarded and controlled by a large bad. The shards can be pursued in any order, with some obstacles blocking your path until you buy or find a weapon. Along the way, you’ll find side objectives, lore bits, and other secrets worth going out of your way to uncover – provided you think it’s worth the time.
I’m having a blast with Unsighted. The action rocks, the ticking clock creates real stakes that add a welcome weight to your actions. It is fascinating to learn about the world, its history and how it presents itself. I can’t wait to see how my adventure unfolds and who ultimately keeps their sanity by the end it. You can pick Unsighted up on September 30 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC, and it’s also launching on Xbox Game Pass. You can also try Unsighted before you buy.
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