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Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta Review

This is the first game to be released on major platforms from a Saudi Arabian developer and if they’re all like this then please, don’t bother.

My first observation when highlighting the game before clicking it is how much the background image looks like Uncharted. Thinking, if the rest of the game is like Uncharted then bring it on! I booted the game.

But it’s all down hill from here.

Once the game loads you’re shown the main menu which consists of tiny font on a scroll. This tiny font is used throughout the game for tutorials and hints which is really hard to read. I thought one “hint” said “Find four artifacts to tit the fountain”, I assume it said tilt but there is no excuse for unreadable text on HD 40 odd inch TV’s.

We’re thrown straight into chaos, Faris Jawad (the playable character) clearly has an injured shoulder and we’re gliding, sorry, we’re walking down an office corridor with alarms going off and clearly blind security guards attempting to shoot us. They stand in the middle of the corridor and miss us from 2 feet away time after time. The graphics and AI remind me of Mission Impossible on the PS1, but not as good. So aiming at the head of these “guards” and pulling the trigger puts them down and our protagonist makes a comment like “nice!” or “bullseye” every time. Every. Single. Time.

A tutorial pops up saying something about a grenade I can’t make out so I throw one down the corridor. Faris has this great skill of throwing a grenade forward even if you’re facing backwards, with the same animation. It’s a clever trick.

Round a corner and a jerky cutscene shows a generic guy in a suit kick the gun out of our hand leading to a Mortal Kombat style fight. Seriously, what? The shoulder buttons do left/right punches/kicks and keeping up to form the animations and gameplay are awful and frustrating.

The worst bit came when I accidentally clicked “Back to Menu” on the pause screen and there’s no “Are you sure” message, it just takes you back and I had to start again. Lovely.

Into an office we go where armed guards come up behind us and the sister of our explorer, Dania, is held captive. It’s a sort of cliffhanger as we go 3 weeks earlier. If this is supposed to make me buy the game to see what happens, it won’t. I prefer the version in my head where everybody shoots each other and the story goes no further.

Three weeks earlier and we’re entering a temple of sorts where Faris is communicating with Dania through a headset and poor voice acting. We need to find four artifacts to turn on a fountain, these lost artifacts in this ancient hidden temple can simply be found in vases nearby which we break by hitting triangle to make Faris do the worst kick in video game history but still they smash open.

The symbols that appear when an action is available are rather difficult to understand (such as taking cover, grabbing a ledge etc). Since you can’t tell what the symbol means you have to press the button to find out making the symbol pointless. From what I gathered, the picture of Wolverine takes cover and the picture of a hand doesn’t grab items off the ledge in front of you, it lets go of the ledge. I found that out the hard way. Grabbing items off a ledge is represented by a symbol of a hand, however. Talking of ledges, moving across them is rather amusing. His arms and legs cross over each other rapidly yet he barely moves.

Mr Jawad loves to do forwards rolls. Whether it be jumping, landing or falling from any height. Jumping, whilst on the subject, is also a little strange. X is supposed to jump yet he barely leaves the ground, but still requires a roll landing. Unless you want to grab a ledge, then he’ll jump to it like Superman.

There’s also a hint of The Walking Dead game here as it’s split into episodes with each episode starting with a “previously….” to seem like a TV show. Anybody that was unlucky enough to purchase episode 1 however, I highly doubt they’ll buy episode 2. Stay away from Unearthed, you’ve been warned.

As you may gather, I wasn’t impressed with Unearthed. To me it seems like a (really) cheap game that’s made to purely clone Uncharted in an attempt to piggy back its success. Quite frankly it’s insulting to the Uncharted series. I would recommend staying away from it at all costs unless you’re a game designer and would like to see how NOT to make a game. I didn’t even mention the awkward camera and death animations.

I’ll never get that half an hour back from my life where I could have been doing something more fun and worthwhile like counting rice.


A cheap and vastly inferior Uncharted pretender.


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