The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 (PC) Review

By Athanasios 06.03.2015

Review for The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 on PC

Those not exactly into adventure games probably don't remember the German cult hit The Book of Unwritten Tales. For fans of the genre, though, its mix of traditional, yet well-used point-and-click mechanics, its great protagonist roster, and its humorous wink and nod to the geek culture, were good enough reasons to love it, and crowdfund its sequel. The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 doesn't distance itself much from the original, something that is generally a good thing, and Cubed3 enters the magical world of Aventasia to experience it all.

Once the saviours of the world, the heroes of this story have now returned to their former lives. Nate, an adventurous swashbuckler, and his weird monster-thingy friend, must escape from the clutches of the Red Pirate, Ivo; an Elven princess who wants out of her boring Xanadu and helicopter mum; and, finally, Wilbur the Gnome, who must deal with the struggles of being a new, and rather clueless professor of magic. All of these, of course, eventually join forces once more to fight something evil… and pink.

Those thinking that this is just another good-vs.-evil plot... are totally right! However, this otherwise generic fable unfolds quite good, with a great, and very likable cast of protagonists, as well as a wonderful motley crew of secondary characters. Even better, the game is literally filled with references to all sorts of movies, videogames, books, and other, more obscure aspects of the nerd universe. These can become trite once in a while, but for the most part, they are well-placed and quite funny.

Screenshot for The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 on PC

There are certain parts where the charm of its satirical style starts dissolving, though. For example, the tutorial, which parodies Game of Thrones and Wall-E, is so unnecessarily long and repetitive that it soon feels more boring than amusing. Another example is a scene where Ivo, in order to make fun of the monotonous gameplay of MMORPG, does a monotonous and boring action herself! These don't occur very often, but when they do they paradoxically mimic the very things they try to mock.

Gameplay-wise, this is as ordinary as a point-and-click adventure can get - something that isn't necessarily a bad thing, since everything is done quite well. Puzzle-solving requires the standard meddling with items and talking with people, and although solutions tend to be somewhat strange at times, they are also a lot of fun to try and find them. Note that, unlike in most of its kind, here many items will remain "out of reach" until the main character 'looks' at something or after a certain event takes place, yet while that sounds bad, in practice its applied rather well.

Screenshot for The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 on PC

If there was a major problem, it would be the nature of most puzzles, which while fun and all, feel much like errands, and fetch quests; "Bring item A to get B, then find C, so that someone can hand over D." Doing so to just deal with a locked door or chest makes everything feel less like an adventure and more like work. Quite possibly the developer wanted to make the experience last longer but didn't really seem to know how.

Another thing that slightly mars this journey, is how long some chapters last, which translates to having to deal with one single problem for more than an hour, and seeing the same three-to-four areas and characters over and over again. This, apart from lowering the fun factor, is a real shame when the beautiful 2.5D graphics are taken into consideration. From the middle-eastern fortress and vividly-coloured Elven kingdom, to the Harry Potter-esque city of Seastone and its underground, everything looks awesome, yet that doesn't mean that they can't get boring.

Screenshot for The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 on PC

As a whole, what is this adventure? Is this good, or bad? Well, the answer lies in its inconsistency. The storytelling is mostly great, yet it sometimes takes a backseat, some puzzles are thought-provoking and tied to the plot, while others are tedious chores, the humour is either great, or mediocre, and, finally, the level design is usually postcard-pretty, but sometimes so freaking dull. Therefore, the question remains: is this something worth playing or is it not?

The right question, however, isn't whether The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is or isn't good - which it is - but who is the one who should play it. The answer? It will probably please the vast majority of adventure game fans, even with its many - big or small - flaws. It has interesting puzzles, great characters, lots of humour, and stunning visuals. It's not perfect - not even close - yet it's adequately satisfying - the rest of the gaming community, though, will probably not like it so much.

Screenshot for The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 constantly runs back and forth between greatness and mediocrity, yet it manages to generally be a fine piece of software. Its most serious flaw is the chore-like style of many of its puzzles, which force players to solve lots of them in return for a measly amount of progress. Luckily, the beautiful graphics, good gameplay, great characters, and well-written and humorous dialogue sequences can severely outshine this problem. While it would be best for newcomers to the genre to try something else, fans of it are advised to not let it pass them by.

Developer

KING Art

Publisher

Nordic

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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