This year’s E3 has been largely uneventful, and most could go as far as to say that it has been a complete let down. As all the major publishers shown very little in terms of new creations, and concentrated mostly on their upcoming catalogue of titles. And sure, Microsoft’s promise to extend its library of exclusives through acquisition of third party studios, and Sony’s awe inspiring extended gameplay showcase of The Last of Us: Part Two, were enough to keep some interested. But where both Sony and Microsoft have shined, others have crumbled. And the two major third party publishers, EA and Microsoft were arguably the two most underwhelming participants of this year’s E3. But where some could argue that Ubisoft has completely dropped the ball, then the same cannot be said about EA, as the developer in question showcased one particular title which has outshone the remainder of the publisher’s portfolio.

During its presser, EA has discussed all the usual suspects, FIFA, Battlefield V, and Respawn’s next big ”hit”, but among all the big hitters was a smaller, but much more exciting title, which nobody has expected – Unravel Two. Despite of all the leaks which have surfaced mere hours prior to EA’s E3 showcase, many were genuinely surprised by Yarny’s return, as out of all EA trademarked IPs, Unravel was the one which most were expected the least to return. But to the surprise of many, about half way through the EA Play showcase, when ColdWood Interactive’s creative director Martin Sahlin – the same man who have awkwardly, yet sincerely unravelled the original Unravel – enter the stage, many have been taking aback.

This time round, Sahlin was much more calm and confident, and this was shown in his presentation of Unravel’s sequel, Unravel Two. And within mere minutes we had a chance to find out that Unravel Two, is a co-op centric, exploration based platformer, with a steady dose of puzzles. The finished product does heavily favour co-op play, it is not a limited two player experience, as Unravel Two can be played in single-player. And in game, you can take control of both Yarny, and his newest companion by simply pressing triangle, but not all sections require you to control both characters separately, and in those, you can simply hold triangle with either of the characters, and turn them into one.

The core premise of Unravel Two, has remained largely the same. However, inclusion of the second character has allowed the studio behind the title to add a plethora of new and exciting puzzles, which require right amount of cooperation and coordination. And as you run, jump, swing, and slide through the early levels, you’ll be filled with excitement. However, but as you make your way through the latter levels, you will come to realise that the co-op puzzles remain largely the same, throughout the seven core levels, and the twenty additional challenge rooms. While there is nothing wrong with the puzzles being consistent, they ultimately become way too easy, from the beginning of the fourth chapter onward. And many may feel like Unravel Two does not pose enough of a challenge.

The last two chapters of Unravel Two – at least to me – are the two brightly shining jewels of the Unravel Two‘s crown. As both these levels feature superb and unique environments, and add new gameplay elements which have been absent from the remainder of the title. The puzzles which you’ll find within those revolve around the same looping mechanics, which you can experience from chapter one onward, they do vary a little. Chapter six, which takes place within the factory, has you navigate through live machinery, which adds a layer to complexity to the core puzzles; and chapter seven gives you characters ability to double jump, which in turns allows you to complete the entirety of the final chapter without touching the ground. Both, chapter six and chapter seven are incredibly exciting, they unfortunately are just a portion of the title, which features its fair share of lows.

Unravel Two, just like the vast majority of modern indie games can be completed in a single sitting. And sure, the additional challenge rooms, of which there is twenty, add some significant additional playtime to the experience, but the sequel just like the original is all about the core campaign. And unfortunately, Unravel Two‘s story mode is not as perfect as some would like it to be.  And that’s mainly because the seven core chapters of the title are too long for their own good, and overlong chapters in conjunction with slow pacing, result in a game, which may drag a little for some players. In addition to that, ColdWood has relied too heavily on underground based levels, which seemingly reappear every single chapter – with exception of the last two – and those are underwhelming both in terms of gameplay and visuals. And they don’t feel like a new challenge or as a part of the story, but just like filler, which has been jammed in just to extend the title’s play time.

Once you’re done with Unravel Two‘s story and take a step back from it, you’ll come to realise that this particular title, despite of its quirky and cutesy soul, is a little formulaic. While you may not notice that while playing through this rather impressive title, sooner or later you’ll begin to make notes of the themes which reoccur throughout. And the above-mentioned underground levels, which for the most part nothing more than filler, are at the core of Unravel Two’s formulaic nature. You complete a portion of a chapter, watch a cut-scene, attempt to climb an object – said object snaps, you fall through the rickety floor; you then find yourself within an underground cave, make your way through it, arrive back on top, watch another cut-scene which concludes the level – rinse and repeat.

As a complete product, Unravel Two suffers from a lack of variety which could easily elevate it to a status of a God-like indie game. But even without Portal ‘esque mind benders, and Uncharted‘s level design, Unravel Two is still an incredibly game full of the same old charm and wit, and most importantly of all it is a great successor to the original, as it does all a sequel has to do, in order to be successful. Unravel Two preserved what made the original great, and has built upon it exponentially through the addition of co-op, which is surprisingly meaningful and engaging. And the portion of the game which deserves most praise is its core gameplay design which accommodates both co-op partners, and single-player adventurers. And this alone makes Unravel Two, a fantastic indie game for the whole family, as well as the lone adventure that is looking for the next story to enjoy.



Author

Kamil

My name is Kamil, and I'm the 'Feature Man'. I write news, and reviews just like everybody else, however, feature articles are my true forte. And this is not because I'm another self-centered, pseudo-intellectual games journalist, but because there are many discussion worthy matters which go unnoticed in the flurry of other video-game related articles. If you want to read more of my #HotTakes and #Opinions, or if you simply want to fight me over the internet, you can follow me on Twitter @Kama_Kamilia.