The Unspoken

Game review by
Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media
The Unspoken Game Poster Image
Engaging VR action puts magic in palm of your virtual hands.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Survival against difficult odds, discovering and using your own skills, abilities to fulfill your destiny.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play yourself, but there's no news about who you are in this universe, what your goals are.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn. Multiple difficulty levels can challenge reaction times of some players; battling other players more experienced than you can be rough.

Violence

While you fire off elemental attacks, magical artifacts, fireworks, skulls, and more at enemies, no blood, gore shown; opponents in single-player disappear when defeated.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Unspoken is a downloadable virtual reality (VR) action game. Players take on the role of novice magic users taking on other players in its multiplayer arenas, or trying to solve the mystery of the deaths of fellow magic users, thanks to the single-player mode called Acolytes. While players will fling magical attacks at their opponents, ranging from energy bolts to magic spears and even skulls, attacks don't result in blood or gore being shown. Defeated enemies simply float and vanish in a burst of energy. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found. Parents should be aware, too, that virtual reality equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 due to the potential impact the technology may have on younger players' physiological development.

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What's it about?

THE UNSPOKEN is a VR action/adventure game where you play as a novice spell caster on the streets and rooftops of Chicago whose considerable powers have just awakened. Noticing your abilities and your uncontrolled use of them in public, a mysterious mage named Phaedra takes you under her wing and decides to teach you how to best use your skills. This isn't solely for friendly reasons; you're pitted against other players that have their own magical skills that are eager to take you down in various spell casting arenas. The main thrust of The Unspoken takes place in these multiplayer-focused duels, although there's a single-player component as well, where Phaedra's true motives come into play. This mode, known as Acolytes, introduces you to a murder mystery where you investigate the the murder of two of Phaedra's most promising pupils -- and hope to keep yourself from becoming the third. Will you be able to uncover who's killing magic users and stop them before it's too late?

Is it any good?

The combination of VR and excellent gesture tracking makes you feel like a powerful spell caster as you fend off monsters and opposing wizards alike with your bare hands. Much of the success of The Unspoken lies in its control scheme and its gestures: Your right hand is used for launching or charging up attacks, while your left hand is for blocking or reflecting incoming strikes. More powerful attacks and defensive postures, triggered by crossing your arms, bringing your hands together, or raising your hands above your head, can be cast once you've collected orbs around the arena. What's more, you can also collect powerful tokens and artifacts to launch devastating blows on enemies. It sounds complicated, but it's shockingly intuitive, and in minutes, you'll be flinging spells at targets and opponents as if you've been doing this for years. That heightens the immersive nature of the gameplay significantly, and when you're facing off against a rival who's firing strikes at you, you'll feel like your inner Gandalf or Merlin is engaged in a mythical battle.

Acolytes, which is the single-player mode, does a decent job of extending the tutorial elements while drawing you into a murder mystery surrounding wizards. The story is fine, and tries to give you a sense of the world that The Unspoken is anchored in. The weakest part of this mode is that it's way too short: You can easily fly through this in about two or three hours at most, and that's assuming you take the time to search for the hidden unlockable items to give you new classes to try or spells to launch. It's obvious that multiplayer duels are where the game excels, especially with its focus on season play and ranking boards. These matches are fun and fast paced, and are designed to help you pick and choose the spell caster class that best fits your play style. The only negative here is that the community seems to be a bit small, so you won't always find an opponent to face off against. But if you don't mind searching for opponents, and you're interested in testing your inner magician against other players, The Unspoken is waiting to be summoned to your Rift.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Parents can talk about violence in video games. Is it fine to launch attacks at opponents or monsters in The Unspoken because no blood or gore is shown? Is it problematic because people are attacking others in a game with a multiplayer dueling focus?

  • Talk about solving mysteries. What would you do if you were told that a crime had been committed? Would you help someone try to solve the crime, or would you go to the authorities?

  • Discuss magic. Would you like to have magic like the spell casters in The Unspoken? Would this cause more problems than the abilities would solve?

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