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The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . The Book of Unwritten feels like the fantasy-themed Monkey Island spin-off LucasArts forgot to make. It's a reliably funny point and click adventure full of memorably characters and outrageous plot twists. Unfortunately, the good times are marred by sluggish gameplay and the occasional pacing issue. But even with some gameplay issues, fans of the genre will enjoy the jokes and parodies found in this fantasy world. Rating: 71%
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 The Book of Unwritten Tales 2
  • Review Score:

  • B
Thanks to the success of Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, fantasy storytelling has gone from geek to chic in only a decade or two. Cable channels and movie studios are pouring money into medieval adventures faster than it takes the White Walkers to raise the dead. And like any good trend, the fantasy genre isn't above mockery. The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is here to knock these self-serious swordsmen and sorcerers down to a peg or two.

A popular point and click series on PC, The Book of Unwritten Tales is finally making its console debut on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It's a charming graphic adventure with a large cast of likeable characters and a great sense of humor that makes even the dullest moments more palatable. This brand new sequel evokes the spirit of some of LucasArts' best games from the 1980s and 90s, weaving a tale full of clever twists and turns.

The story is split between three different heroes, each with their own problems to overcome. It picks up with Princess Ivo, an elf who has quickly grown bored of her life as a royal. She's constantly being monitored and locked in her room, far away from the fun and excitement she yearns. But little does she know that there's an adventure growing all around her. Actually, in this case, the adventure is growing inside her. In a twist nobody in the kingdom could see coming, the young and innocent princess is pregnant.

Not far away, Wilbur Weathervane is also in the middle of a crisis. Although the good-natured gnome looks the part, he's petrified at the thought of teaching a magic class at a Hogwarts-style academy. To add even more to his frazzled mind, there's growing concern that something nefarious is afoot and the arch-mage is a possible target for assassination.

Think Wilbur has it bad? Let me introduce you to Nathaniel Bonnet, a cocky adventurer with a genie in the lamp problem. We meet Nate as he's falling to his death, desperately looking for a way to reverse his fortune. Spoiler alert: This is not where our hero dies. However, when Nate sees what he's up against later in the game, he'll wish he was still tumbling towards Earth.

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

While these problems may sound unrelated, they will all tie together by the end of the game. By digging for the truth, Wilbur discovers a sinister force threatening the safety of Seastone. But don't expect fire and brimstone here, because this ruthless villain is turning the once-peaceful community into something far worse -- a young girl's playroom.

As convoluted as all this sounds, it all makes perfect sense in The Book of Unwritten Tales 2. This is a whimsical romp that feels like the fantasy-themed Monkey Island spin-off LucasArts forgot to make. It plays by many of the same rules, which involve a lot of picking up and merging items to solve simple tasks and advance the lengthy story. Fans of old point and click adventure games will feel right at home with this game.

It's a formula you already know all too well. The game will trap our heroes in small areas, forcing them to explore every inch of the stage. Along the way they will have long-winded conversations with colorful characters and pick up seemingly useless items that will, surprise, prove useful at just the right time. Many of the puzzles boil down to collecting ingredients to craft something, such as rebuilding a broken machine or concocting a potent potion. Once you've met all the requirements, the chapter will end and you'll be asked to collect more random parts.

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Become some of the puzzles are so complicated, you'll end up spending hours in one location running back and forth looking for ingredients and talking to strangers. This is an inherent problem with this style of graphic adventure, and gamers looking for a fast-paced swashbuckling story will be left disappointed. Even as somebody who generally enjoys this style of game, the developers rely on one or two locations a bit too much. The game tends to drag whenever you're stuck in the same setting for too long.

Unfortunately, pacing is an issue across the board. The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is not a short game, which results in scenarios with too much padding. Instead of keeping the action fresh by bouncing from one storyline to the next, the game spends too long with one character at a time. The imbalance is made worse when you're stuck with Wilbur, who is easily the game's least interesting protagonist.

And did I mention that the point and click gameplay is sluggish when using the standard controller? The player moves the character around the screen with one analog stick and cycles through the interactive points with the other. This seems like a winning combination in theory, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. You'll often miss interactive points because you're not facing the right direction, and using the right analog stick to cycle can be finicky. This is certainly an experience that was built with a mouse and keyboard in mind.

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Even with its pacing and gameplay issues, I couldn't resist the charm of the writing and banter. The game is funny right from the start, and remains one of the most consistently hilarious games I've played in years. There's a nice mix of pop culture jokes, jabs at other fantasy properties and parodies of popular graphic adventure tropes. And while there are a lot of references to other shows, games and movies, The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 doesn't rely on them to be the punch line.

The fantasy genre is a target rich environment for jokers and comedians, and this brand new adventure game makes the most of it. The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is a reliably funny point and click quest full of memorable characters and outrageous plot twists. It suffers from a lot of the same problems that have plagued the genre since the beginning of time, but the clever writing and great presentation help make up for its shortcomings.
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