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Thread: Unknightly - VR stealth game

  1. #1
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland

    Unknightly - VR stealth game

    Unknightly is a medieval VR stealth game which looks very similar to Thorrows, right down to the arm-swinging locomotion and climbing. It's currently in Early Access, but it's having a -40% discount for the next 10 days, so I picked it up last night. I've only played the tutorial and perhaps half of the first level, but this is what I think so far.

    -Climbing! I actually think I'm enjoying climbing more in this than in actual climbing-game The Climb. Largely because there's actually something at stake here. Falling won't mean much damage, but you will make a lot of racket and draw the attention of nearby enemies, so climbing the rafters over a room-full of guards can be quite tense. Plus, hand-based movement works great in VR games, so while the climbing gloves in Thief 3 might've been "whatever" here they're a great fit.
    -Hand-waving-propelled locomotion. Yup, it actually works nicely, I don't think I've felt any nausea either.

    -Level design. The first level is very linear and way too hard too early, like the devs are desperate to prove this is a hardcore stealth challenge right out of the gate. How about letting us ease into this new form of gameplay a bit, eh? Besides that the levels are sparse and generic looking, they pale in comparison to the kind of stuff the Thief FM community regularly releases.
    -Killing. You can just gently tap a guard's head with your Assassin's Creed-style wrist-blade and he'll collapse into a ragdoll-pile. It feels very wonky.

    More impressions later in the week after I've finished the 2 available levels. Not sure I can recommend this yet, unless you're very excited by the idea of a proper made-for-VR stealth game. (And, I mean, who isn't?)

  2. #2
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Ok I beat level 1, here it is.

    Actual playtime: ~35 minutes, including sweat-wiping pauses. All that crouching and climbing takes a toll! The glow in the lower right corner is the lightgem btw, like most things in the peripheral view it gets cropped out in the monitor-view.

  3. #3
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: Netherlands
    I bought it and played through the tutorial, and stopped at the Dungeons chapter 1 text because the framerate was messing up so bad. All in all, I'd say I wouldn't recommend it yet. Too many rough edges and annoyances.
    I am, in theory, a fan of what Thirith coined as Masturmotion™, but it regularly sent me careening down the last direction I walked in at a sprinter's pace for bending over, or for no reason at all. Maybe it's related to my machine needing to be beefier.
    The climbing is at once too powerful (need to bypass anything? climb!) and frustratingly glitchy, with some (parts of) surfaces not being climbable, while most everything else is. Besides that, it suffers from the average Vive-centric control issues with the index finger triggers being used for grip, and the tutorial texts refer to the analog stick as the trackpad (also sprinting is clicking in the stick).
    I hope they get to more open spaces soon-ish, because I'm not a fan of the dungeon/sewer level aesthetic with its identical stone texture everywhere. In fact, if they have to include them, I'd say it'd be wise not to front-load them all.
    I'll try it again later this week. Might still refund it.

    Looking up that wank joke again made me realize how similar Thorrows is, btw. Wonder how they're doing, since their last post is from September.

  4. #4
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Heh. I'd forgotten that Masturmotion™ moniker. I've yet to play a game that actually has this; have you played any good ones that let you walk by moving your hands?

  5. #5
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: Netherlands
    Can't say that I've played any others.

    Alright, so I've been playing more of this and I'm not feeling better about it, really.

    In the meantime, there's been an update that limits the climbing with a stamina system, and makes it so that entering combat is no longer an automatic checkpoint reload. I've also found out why I'm sometimes rocketing forward while I'm not pressing anything: putting a finger on the forward button is the same as pressing it. This, combined with a shitty framerate means that it sometimes detects wild jumps in hand movement that aren't really there, and propels you forward. Another weird thing is that your movement direction with the arm-swinging is determined by an average of both hands. Doesn't really feel right. The bad framerate also interferes with climbing, making grips sometimes not register immediately, which is fatal if you're already moving your other hand to the next position. Had this drop me into the middle of a well lit hall surrounded by enemies a few times. They're going to patch the swinging movement to take framerate into account, thankfully.

    I finished the first level proper by making a killing field of some stairs. In attempt to clear out some guys next to a hallway, I shanked a guy while he was walking down some stairs to the main hall with lots of dudes. Apparently he made enough noise falling down that some guys came to check it out, who eventually searched close enough to me to shank them, and so on, until the hall's worth of dudes was lying face-down on the stairs.

    My biggest issue so far (aside from the framerate) is its lack of personality. The guards look generic, there's no gadgets or options aside from climbing, throwing stuff for distraction, and shanking. The levels all have the same stone walls, which makes everything look identical and cramped. Your only objective is a keyhunt to get to the end of the level, and the keys light up like neon beacons on the belts of guards. What little story there is is conveyed through floating text.

    I think I'll put this away until it's optimized or I get a new GPU.

  6. #6
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    The -40% discount ends in 21 hours, and I'm not sure I can recommend it at the moment. Still haven't beaten the second level. I feel like I've scoured it but I still can't find the key I need to progress.

    While it's a tad wonky as a stealth game I really do like the movement and climbing. I kinda wish something that's more of an exploration platformer was made using this system. A first person Tomb Raider would be a good fit.

  7. #7
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland


    Since the weather is cool enough that you can play VR games again without dying from heatstroke, I decided to check out the latest version of Unknightly.

    The devs have released 2 major updates over the summer. They haven't added any more levels, still just the 2 dungeons, instead they've fleshed out the gameplay systems a bit. They've added bows and arrows, manual save & load, ability to snuff out candles by hand, proper sound spatialization, refined AI, and improved performance, among other things.

    I never made it past the blue lock in level 2 previously, but today I did, here's some footage.

    It's still a very wonky game in a lot of ways, but there are also moments where it feels like the VR stealth game of my dreams.

  8. #8
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel
    I've had this for a while, but when I first played it it was very wonky & I haven't gone back. I may have to revisit it, with the addition of bows & arrows and the other stuff. I do have a slight problem with the movement in terms of motion sickness, though the arm swing helps.

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