I’ve been aware of Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy for quite some time now. While it has intrigued me, I’ve always found myself to be too busy to get around to it. Fortunately, now that the Steam Next Fest has rolled around, I find myself with nothing to do but review the many demos available in its lineup. One such demo is for Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy, which is coming to Steam in 2022. Now that I have finally given it a go I can confidently say that it is an indie masterpiece.
“Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy is a jaw-droppingly beautiful game filled with vibrant vistas and verdant valleys.”
After an informative and engaging tutorial, Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy throws players into its vast world. The player is tasked with outrunning the empire and bringing a sacred staff to safety. In doing so, the player will navigate treacherous lands, outsmart their hunters and survive in a world that wants nothing more than to see their head roll. The world you will explore is as unforgiving as it is brutal and dark. However, that is fortunately offset by its unparalleled beauty as well as the occasional moment of warmth, comfort and safety.
Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy is a jaw-droppingly beautiful game filled with vibrant vistas and verdant valleys. For a game centred around genre-defining procedural generation, the forests, mountains, farms and towns you’ll explore each feel entirely unique. It’s an incredible accomplishment that developers Ludomotion have simultaneously created endless generation – and thus replayability – while maintaining not only a staggeringly high level of quality but originality in each run too.
“You feel as intrinsic to the world as the trees and leaves.”
Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy’s gameplay is made up of three core components. The first, and most prominent, is exploration. You’ll be moving across the dense overworld and throughout varied procedurally generated locations. I found it to be the most compelling aspect of Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy, as every action you take feeds directly into it. For example, the simple act of deciding which route to take on your journey can have catastrophic consequences. This level of engagement with the world itself creates a perfect loop of replayability and a sense of unparalleled immersion. You feel as intrinsic to the world as the trees and leaves.
The other two components are combat and dialogue. Dialogue is the most fascinating of the two as offers the player a unique mini-game. When tasked with encounters, the player will be forced to take part in a conversation mini-game. The aim of the game is to net a positive result. However, as you don’t start off with one in your pool of results you’ll have to try and generate one. While it is ultimately a game of chance, it is in keeping with the rest of the game’s central themes and therefore works excellently. It’s a unique and creative way of including the random encounter system from games like FTL, without simply mirroring that mechanic.
“Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy is so unique that it feels as if it has birthed its own genre.”
Combat in Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy is incredibly fun and polished. Combat is so expertly refined that you can easily handle a large group of enemies if you correctly utilise the many systems at your disposal. There are numerous to choose from and all handle satisfyingly differently. Additionally, the inclusion of magic scattered across the world adds a layer of complexity to the proceedings. Magic comes with its own set of rules and mechanics. For example, using it too much will attract the attention of the pursuing Empire. It all coalesces to create a genuinely engaging and fun set of systems that while not intrinsically complex, still offer an enjoyable experience.
With the oversaturation of most genres, it’s rare and often unexpected to see something truly unique come along. Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy certainly fits into the roguelike genre quite comfortably. However, it is so unique that it feels as if it has birthed its own genre. Like all the seminal games that have proceeded it, Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy is likely to go on and inspire a new generation of video games to diversify their genres. Because while there are some familiar ideas present in Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy, it has improved and innovated upon them wherever possible and has thus surpassed them in every single way.