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UnMetal, a parody of the Metal Gear series, begins like Rambo, plays like Escape from New York, and ends like Alien, and in today's gaming industry, that's creativity as most games are inspired by only one gameplay element. The game stars a gruff and grizzled Jesse Fox, an American who was shot down while piloting a Russian plane. Yes, you read that right.
Captured and subsequently interrogated by faceless operatives, Fox starts to reveal his fantastic tales of his harrowing adventures through cut scenes and humor. Some will say that this kind of storytelling idea is old, but if it's done well, as it is here, then who cares?
UnMetal is a first-rate, slam-bang action thriller with a lot of style and heaps of witty one-liners. It's made out of pieces of other games, yes, and not much in it is really new, but each element has been lovingly polished to a shiny gloss.
Games like this develop and progress over time from one action sequence to another so one has to invest time in the title to get the most impact from it. Sometimes it doesn't even matter much how they fit together, just as long as it flows cohesively.
Consider, for example, in the beginning, scene where Fox explains that he had to write a note using a broken wire as a pen and his blood for ink on a piece of toilet paper. But to obtain the toilet paper, Fox had to demolish the entire toilet. Pretty strange if you ask me. But in the world of UnMetal, it makes sense.
Afterward, Fox ends up having to escape the prison complex he's been sent to. Level by level, he tip-toes, cowers and shields himself from guards who take a shoot first-ask-questions-later mentality. The game is viewed from the top-down perspective and it works well since many of the game's stealth and interaction elements require a full 360-degree view of the surrounding.
The retro-pixel look was a good choice since it frees up the developers, @unepic_fran, to focus on gameplay mechanics rather than on technical 3D jargon. The game does a rather good job of visually conveying its message through convincing cut scenes that eerily display much of the narration in shadowy darkness.
Item drops are placed strategically around each level and after successful completion, you'll be faced with the obligatory end-boss. Some of these encounters can be brutal. Luckily, Fox will have access to bandages early on which can be used routinely as bleeding is one of the main injuries that will take down even someone as hardcore as Fox.
There's also a nifty RPG-lite component to the game in which you can decide which abilities you want to endow on. This decision-making aspect of the game impacts certain scenarios and changes the gameplay environment while adding a deeper layer of re-playability to the game.
Despite all the Metal Gear parodies you'll find here, UnMetal provides more humor compared to Gears' more serious overtones. Is this a mere copycat? Not a copycat so much as a salute. Personally, I like all this ridiculous stuff, at least when it's done well.
But without a doubt, UnMetal's greatest strength is one of spirit. I live in a corner of a vast world, and what makes me human is my ability to wonder about other real-life adventures happening outside my realm of imagination.
Since I do not know what goes on beyond the horizon, the stories that are created serve only to inspire my dreams. UnMetal, to my surprise, is a game whose dreams go beyond the boundaries of traditional gaming. And for a title that literally came out of nowhere, that's saying a lot.
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