"Oh look guys, it's Timothy writing a review for that one game everyone on youtube makes fun of! I can't wait until he tears it a new ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥, because he's a cynical ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ and that's what cynical people do!"
If this was your reaction when you noticed this review, then I'm sorry to tell you that I will not write a funny 9/11 Allahu Akbar type of review. I respect the dev team, who put a lot of work and effort in this game, too much for that. Well yeah, this game is inspired by Uncharted, Tomb Raider, what not, they won't deny that. But at least they are enthusiastic about it. What's the last time you saw people this happy about making a game? Even if the game is buggy (and oh, trust me, it is, I'll elaborate) I still had fun playing it simply because I know the devs had fun making it. They really want to make an amazing adventure series where you explore the arabic world and its many fascinating places (which it truly has, no doubt about that). The dev team knows that they're not making GOTYAY material and doesn't say they are. They try to stay positive while everyone on the internet's too busy making fun of them and their "worst game ever" (a title that many other games I've played deserve more). They respond nicely to often assholish or 'funny' behaviour and criticism, which I think is something most developers can learn from. So yeah, kuddos for that, guys.
Now for the game itself. I'll give you a quick rundown of what I enjoyed and what I thought could use improvement.
The world: as mentioned earlier, the arabic world and culture and its interesting treasures is often overlooked because 'muh terrorism'. A shame, really, since some of the world's most amazing buildings and sculptures were made by arabians..
The characters: I appreciate the duo being brother and sister instead of a shoe-horned love interest. While it felt a little awkward sometimes, there's still some awws and ohs to be had when Faris and Dania talk about Dania's obesity problem and how her choice of tea could help her.
Music and sound: music was pretty solid, I like the "old man singing" that's often found in arabic music and this game had plenty of it. Voice acting was decent and so was the sound design, although some guns sound a little weak.
Story: the campaign has an interesting premise and it's nice to know that the main character and his female sidekick won't end up banging each other by the end of the game (right Semaphore? RIGHT?)
Survival: I really liked the survival mode. I didn't expect there to be zombies or mummies, but I sure enjoyed killing them, although it's a little buggy, sometimes, and it'd be nice if weapons/power ups would disappear after a while so the floor doesn't look like the surface of a giant disco ball.
Controls: while they are much better than on the console version, there's still much left to be desired. It's also a bit of a shame that you can't map any buttons yourself for the keyboard controls.
Bugs: there are still a lot of bugs in this game. Both in graphic (the background in the desert chase level would have really weird chancing colours and stuff, weird shadows or character models that stretch out to disturbing levels) and sound (the MP5's firing sound would sometimes disappear in long burst fire, lines of dialogue that aren't heard, random bits of sound that disappear, etc).
Combat in general: the boxing/CQC feels kind of awkward and stiff and gunfights are way too easy thanks to dumb AI and insanely accurate weapons with little recoil (AK2stronk). The 'stealth' in the tomb wasn't anything special either, but it did the job, I suppose. My major complaint is that all guns kind of feel the same. Sure, you have your pistols (which kind of feel the same) and the shotgun, but besides that, the three rifles (G36C, M16 variant and AK) and submachineguns (MAC 1, Mini Uzi and MP5) all kind of feel the same. Try to give them more damage, accuracy or recoil in order to give them "their own feel" so each rifle suits a different kind of player.
Length: I completed the campaign on hard in one hour and a few minutes. Besides finding the few collectibles and the survival mode, there isn't a lot of gameplay left. Still, I only paid 70 cents for this game and I think that to be a more than fair price.
And of course, the fact that the game still doesn't have its own face yet and feels like the arabic attempt at Uncharted. I'm sure the dev team will have a better idea of what direction to persue as time passes by, though.
So yeah, in the end, I can't really recommend this game for its quality alone. If you can get it for 2 EUR or cheaper, though, then give it a try and have some fun with the campaign, silly bugs and survival mode. I wish Semaphore all the best and hope that they can make Unearthed a solid and fun gaming series.