It’s easy to want to like a game that tries to be different. Games that take bold risks and attempt to shake up what playing a game actually means can be huge hits when they make the right choices.
Unrest makes a lot of those right choices. Unrest is a game that challenges players to think in terms different than victory and defeat, and while it suffers from a few gameplay glitches this is still a game worth playing.
Unrest is a very peculiar game from the start as it is firmly rooted in a fictional representation of ancient India. Aside from the inclusion of a very alien-looking race called the Naga (probably based on the serpent deities of Hindu/Buddhist mythology), this is a world that could very likely have existed at some point in time. It’s a neat historical background that lends even more reality to the events of the game.
Unlike typical adventure games Unrest features a number of different perspectives as the player progresses through the game. From Naga diplomats to royalty all the way down to peasants and others, Unrest is a game where the player’s choices matter in a wholly different way than usual.
The key to playing Unrest is seeing the forest for the trees, how the little events play into the big picture. Each character the player controls has a chance to affect the events of the world as they unfold, and though the time the player spends with them can be relatively short these events ripple through the rest of the game.
Where this falters a bit is in the presentation. Unrest makes sure to explain to the player the consequences of their actions at the end of each little chapter, but the impact is somewhat reduced in the manner of their portrayal i.e. a wall of text. It would have been nice to see a little more effort into showing the player how their choices made a difference – if at all.
Yet this is a small complaint to the overall experience. As with the conversation wheel in Dragon Age 2, the player’s choices are given a tone to indicate how they will be delivered, such as Firm or Blunt. Unlike BioWare’s latest trend, the full converation will be written out; important, as the contents of each dialogue are critical to understanding the moods and events of the game.
With almost every back-and-forth, NPC moods will be affected positively or negatively along three meters of Friendliness, Respect, and Fear. Oftentimes choices will lock out conversations altogether, so care must be taken in choosing how each character reacts to each individual.
Unrest also features an Ironman mode identical to XCOM. This provides a surprisingly exciting way to play through a game where almost every single choice in almost every single conversation matters. It also leads to many playthroughs if all the various permutations are to be viewed.
This might pose a problem for some, as the game does have a few shortcomings around design. Controls are handled with the keyboard and mouse, with the mouse being able to be used exclusively. Moving around sometimes drags unnecessarily, and character speed can drop to snail pace for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Interacting with NPC’s and objects can also be frustrating as the player character must be almost touching other sprites in order to get the cursor to recognize the target.
Overall the game’s style is very pleasant with a perfect ancient India vibe with just the right touch of fantasy mixed with reality. This is mostly around the inclusion of the Naga, who fit so perfectly into the world it’s as if they were historically present. Where the game falls short once again is the music, which is just repetitive enough to get annoying every so often.
These, however, are minor complaints for the general experience that is Unrest. Playing as different characters and seeing how a story unfolds in spite of or because of various actions is as interesting an experience as it sounds. With cunning conversation and clever dialogue as the focus, Unrest delivers a solid performance as an adventure game that breaks the norms.
[+Great plot] [+Multipile perspectives] [+Unique style] [+High replayability] [-Minor control issues] [-Repetitive music]