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Review RPG Codex Review: Unrest

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Crooked Bee, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Tags: Pyrodactyl Games; Unrest

    Unrest is the Kickstarted adventure RPG set in a fantasy version of ancient India, developed by Pyrodactyl Games and released just a couple of days ago on Steam and GOG. In this review, esteemed community members Deuce Traveler and VioletShadow tell you about the experience they've had with the game - what they have, and haven't, enjoyed about it.

    Have a snippet:

    VioletShadow: The concept of seeing the Bhimra's unrest through the eyes of several different main characters worked very well. Not only were the individual segments intertwined in terms of their actions and consequences, but the personal perspective of each of them served to ground the world and make it feel very lived-in. Some of my favorite segments were the ones that involved the peasant. Even though she was only loosely connected to the main plot, her story and the circumstances she found herself in helped illustrate the disconnect between the lower castes and those at the top. Her immediate preoccupations, and those of the other peasants, involved problems directly related to their status in society, such as lack of food and the need to marry into higher castes, rather than political instability or the trade treaty, which for the most part they hadn't even heard of. It made me think of how the isolation of the lower castes created the conditions for problems such as the slums' rioting. This ties into your point regarding events outside the characters' control. Looking back to the segment with the naga, I felt a strong sense of helplessness; there was really nothing she could do to make the situation better. I agree that it made the game world believable, and a much more immersive experience than if some chosen one could erase history and its consequences with eye-rolling heroics.

    Deuce Traveler: The world of Unrest is certainly a kind of medieval fantasy setting, but different enough to interest players tired of the all-too-familiar pseudo-European fare. The architecture is eastern, as is the dress of the people. The culture is post-Gupta Indian, featuring an entrenched caste system and Hinduism with nary a hint of Buddhism or Islam. The game's story fleshes out the motivations of its various characters, including the villains, who believe that they were right for making the bloody decisions that propel the plot, despite the catastrophic results. This is not a story of noble heroes pushing back darkness, but instead a tale of survivors with opposing viewpoints going through their lives, which are interrupted on occasion by short outbursts of charity or wickedness.

    [...] Finally, there are some major decisions you can make in the game that seem to have little effect on the overall story. In one playthrough, I decided that I was going to put my character in harm's way for the sake of diplomatic niceties. That character was killed. On the second playthrough I decided to be especially conceding during the diplomatic discussions, but then rigidly refused a request for my character to put himself in harm's way. This caused my character to step down from her diplomatic station and retire. In the character's narrative this made a huge difference, since she was now alive rather than dead. But from my perspective as a player the result was the same, since the character would have no further impact on how the story unfolded.​

    Read the full review: RPG Codex Review: Unrest
     
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  2. Visbhume Prophet

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    I would argue that if the interactions are backed by a sufficiently solid "faction model" that allows for some measure of emergent gameplay, the game could still be regarded as an RPG.

    RPG or relationship simulator or whatever the game is, it seems to be exploring an interesting point in the design space.

    Very nice review!
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
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  3. Deuce Traveler Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

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    I really wouldn't say there is a strong faction model. There are definitely factions, and you play as a member of one each time you swap characters and can also show favoritism towards one group of people over the other in dialogue discussions. Past that, faction interactions fall way short of anything you could have seen from a game like Geneforge, Planescape Torment, or Morrowind.

    Maybe VioletShadow has a separate opinion, so let's give her a call.
     
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  4. Overboard Arcane

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    [​IMG]

    :hmmm:
     
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  5. Infinitron I post news Patron

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  6. Zorba the Hutt Arcane Weasel

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    He means it should be drought not draught
     
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  7. MuscleSpark Savant Patron

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    Visual novel?
     
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  8. VioletShadow Sensate Patron

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    There is some small degree of interaction between the "factions", but in general nothing that is influenced much by the protagonists or their choices. I liked how during each protagonist's segment you can show different attitudes toward the different groups and even your own, as with the priest
    and you having some freedom to have him agree with the order's ideology or not and he can even show it with actions by giving medicine/bread to the naga
    but really the only element that this game shares with RPGs is the branching narrative and some degree of reactivity...and I mean "shares" because to me this is an adventure/CYOA game.

    Edit: That being said, the branching paths were well done. You can
    have the peasant girl run away with her girl friend (girlfriend? maybe LOL jk), carrying a lot of supplies, on a stolen horse and then during a different segment you see Laxmi complaining about losing face and how some peasants under her management ran away and during the mercenary segment he can decide what to do about the captured runways. This was neat.
    I still want to go back and try different choices.
     
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  9. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I was mildly curious about this game when the kickstarter was announced, and after reading this review I remain so.

    It does seem like a really good scenario for a game. As a total noob of Indian history and mythology, would I feel lost at all trying to get into it, and alternatively do you think it treats said history and mythology in a mature way?
     
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  10. neilsouth Augur

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    "Thankyou come again", I'll just phone up customer support for my Indian Adventure :p
     
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  11. Deuce Traveler Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

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    I'm not an expert either, though the author of the game is certainly quite well versed. As a fan of Indian mythos and history, I would say that it is easy enough to follow. The game is meant to be played by a Western audience and it hardly touches upon true historical events at all. There are times that ancient Indian culture is mentioned, but not put into the game in a way that would prevent someone unfamiliar to such topics from understanding the in game events. For instance, there was a time that a woman told me that it was culturally appropriate to talk to her husband before I talked to her. She refused to speak to me until I first approached her spouse. This is definitely based on the culture, but she is one of the few women that corrects your behavior, so that you can go ahead and talk to everyone in the city without finding a handicap where 50% of the population won't talk to you until you find their husbands first.
     
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  12. ColCol Arcane

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    Well, it does give a detailed and accurate view of past human and Naga interaction.
     
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  13. VioletShadow Sensate Patron

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    It's a very good setting for a game. Not only is it well developed but refreshing as well! One..more..medieval yurop-influenced game and I....:lol:
    It's not heavy on the history or anything, and no big info dumps either. I'd say it eases you into the setting nicely.
     
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  14. Sensuki Arcane Cuck

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    I just wanted to point out that regarding the comment about the colors such as green pointing out:

    That is likely to do with your monitor, rather than the game itself. 6-bit TN panel LCD monitors (used in like 90% of commercial screens) can only display 262K colors, as opposed to the full 16.7 Million colors of a 24-bit color palette. They fake the rest by using dithering. Such screens (such as my Alienware screen) often display oranges, reds and light greens (among other colors) rather brightly.

    On my CRT monitor which I am using now, every screenshot I have ever seen of this game looks very natural, color wise.
     
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  15. GlutenBurger Arbiter

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    Yeah, playing through it isn't boring, but it really is just a simple choose your own adventure.

    I played through twice, changing all my responses and actions significantly for the second, and wasn't even aware that combat was possible. I guess I'll have to try being even more abrasive next time.

    The final outcome was also much the same for both playthroughs. I kind of got the feeling that nothing much affected what happened. Attitude meters, traits, even whether or not particular characters were murdered at the end of their scenario.

    Is the post-game summary always given by a naga?
     
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  16. VioletShadow Sensate Patron

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    I'm wondering about this as well. Deuce Traveler ?
     
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  17. Agesilaus Antiquity Studio Patron Developer

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    I enjoyed the twenty minutes or so I spent playing it.

    First story felt pointless; I guess you could make a tutorial, but right now it just seemed I was told to go wave to some people, and then when walked in that direction it ended.

    Second story was a little boring but otherwise okay; I enjoyed the fact that my dialogue choices changed people's reactions. I did not really enjoy it all that much until the end, though; I started liking the game when I found out that I died because of a particular decision I made (I only played once, so I hope that all the roads don't lead to me dying).

    Third story was very good, and I enjoyed it a lot. I wound up taking the horses with my friend, but after speaking to the parents and the wise old lady, I felt that perhaps it wasn't a wise decision. I felt like I avoided death a couple of times (only took some of the jewels from Laxmi's property, and backed off rather than show the swordsman 200 gold for his blade).

    Fourth story seemed interesting, but it crashed after I spoke to the Philosopher. I hope the character can choose between the apparent factions (naga, beggars, militia, preacher, black market people, etc). I sense that you can, given your ability to speak Naga and decide whether or not to inform the humans about the fruit at the beginning.

    Anyway, I am glad I played this little demo. It looks very promising.
     
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  18. cherry blossom Arcane

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    I thought this was mostly the old panels. Aren't most new LCD panels 8-bit? I was aware of this colour issue back when I was retiring my old CRT many years ago (2007, I think) and found an expensive 8-bit that was on par with my good old CRT. Since then, I've been checking on new panels every couple years and I've noticed that the amount of 8-bit panels have increased greatly while the price dropped. The game looks rather vivid on my panel.
     
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  19. HiddenX The Elder Spy Patron

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  20. Fireblade Augur

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    No, vast majority of LCD panels being sold today are still 6-bit TN panels - because they are the cheapest by far.
     
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  21. Deuce Traveler Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

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    :D

    Spoilerish answer: I have not seen a post-game summary not done by the naga. It makes sense for the naga to do it, since every human character you play either doesn't survive or sees everything through the eyes of his or her particular faction. The naga speakers at the conclusion seem to have a perspective on events in the city as a whole and partially outside observers
     
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  22. VioletShadow Sensate Patron

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    Thanks! I think so too LOL
    Always a pleasure to collaborate with Deuce. Let's see what we get up to next :D
     
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  23. Sensuki Arcane Cuck

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    No. There's 3 (technically more) types of LCD panels. IPS, VA and TN. IPS and VA are usually 8 but sometimes 10-bit. TN panels (BY FAR the most common) are 6-bit but the very first commercial 8-bit TN panel is coming out at the end of next month.
     
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  24. stony3k Augur Patron

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  25. VioletShadow Sensate Patron

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