Unrest - Conversational RPG in Ancient India

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SecondTalon
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Unrest - Conversational RPG in Ancient India

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:47 pm UTC

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Don't recall when I picked this up, played it over the last two or three days, I think one playthrough took a bit under three hours. The basic gist of the game is that you're taking control of a variety of characters in and around a city experiencing severe political turmoil caused by a variety of factors, notably the assassination of the current royal family after treaties were signed to allow an unwanted population to move in, coupled with food shortages from drought.

I don't know if my conversation choices locked me out of playing certain characters or if I didn't revisit characters because of the choices I made during their or other character's plays, but it was interesting to see a few references to a prior character's actions in a current scenario. Gameplay is fairly straightforward, walk around, talk to people and based on your conversation their opinion of you changes, which may open up new conversation paths or close off existing ones, or merely adjust facts. Reading some other reviews, there is supposedly some sort of combat in this game, but the closest I ever came was a conversation where I was pretty much immediately killed, so I'm not sure if that's what they were meaning, or if there is some sort of combat engine I never found. Either way, it's not really that sort of game. The genre listing is something like Adventure RPG which seems fair to me. It's not a visual novel, as those tend to be on the rails narratives where you occasionally make an A or B (and sometimes C) choices, while this was a game where you almost always had three choices, often more, and most of the time there's no real right answer. You're fairly free to be sarcastic to one person, timid around another or to switch things around, and I get the feeling that some options work better when the NPCs have had their opinions adjusted favorably.

Outside of saving and reloading, there's no repeating conversation topics, so it is a game where you need to pay attention. At the same time, while you are given defined roles, you're also not told much about your personality and have to glean it from the conversation options you have, but due to that your characters are pretty blank slates, letting you control them as you see fit. You can run the Mercenary Captain as a military hardass if you want, or you can make him a laid back sarcastic verbal jokester who nevertheless gets the job done.

My biggest gripe is that the game doesn't give a clear indication that talking to this person will irrevocably move you to the next chapter, which is irksome as there were times it was the logical thing to do - example being the segment where you play a poor girl coming to terms with the arranged marriage to someone she doesn't care for but is of much higher stature, you meet someone who can help your family out as your dad is a toymaker and the person you meet is a merchant - show an example, get your dad some work, seems logical. At the same time, you may also be coming back with news on how meeting your fiance went. If you talk to both your father and mother... you get moved to the next chapter, with that dangling, fairly important quest incomplete.

At any rate, it's a fun game, it's cheap, and a couple of things claim it's the only RPG set in (Ancient, Fantasy) India. I don't exactly know how true that is, but the English Wikipedia category of Games set in India agrees. Of course, going through that list, I think it's one of two or three games set primarily or entirely in India that stars Indian people. I say two or three as there's Get Water!, a game about water scarcity in India, and Prince of Persia which applies if you use an incredibly loose definition of Indian to include Persian based on the fact that the Persian Empire once held parts of modern India.

It's got a 65% on Metacritic, which I'd say is fair if you're using an actual 0-100 scale, with the 40-60 range representing games that may have a few flaws, may lack some polish (I noticed at least one typo - didn's for didn't and on occasion - particularly during the priest's bit and the stairs near the temple - multiple clicks were needed to get a character to go to a certain place) and probably would appeal to a small portion of gamers.

If you're using the modern scale of 70 being complete trash and a game not actually worth pirating unless it's a 85, much less the 98 required to actually buy the game... it's a 98. It's got some problems, sure, but it's also a game that rewards you for actually reading, doesn't have RED OPTION|BLUE OPTION powers disguising themselves as moral choices, and has a hell of a lot of moments where there's no right answer and all the answers are wrong.

At any rate, it's $15 USD, it's probably been on sale before (which is likely when I got it) which means if you want to wait, go ahead and wait.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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