Unrest. Not Your Typical RPG.
By Marcus Estrada
RPGs are probably one of the most well-loved video game genres out there. After all, you have the chance to jump into someone else’s amazing story and (typically) inhabit fantastical worlds. However, Unrest is a very different game from what you might expect of RPGs. Yes, it is a fantasy setting, but takes its cues from ancient India. Instead of embarking on a sprawling adventure, fighting aliens or monsters, you begin as a young woman poised with the threat of an arranged marriage. I explained this introductory story more in my preview as the demo showcases this initial story.
Playing the full version of Unrest really shows what the game is capable of. I quickly found myself wrapped up again in the story as it left off, but this time I was playing a new character. In fact, the characters changed regularly throughout play. This is one of the big hooks of Unrest. You are experiencing the struggles of city-state Bhirma from multiple angles. At one point you are simply a peasant, and on another you’re a merchant. Next time maybe you’ll get to be a priest or even the young heir to queendom.
No matter who you play, you’re still stuck in this city which is bubbling with violence just below the surface. The city’s people are starving thanks to famine, and there’s little anyone can do about it. Peasants search, steal, and barter for scraps of food and medicine but all of this simply seems to delay the inevitable. How did all this come to pass? It appears that a snake-like species, the Naga, brought about a great deal of disease onto the other townsfolk. But is it really that simple? Is it fair for the townspeople to look at the Naga as the big problem?
As you play, you determine who is at fault, if anyone, and what to do about the issues Bhirma is suffering from. Gameplay primarily focuses around exploring the city-state and talking to people. There’s no turn-based fighting or strategic battle sequences as might be expected of RPGs. This is for the best as it leaves the story to shine. Thankfully, Unrest has a very compelling story that lets you in on the action.
Throughout play you are constantly given choices. You choose how to speak to others, as well as what quests to pursue and complete. For example, in the very first storyline you can choose to do things such as hide your dowry to keep the other family from pressuring an arranged marriage on you – or you can try to run away in the night. But these aren’t the only choices, and there are so many more for each character’s session. Because of that, you could probably end up playing Unrest multiple times to see what can be changed.
I really loved how I was able to “change” the narrative. It really felt as though characters and plot responded to my peaceful, sometimes naive, play style. Because of that, I came away from playing Unrest feeling a certain way. It would be very cool to see how a more aggressive playthrough might change things. Anyone who is tired of the same old RPGs, or simply wants a very story and choice focused story should pick up Unrest. It is undeniably unique, enthralling, and gaming is in serious need of more adventures like this.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/marcus.jpg” ]Marcus is a fellow with a love for video games, horror, and Japanese food. When he’s not writing about games for a multitude of sites, he’s usually still playing one. One day when he became fed up with the way sites would ignore niche titles he decided to start his own site by the name of Pixel Pacas. Writing about video games is something he hopes to continue doing for many years to come. Some of Marcus’s favorite games include Silent Hill 2, Killer7, and The Sims. [/author]