Thoughts: Unturned

Unturned is the product of someone asking the question: Will Minecraft and Day-Z blend? And to answer the question, Yes. Yes they do.

When you gather a friend (or a couple of them) Unturned proves to be a fun and enjoyable blocky, zombie survival game. That really is where that game shines, the moment you spawn in completely naked and item-less there is an undeniable thirst for exploration and an instinct to find something to defend yourself with. With no items at your disposal right off the bat, the game captures the right balance between feeling helpless and capable as you soon find all the items you need to survive are in the same locations as the zombies you need to kill to get them. On top of this, you have a hunger and thirst bar, which begins draining as soon as you spawn in, adding onto that need to find supplies.

As you begin to acquire a few basic weapons and random items, you start to feel like more and more of a badass. After my first 15 minutes with the game I had a rake and a flashlight that I was using to defend myself, while not much, after coming from nothing at all I felt awesome.

However after I had found my somewhat make-shift weapons, I noticed another problem, my hunger and thirst was only half full. Suddenly my next mission became finding supplies so that I wouldn’t starve to death. Herein lies one of my favorite parts about the game, I never felt truly safe. I always felt I needed to be on the move, either looking for better weaponry to avoid damage to my health, or looking for supplies to prevent death from natural causes. I never felt like I had nothing to do.

When you play with a friend, this works even better. Your spawn is completely random, so you could spawn miles away from your friend, or right next to them. Looking for each other never feels like a drag, this is helped due to the abundance of other things to do (mentioned earlier) and also thanks to the features that make finding each other easier. The map is big enough to promote exploration and and variety, but small enough that you can recognise landmarks and not feel too far away from anything. Something else that facilitates this is the abundance of cars. Each location usually has 1 or 2 cars, and have around 10-25% fuel, which enough to get you a fair distance, but not to the other side of the map. This makes finding your buddy much easier than wandering aimlessly for long periods of time, but it also can’t be used forever, meaning finding replacements or fuel is a must. Thankfully, each of the many times we found each other, only for one of us to die and respawn somewhere random in the map, it never felt like a drag.

I do however have to recommend playing with someone, playing solo does not come close to having a friend to share in the zombie filled madness that is this game.

The game also features a skill point system. Killing zombies awards experience that can be used to upgrade skills across three broad categories: offence, survival and support. Offence affects the damage you deal and how quickly you can move and regenerate stamina (used to sprint). Survival affects how slowly your hunger and thirst go down, and how much food and water refills them. Support contains a myriad of skills for helping you and others survive, suh as how much healing you provide from bandages etc. This is also where the incentive for not dying is. When you die, you drop all of your items and weapons, and you also lose a number of skill points that you have assigned. If you are anything like me, you will be dying a lot until you begin to figure out how to really survive for long periods of time. The exception to this is the specialty that you choose before entering the game. There are around 12 of them, and the skills that pertain to a particular specialty will not go down upon dying, making it an important and meaningful decision based on your playstyle.

Variety comes in the form of 4 different playable maps (and a fifth tropical themed map on the way) and several types of zombies. This keeps combat interesting as each type of zombie requires a certain strategy to deal with it, and pose different risks. For example, flaming zombies explode upon dying, causing big damage and further loss of heath over time, meaning avoiding them unless you have a ranged weapon is a necessity. This keeps me on my toes whenever in a zombie infested area, as there isn’t really a ‘be-all-end-all’ strategy when dealing with zombies. Furthermore, zombies deal decent amounts of damage on normal difficulty, and because restoring health can be a pain in the ass, avoiding getting hit is critical, and feels genuinely impactful.

Overall, I had a blast playing this game, especially when playing with a friend, and with a nice balance between meaningful exploration and strategic combat, I can’t recommend it enough. Espcially given that the game comes for the low price of nothing (yes, this is a free to play game with no microtransactions) there is no reason to at least try it out if you haven’t already.

But these are just my thoughts, and I would love to know what you guys think of the game, so let me know in the comments. If you would like to see more of my thoughts on all things gaming, be sure to check out this blog and consider subscribing. Otherwise, have a good day, and stay beautiful. Also stay safe in the zombie apocalypse.

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