Unturned – Early Access Preview
When myself and my friends decided it was time for a gaming night I remembered watching Yamimash playing a game called Unturned. Graphically the game was not impressive, but when the video started off with Yami and the gang driving around in a car, looking for supplies I wanted to give it a go as well. So, we downloaded the game (it was only 50 MBs in download size) ran it without a hitch and jumped face first into the world of cubes and zombies. So, was it worth the three or four hours we spent playing it? Is it still fun now as it was back then?
Unturned: What is it about?
Unturned does not have a story, other than: Zombies, end of the world, survive. We entered the game without having a single clue on how things work and it was not until close to the end of the session that we figured out the core of the game. When you start the game you are literally naked. You run around, grabbing anything you can, and then sprint away from zombies to quickly equip or throw out the things you need or do not need . You can kill zombies with your fists but it’s a bad idea. Even a kitchen knife offers you a better fighting chance than your fists alone, and some weapons are truly excellent at killing zombies.
You have to be worried about your health, obviously, but there are other stats you have to keep an eye on. Your thirst and hunger will continue to increase, so you have to find food and drinks. If they are moldy, poisonous or you get hit by zombies your toxicity level goes up. Toxicity is not just the zombie virus, it’s what I would call your overall immunity to diseases. Eventually, if you eat enough rotten junk you could find yourself dying to toxins and disease, which can be decreased through medicine.
As you kill zombies and mine/chop wood you earn experience, which can be spent on different skills. These skills improve your combat abilities, survivability, movement, etc. Once you find a weapon and plenty of supplies you will rapidly improve your skills. It’s nothing too difficult.
Aside from this you can drive cars. Cars need fuel, and they can be damaged, perhaps even destroyed. But unlike in DayZ, cars in Unturned have an HP pool, and do not need different parts to be exchanged or repaired in order to function, but you need a blowtorch to repair them. Fuel is also necessary, but some towns have petrol stations where you have an infinite supply of fuel.
On that note, let’s talk about the gameplay, overall. I found the game difficult at first, because I did not understand how it worked, so a first-timer could find it hard during his initial hour. Later on as you begin to grasp how to search for loot, how to kill the zombies, etc. you may find that the controls are sometimes counter-intuitive. Since I am familiar with different types of controls I could figure them out without the Tutorial easily. So, if you are the sort of person who does not take part in tutorials, and jumps into the actions head first you may feel a bit confused, yet I found the discovery of the game’s different mechanics gratifying. I did not try the tutorials, so I cannot tell how much they explain, but even without them, simply by checking the game’s wiki you can find all the information you need. You can set your game’s difficulty, and when playing with friends you can adjust the PvP settings on or off.
The biggest issues I had with the controls was inventory management. You can’t just left click and drag items around, you need to right click them. Furthermore, it was not until some time that I realized that the items in the top row of the inventory count as quickslots. Crafting without the necessary recipe knowledge can also be frustrating, so an open Wiki is always useful.
For a free to play game Unturned has a lot going for it. It’s fun when played with friends, entertaining, well thought out, it is a really good game, well optimized and with very small hardware expectations.
How does it compare to DayZ, WarZ and others of its type? Because of its graphics it feels simpler, sometimes eye burning yet at the same time it is not an easy game. The possibility of dying to a horde of zombies is real, and supplies are scarce. You have an option of starting your own server, to play with friends, or start a singleplayer game. It feels more user friendly, and it’s still free. Because it is not some manner of beast, size wise, an ordinary PC could very well act as the host with no problems.
What would I say are its biggest flaws and problems? Crafting would be my main issue. The Crafting Window is a bit hard to use, and even with the Wiki at first we could not get our food cooked. When it comes to gathering some supplies it’s hard to tell what is and is not a mine able rock. These are minor issues to somebody who wants to enjoy a game with their friends, as I have read on the forums.
Another problem is that lack of easy server-side control (at least the time of writing). This is apparent when you would wish to restart or “clean out” your server, so that you could try a new game from the very beginning, rather than respawn in a world that might still have your fortifications about.
Lastly, some may find the AI lacking. They are zombies, but they tend to be fanatically following you around everywhere, and making them forget about you calls for driving away in a car at full sleep. I could never lose the zombies simply by running, and I would be eventually forced to turn around and kill them.
For a free early access game I would say that Unturned is very well worth your time. Paying those five dollars for the “Golden Account” upgrade is not a bad idea, to support the developer. Of course, graphically it’s light years behind from similar titles, but I found this cuby world, full of shambling zombies oddly appealing, and I hope the future updates will bring in more content and challenges for all of us to enjoy. The last thing regarding the graphics? While they are simple that also means Unturned will work on many more systems, even those not intended for gaming. Simplicity in design meets fun.
Oh, and it’s available on Steam, so simple just got simpler.
Alex “WriterX” Bielski