Unturned looks like garbage and runs poorly, but there is substance to this survival game. Many other games have challenged players to thrive in a zombie-infested world, so is this one worth playing?
You’ll start Unturned by picking a map, and the game gives you a variety of large and medium maps in different areas to try. Some are more urban or rural with cities and farms or streets and lakes. The maps offer different challenges for your character to overcome, and it’s worth trying a few to find one you like. I played the one in Washington state more than any others and the Seattle space needle was a nice touch.
Beyond joining other players in multiplayer, Unturned also lets you create your servers with a small set of rules for you and friends to play the game together. Although I wasn’t able to try the multiplayer, this is a standout feature that gives the game some replayability.
When playing offline, you can customize the level with difficulty, cheats, and more detailed options that let you decide the odds of items spawning to give yourself a good experience. You can also pick a character class that allows you to have certain discounted skills and to keep any progress in those specific skills when you die. I appreciated the chance to tailor the level and character experiences.
The gameplay itself is fine, and it will feel familiar to anyone who has played a survival game. Whether you are starting a new level or respawning after death, your character starts with nothing, and you’ll need to scavenge for supplies. There are meters to manage for your health, stamina, food, water, and infection. The infection level is raised when you are hit by zombies.
Zombies come in many forms, and you’ll need to avoid or kill them to survive. You can sneak around or go prone for even less noise. If you choose to go loud, firing a gun will bring all the dead boys to the yard. Melee attacks are also an option, and you can quickly move backwards as you see which of you will die from the slap fight first.
Although you can earn experience in other ways, killing zombies will grant you a little experience, based on the difficulty of your foe. This experience can be poured into three different categories with a good amount of skills in each. They range from giving you more stamina and speed, slowing down the food and water loss, chopping down trees faster, giving you immunity, healing bonuses, and giving you new crafting ideas.
Crafting is core to the game, and you’ll spend a lot of time here. Items such as clothes and metal sheets can be broken down into other crafting materials. Chopping down trees will give you wood to build a shelter like little LEGO pieces and barricades to keep out unwanted guests. You can even craft weapons and torches with the right materials. Even though the placement of items can be clumsy, I liked being able to customize my own house and grow food.
As I mentioned at the beginning, this average survival game takes a turn for the worse in performance. The game is so low fidelity that it makes Minecraft look like it has AAA visuals. That would be OK, except I have low frame rates, constant pop-in, and a ton of screen tearing on top of that. I played this on a PS4 Pro. It should be able to tear through the visual side with no problems.
There were also some control problems while I was playing. During one session, I would click the trigger on my remote to fire the gun and nothing would happen or it might fire twice. That’s not great when you have a zombie taking a bite out of you. I would click another button to crouch and nothing would happen until maybe the third or fourth time. It doesn’t happen all the time, but I took the game crashing as a sign that I should stop for that day.
Unturned is a decent survival game wrapped in an ugly and poorly optimized shell. The ability to create and customize servers is fantastic, but the rest of the game feels like a hassle. Other games in the genre do this better with fewer problems, and I would recommend you try one of those instead.
Unturned PS4 Review
Overall - Bad - 4.5/10
Unturned is a zombie-themed survival game that has a decent amount of depth if you can get beyond some of the game’s issues. Specifically, it doesn’t look good or run as well as it should. Being able to create your own multiplayer servers is a great idea, but it doesn’t salvage an otherwise mediocre game.
- Crafting has depth
- Creating your own multiplayer server is a great addition
- Good map variety
- Visuals aren’t great
- Poor technical performance
- Occasionally unresponsive controls
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
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Jason became terminally addicted to videogames after receiving the NES at an early age. This addiction grew to include PC gaming and was cemented with the launch of the PS2. From then on, he was afflicted with epic RPGs, tense shooters, and deep strategy games, never becoming skillful, but never able to quit. He continues to play games (poorly) and share his passion for them to anyone willing to listen.