The Unfettered is an AAA-quality RPG from Awkay Technologies. The game focuses on Lura, the main character. The team behind The Unfettered consists of over 20 developers, with partnerships and investors ranging from PlayStation to Allianz and Polkacity. In The Unfettered, players must employ strategic thinking when facing enemies, as attacks have a significant impact on both the player and NPCs.
Lura, the protagonist, is the descendant of the legendary bird that created the world. Exploring the game's lore further, Lura's mission is to save the sacred lands of Ashtanna and avenge the deaths of her mother, Zandyka, and ancestor, Natykai. This task is challenging due to the world being infested with monsters and demons after the truce created by Zandyka was broken. When the player first awakens, they find themselves inside the land of the gods, which lies in ruins due to the aftermath of Zandyka's passing. From there, it is up to Lura to find a way out and embark on her revenge-filled adventure.
The game is currently playable in demo mode on Steam but is only available on PC. Due to the use of Unreal Engine 4 and 5, the game has higher hardware demands than the average game. Players with a 1060rtx or higher should be able to comfortably play this game. A notable feature of The Unfettered is its compatibility with both controllers and traditional keyboard and mouse setups.
Upon starting the game, the player is guided through a small UI demo, showcasing the need for souls and golden markers to interact with objects. Within the demo, the player can choose between two directions. One path leads to a statue where they can level up their abilities and statistics, while the other path gradually leads them to a boss fight.
Armed with a sword, the player engages in close combat with enemies, utilizing dodging and healing abilities from both a skill tree and potions. An average NPC can perform four attacks, and the player encounters both ranged and melee NPCs. Defeating enemies grants souls, which can be used to level up statistics or the skill tree. Players can upgrade various statistics such as health, stamina, intellect, crit rate, dexterity, and strength. In the demo, returning to the statue to level up resets the game, reviving the previously defeated NPCs and allowing players to experience the effects of leveling up by farming the NPCs.
Souls can also be used to learn new abilities or improve previously acquired ones from the skill tree. These abilities range from gaining mana from a pixie to regaining health from attacks, reminiscent of skill trees in classic games like Skyrim and Dark Souls.
As the player progresses through the demo, they eventually encounter a boss fight that presents a significant increase in combat difficulty. Players cannot rely solely on dashing and slashing to defeat the boss; instead, they must carefully time dodges with their attacks to avoid taking damage. Once the boss is defeated, the demo concludes, providing a satisfying game loop.
The Unfettered boasts an "enjoy and earn" mechanism that focuses on the enjoyment of the game while offering the possibility to earn items. As an avid fan of games like Dark Souls and Elden Ring, I thoroughly enjoyed playing through the demo, as the difficulty of combat accompanied by the storyline is a crucial aspect of such games. Given the studio's partnership with PlayStation, it felt natural to play the game with a controller, and the UI seemed well-tailored for this purpose.
Evaluating the graphics of this game, it's great to see the team utilizing the Unreal Engine, which is reflected throughout the gameplay. Walking through Ashtanna provides players with a highly detailed environment, although it is not without its faults. Occasionally, as the player walks, the grass can appear to be levitating off the ground.
During combat, the sound effects of fighting are heard clearly through the headphones and are fitting to the experience. However, the overall background noise and sound effects, such as steps, can be quiet at times, but this can be expected in this genre of game. As the player approaches the boss fight, the music changes ever so slightly, which was a nice touch in the demo.
Analyzing the gameplay, the range of statistics that can be upgraded is great and has a significant impact on the hero. Having a specific location where the hero must travel to upgrade statistics and skills means that it cannot be done on the fly. This brings me to the vast skill tree available to the player, which allows for an enormous amount of customization in gameplay.
Looking at the combat mechanics themselves, they start off great by providing enough difficulty to make the gameplay entertaining for the player, as it only takes a few strikes to defeat enemies or be slain. However, there is one detail that can disrupt this, especially near walls. Sometimes, the player is randomly turned around in the middle of a strike, causing them to miss completely, which can quickly get them into trouble.
While The Unfettered does a great job presenting itself as an RPG, there are some areas that need improvement to bring it up to the ranks of the greats. In addition to the small errors mentioned above, there are parts missing in the demo that fail to teach the player everything about their character. For example, it was very hard to find out how to use the skills from the skill tree or any abilities that use mana, which could be useful when fighting the boss.
Nevertheless, The Unfettered presents a good foundation in its demo and is likely to improve, especially considering their partnerships. This is a game that I personally will be keeping an eye on, as it has great potential!
The Unfettered has the potential to be a great RPG, but there are areas that require improvement to reach that level. The demo lacks information about character abilities, such as using skills from the skill tree or utilizing mana-based abilities, which could be valuable in boss fights. Despite these shortcomings, The Unfettered's demo lays a solid foundation, and with their partnerships, the game is likely to improve. Personally, I will be watching this game closely due to its promising potential.
Demo gives great example of full game
Combat mechanics are matched to the game genre
Vast amount of customisation available through the skill tree
Minor bugs in combat and graphics
Missing a comprehensive tutorial
About The Unfettered