Crusader Kings III - Medieval Revenant Incoming (Game Review)
Developer: Paradox Development Studio
Platform: PC, macOS, Linux
Genre: Grand Strategy
Grand Strategy games are a growing niche market, while most involves handling finance, building empires, learning new technologies, conquering your enemies and taking their properties and other ess'. Crusader Kings III takes that and decides it can be a medieval Telenovela when it comes to so much drama and unscrupulous acts. Your physician will start having a crush on you, your knights will start duels with you because you hurt their feelings, people will be uptight because you didn't give them titles to land and so on. You'll have your brothers and sisters deciding to fight against your vessels (some even of your sons), having adult relationships with foreign diplomats, plotting against your throne, amongst other things. Even things of incestuous degree.
Again, where the first game wasn't that popular because it didn't reach the heights and quality that Civilization has, Crusader Kings II is where the benchmark has been made. That game was considered to be the crème de 'la crème of 4x strategy games of its time. Even today, it is choke full of DLCs that'll cost you as much as you'd preorder a new Xbox Series X.
While it may be stingy on some parts, like the learning curve and the less contemporary UI design. Overall though, it is mostly the same game with some neat additions, small improvements and now finally, a huge map of the entire continent from 1000 AD. Not to mention, this can be a complicated game for beginners.
How I played It
Alright, so check it. I picked my nobility starting from the Duke Vratislav II of Bohemia. One of my brothers died so I took his place as rightful heir. Thus my rule has begun. Also, my wife died, so I remarried and had 4 more kids along with the other 3 from my deceased spouse. At first, all of this was overwhelming. As liege to your many servants, you'd have a marshal, steward, chancellor, bishop and lastly spymaster at your disposal.
As I ruled my beautiful counties, I've also opened up more to my beautiful wife. After siring 3 more kids with her. Not only that, as it turns out she has also good diplomatic stats, so I've decided to assign her into political business in the court affairs.
Hiring vessels, building new structures in each land, trying to make mullah as much as you can is hard. Since a game like this is set around a medieval age where progress is only staggeringly low. The only thing you can do is be fair even though there are smarter kings waging wars and taking over lands. While I was doing my best to be the emperor's marshal itself. My liege didn't survive for long. He died, entirely young and only having begun his rule for just few years. The next in-line wasn't exactly per say, a good pick. So many wars waged against him, so many people disagreeing with him.
I also forgot to mention, since my Duke is the marshal, I also have to add more skills to his lifestyle. Every year passes, you learn a new perk. Provided your king lived a long and healthy life, his rule will leave a larger impact within the following years. Right after his heir though, it starts all over again and you have to pick which lifestyle you'd want your next-in-line to follow.
Also, I got fed up with the fact that religion has dictated that I couldn't grant titles to any woman of with high pedigrees. So I changed to Catharism and have embraced the more free yet ambiguous understandings of moral principles while providing equality to both genders. Of course, there were some issues with the doctrines, but hey, least woman got real estate and land to govern.
One of my brother makes a stupid mistake by allowing a friendly neighbor Duke to have claim over a land property. This of course pretty much pissed me off, not only that. This pleb brother is also the sum of some of my misfortunes because he just couldn't help himself. Like fornicating with foreign dignitaries and having a child with her. Yikes. Same brother start to pick petty squabbles with my other vessels and cousins as well. But also had the audacity to ask for chair in the council. I got fed up and decided to just give him one just so he shuts up.
But the most important part came is when I've decided to no longer be part of the empire and have declared war against my liege. What's even more is that I've asked people to join in, fight for my war, there might be sacrifices, casualties to the war, but it was all for the greater good. My son of my deceased spouse turns out to be a great negotiator and have called null on the emperor's new peace treaty conditions.
Thus the war waged on. Here's a pro tip, save some money not for siege weapons but also armored troopers, horses, and arrow men. Levies are just grunts, civilians adorn with small military garments and weaponry. Knights mostly help in situation where it mostly counts. But yes, having a great military commander as well as large army of well trained soldiers actually do help out a lot. Despite the harsh battles, I've won my freedom for my duchy. Not only that, but we made it official that Bohemia would finally be a kingdom and I'd be its ruler alongside my queen.
After my brothers started dying, my king got depressed. But before that, one of my brothers, the pleb one committed the most heinous crime. He waged war against my favorite son, the diplomat one. Impaled his arm and left him as an injured cripple before imprisoning him. I've waged war against him for not only the title but also have disinherited him thus leaving him no chance to holding my throne. After my war with him, I too have imprisoned him and tortured him for submitting my dear child and dealing with his foolishness. But it was all too much to bear, my kings drinking habits got worse and eventually he drank himself to death. As for the brother in prison, he died too (good riddance).
But ah, I also had to load before that point because it turns out ahhh, the son to my first deceased brother was next in line for the throne and he pissed off a lot of people. So my king disinherited him too before his timely passing. This pissed off my cousins and nephews of course. Pretty much so, that one of my sons, not the diplomat one sadly, he passed away too, finally took the throne instead. While his father was all about might and being just, King Boleslav was a different king, a cunning one, his wife was also a warrior knight. Kind of kickass. After waging war against a tiny baby for a plot of a land, my new king was finally setting up great examples already. Such a wise king he is.
And all of this was from 20hrs of play, I didn't even feel like I was done. There was so much to do. I only played 30+ years in my ruling and I've waged two major wars already. So many scandals, so many secrets, so many deaths in the family. Ah, if only the game had a way for me to imprint this in history books for contemporary reasons.
Yeah I've played this game using my GTX 460 at the moment, so sorry. But yeah, least managed to crank this up from somewhere low to medium settings. The game doesn't always look half bad, am sure its trying to match up with how Civilization 6 presented itself with all the major characters having animation during menu browsings and such. Also, 5GB of storage, that's very low. Although it does take really a long while to load a game like this, once I've started loading savefiles, the game flashed to the map like real quick.
I like the music, reminds me of Mount & Blade games. Funny enough, it's from that same developer itself. The sound is simple yet succinct, it befits the medieval grand strategy type yet has its own European charm to it.
I do love how it removes itself from super high budget sound and still sticks to something that works even in today's era. Even if its flare is aging out quite a bit, something about old is gold still sticks.
Verdict, Score and Pros & Cons
I did have a of fun playing this game. I'd be remiss if I said it was perfect. This game has some of the most clunky and inundated UI around. Not only that, it doesn't properly teach you the ins and outs of the games. Veterans of the previous games will follow up really easy, the rest of us had to go through internet tutorials to figure really what's what. But alas, least you could experiment to your pleasure. Also there's multiplayer but I never got around to that. Does look fun though.
- Building your armies while splitting them up for different objectives is fun
- So much to do on your throne
- The gameplay evolves as time goes by
- This brings true medieval television kind of drama
- So much unscrupulous things you can do
- It is rightfully difficult as it makes you feel like a powerful of higher magnitude needs that responsibility
- Polygamous relationships anyone?
- Good toolkits to give you insight into certain things when needed
- Why you no give good tutorials?
- Big UI is hard to manage always, it doesn't work that well