After a week of nonstop playing Crusader Kings 3, I can undoubtedly say that I am truly in love with the game. Building up my own medieval dynasty and conquer not only the lands surrounding me but also the history books. Do you think I am exaggerating? Surely not and let me explain why!

You make your own story.

That’s right, the focus of the Crusader Kings franchise is to make up your own story. In other words, the game is just as good as your imagination lets it be good. Okay I know it sounds quite vague but CK3 gives you a huge amount of options to lead your life the way you see fit. For example, you play as a ruler in the Iberian peninsula with an Islam invasion on your doorstep. It is your task to reunite all Christian land in mainland Spain under your banner (cooperating or… under your direct rule) and defy Muslim expansion further north. You will have to wield an aggressive yet cunning playstyle to make sure your dynasty does not fall within a span of 20 years. But on the other side of that playstyle spectrum, when you play as a small ruler in Ireland, you don’t have this aggressive environment were your realm is situated in. So therefore you can play more of a diplomatic and statesman role. Yet this playstyle is not completely your choice, as your character develops a lifestyle that is not completely random, yet not really controllable in his youth. When he reaches adulthood, you can choose to expand on one of these lifestyles and really develop your character in one way or another.

Numbers, numbers and… even more number.

One thing you will be looking at allot in CK3 are.. yes you guessed it right: numbers! The game is built around numbers and values. A few examples are income, relations, army size, chances, character stats, religious devotion, … And these are just a few of a huge amount of numbers that you need to keep an eye on whilst playing CK3. Now if that makes you think CK3 has boring gameplay if everything are just numbers, then you are wrong! Those numbers influence a big amount of story-driven events that build up to your story. Your character will react differently in certain situations when for example he has a high diplomatic stat, in a situation where you need to resolve a diplomatic situation with one of your vassals, then when he has a low diplomatic value (or no value at all). Another example are armies. Without an army, your realm will soon fall to your enemies, but these armies and the battles around them are numbers as well. But these are well animated on the map so it still looks and feels cool.

Keep on trying.

One of the biggest problems that new players to the franchise will have it that Crusader Kings has a really steep learning curve. Do not expect to know everything you need to know in your first playthrough, because even after your 100th playthrough, you will still learn new things about one game mechanic or another. What CK3 does much better dan CK2 did, is helping new players to explain everything to detail. And when I say everything, I mean everything. The developers implemented a general tooltip system where when hovering over a specific item name, you get a popup window next to your cursor explaining what you are looking at. Even giving you the option to move your cursor into the tooltip box and hover over words or game mechanics that you don’t understand and explain them in another tooltip box. This you can keep doing until you understand everything you need to know at that specific time for that specific situation.

Everything together

Crusader Kings 3 is one of the best grand strategy games out there! With a huge amount of content and surely Paradox Interactive knowing, they will add a ton more the next couple of yours (they released DLC for Crusader kings 2, 8 years after its launch). Be sure to check it out and give it some time when playing, it will pay off in the long run for sure!

Positive elements

  • Hours and hours of gameplay
  • Well optimized
  • Your imagination is the limit
  • Great soundtrack

Negative elements

  • Few optimization and bug fixes

Verdict

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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