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Game preview 23 September 2020, 15:24

author: Karol Laska

Medieval Dynasty is the Hot New Hardcore Survival Sim

Exploring medieval Europe in Kingdom Come, fishing in Animal Crossing, building, and managing people in strategy games? Medieval Dynasty has it all, and then some.

Slated for release: 2021.

Collect, hunt, survive – the survival element

Just a moment ago, I mentioned the cursed cutting down of many trees. So it's time for a little anecdote. After 36 donated logs out of the required 40, my makeshift axe broke. I wanted to fix it quickly, using a very intuitive creation panel conveniently bound to one of the buttons. However, it turned out I was missing one of the most basic raw materials – stone. Specifically, two shards of stone. I had quite a lot of sticks because you can find them everywhere, whereas stones are for some reason a luxury material. I spent 20 minutes searching for them, until I discovered that the ground beneath my feet made a distinctive sound when I stepped on one of them. A real school of survival.

Medieval Dynasty – Hardcore Survival Sim That Makes Kingdom Come Look Like Childs Play - picture #1
Hunting requires patience and some luck.

And while this material ought to abundant, I understand that the life of the average peasant doesn't need to be full of wonderful finds. That's why I'm able to understand that when I go hunting and the game tells me to kill three foxes, it can take an hour to find them and then some to hit them with my blunt spear. It has a certain hardcore charm, though I still think the creators need to put more work into distributing animals on the map. The forest can be dead empty for 10 minutes, just to suddenly become filled with so many mammals that you’d think the Noah's Ark wrecked somewhere in the vicinity. Mending this randomness would be worth some more effort.

Medieval Dynasty doesn't beat around the bush, and requires some really hard work and almost constant "farming." And it's not just "farming" in the sense of working on a farm, but also regular hunting, collecting mushrooms and berries to keep hunger at bay, or frequently bringing buckets full of fresh water from the stream. Each of these activities not only affects all the condition indicators, but is reflected in points of experience (welcome back to the esteemed genre of RPG).

There's a total of six different skill trees are waiting to be developed. Killing a fox will affect the hunting tree, and planting carrots will add a few points to the farming tree. Even a silly flirtation will provide some experience in diplomacy. But I'm not going to list all of these branches because, unlike the creators, I'm not a big fan of information torture. When you play or see a game in action, you can immediately feel what's going on.

ATTENTION HARDCORE PLAYERS!

An awesome thing about Medieval Dynasty is that the game features not only a day-night cycle, but also full seasonal changes. They change every 3 days (in terms of game time). In the spring, berries will be immature and eating them carries the risk of poisoning, in the summer you can eat them at will, in the autumn you have to switch to mushrooms, and in the winter, you focus mainly on hunting. In addition, the entire year doesn't go by that quickly – I had to spend more than 8 hours in the game to see the spring arrive again. Imagine starting as an 18-year-old boy, with the premise being that after his death, you will become the heir to the "throne," or rather a modest chair in the main house of the village. Oh, I have a hunch that in the future, play time will count in hundreds, maybe thousands of hours. It's just worth waiting a few months for a some more content and polish.

Medieval Dynasty – Hardcore Survival Sim That Makes Kingdom Come Look Like Childs Play - picture #2
That's what you'll see for about half of the game.

Build, hire, manage – life simulator with strategy elements

Once you've picked up all those stones, logs and sticks, it would be good to use them to do something more, for example to build your first house. Such a wooden habitat is just the beginning, because it will be followed by serious warehouse projects for all kinds of resources or other buildings necessary for the functioning of the village.

At the beginning, however, I thought pretty hard about how I could wrap my head around planning and implementing the entire economic and agricultural micro-system. Fortunately, having other people do the dirty work is indeed advisable, although it requires a considerable effort in building the reputation of the – admittedly ambitious – but still an eighteen-year-old. And it really takes a lot of pleading and cajoling to convince at least a single village headstrong to join you.

Potential employees can be assigned to specific jobs, but it is important to make sure there's a stock of food available. I didn't have one, and my best friend Odo quit my company after working hungry for a few hours. I'll tell you, these Middle Ages are no funny business.

Early Access with considerable potential

Medieval Dynasty has garnered moderately positive reviews so far, and it has an undeniable charm to it, although we spend most time on mundane, absolutely exhausting activities. It may not be an RPG in which exploration really pays off, nor a survival game in which you can hunt the prey you really need with realistic efficiency, but you must not forget – now get ready for the greatest clichι of them all – it's just early access. There's still a lot of work to get done.

Medieval Dynasty – Hardcore Survival Sim That Makes Kingdom Come Look Like Childs Play - picture #3
Killing farm animals doesn't make locals attack – they simply lose any respect for you.

In addition, this slightly empty map and the considerable limitations that can only be lifted with ferocious levelling up can be explained with the time period the game's set in. Because the medieval air is really hard to breathe, and you can feel the hopelessness of existence at every step. It's therefore pretty cool to be taken on a real fool's errand by the eighteen-year-old, incorrigible optimist. Kudos to the artists who are able to diversify the genre, while giving us an amalgam of genres that few studios have ever attempted. However, it would be good not to waste this, often idealized, potential and to launch a complete product in 2 or 3 years.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I can't stand strategy games, I rarely play survivals, but I adore role-playing. Nevertheless, I felt really comfortable in Medieval Dynasty. I was the most incompetent type of peasant you could imagine, but I felt proud when I built my little house. I was also very relieved to escape an enraged bison. I just wanted to see it up close.…

Karol Laska | Gamepressure.com

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