๐Ÿคบ Review: Kenshi "Kenshi is an impressive feat and rich with depth" ๐Ÿคบ #GameDev #IndieGame

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A game made by one man over a twelve year period, Kenshi is an impressive feat and rich with depth, but not a game for those short on time or with no patience for a slow burn.

A (very) open-world experience, Kenshi is set in an alternate world of a size comparable to Daggerfall and filled with different factions, towns, religions and lore which is drip-fed through conversations and found books. 

At the start of your adventure, you are able to choose and alter almost every aspect of your chosen character, including their background and initial situation which affects how your game starts.

As mentioned, the game was built over a twelve year period and as such Kenshi is quite standard visually, although character models are surprisingly detailed when zoomed-in but the surrounding landscapes can feel empty and vast when travelling, this is a one-man passion project and the in-game mechanics are quite astonishing. 

This is not a game where you can instantly kick ass, level up within an hour or two and get a band together to assault towns, pillaging as you go, no sirree, as a purely single-player mouse and keyboard-driven RTS / RPG hybrid, careful planning is rewarded here. 
Numerous times I had to take massive detours because large groups of wandering bandits caught sight of me and chased me for the food and water they thought I held (spoiler alert, I didn’t…I had a stick). I even tried my usual tactic of luring bandits to a town and waiting for the guards to kill them so that I could loot the corpses, but the game was one step ahead of me, the guards (upon slaying the last of the bandits) ransacked the corpses and carried the bodies off to be disposed of. I barely had enough time to grab a pair of ragged trousers before the corpses had vanished!

There is the ability (nicely simplified) to build your own encampments and farms, drawing merchants and travellers to you but also the risk of brigand attacks that will need to be dealt with. Within a couple of hours I had gained a new member who I used to keep an eye out as I pillaged and raided houses for items but eventually, I was caught, beaten and left battered with all my items removed, it’s a harsh, harsh world that requires patience and dedication.

All of these interwoven mechanics and the sheer scope of the game come at a cost, the game frequently loads and can come to a halt for a few moments, the camera can also be awkward to control, especially when indoors or in built-up areas. 

I found it to be more difficult as you get different members doing different things, scattered around the map as they can be attacked and defeated in the time it takes you to respond (especially when in fast-forward mode if travelling over a distance).

Kenshi has a lot going on under the hood, the bursts of ambient music and lack of hand-holding can be freeing but this is really not a game for those players who want a quick blast, it takes around three to five hours just to fall into the rhythm of the game and adjust to its design and idiosyncrasies, but for every judder, loading screen and iffy camera angle, there were set-pieces that happened randomly that really made me feel part of a living, breathing world. 
I can safely say that I’ve never played a game like it and if this sounds up your Strasse, there’s a free demo to try. 

This might not be a title for everyone and it’s certainly rough around the edges but those who do fall for its charms will find themselves lost for dozens and even hundreds of hours in the carefully created world, the entire single-player experience feeling unique and a rich modding community constantly enhancing the title.

Right, I’m off to hobble around looking for work as a bounty hunter before I starve to death near my half-built shack.

Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

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