Top down adventure games are great, I loved them in the 90’s, a genre which gave you a sense of wanderlust and made you want to explore, find secrets and explore the combat system to its limits.
Each game of this series holds a special place in someone’s heart, Diablo? Neverwinter? Fantastic games with a massive following who still play the games today. They lock your view of the world and make it FEEL like there is so much thereby the amount of content thrown at the game. Kenshi is a game that aims to mimic those games, with an open world and combat to boot, but it is a game that may or may not know what direction it needs to take.
Gameplay wise it is a top down game, it reminds me heavily of fallout games or ice wind dale, however, the difference between these games and this is the latter have some form of help or tutorial at the start of the games, whilst this game throws you right into the deep end. Now you may think, wait Fallout 1 did not have a tutorial, yes but there WAS some basic progression in the first cave, this just throws you into the world and goes yeah go at it.
My first life? I was very confused, I went for a wander into the wasteland, found out by accident you could click onto the horizon and your character would go there, found what looked like a giraffe monster and was promptly destroyed by it, so far not so great. Second life I decided to look around a tad first, talk to some NPC’s and see what there is for me to do, I found a quest and went off on it, and was promptly killed by what I think were bandits.
This game makes me feel very much like the first time I played STALKER, not knowing what killed me or why, and feeling very frustrated with it. The combat of the game is point and click ala Ice Wind Dale or Fallout, with conversational options when you chat with an NPC.
Before my third life I looked online for some tips and saw so many people discussing how amazing it was, and how much depth they were getting, and it was really frustrating because I WANTED to see that and I WANTED to play it, but I couldn’t, it felt like the game was holding me back and just leaving me out to die hoping I would figure out what the hell I needed to do. Things like starting equipment clearly help, and it took a few attempts before I figured out which was “Easy mode” and which was not, but there was a point where I wanted to give up, not because the game doesn’t work, not because the combat system was not good, but solely because the game felt like it was stopping me, and I knew I was close before I could enjoy the game but…I just couldn’t break through that barrier.
Kenshi is…not a great looking game, I mean it’s not even an average looking game, I would argue that it’s a pretty horrendous looking game, I’m not sure if it’s badly optimised or what, but the game looks like Morrowind top down, and if you set everything to absolute max, it makes my 1070 chug to around 10-15 fps, I’m not 100% sure why. Though if I had to guess I do think it’s because the view distance is insane, as in I think it will just keep going further than any other game I’ve seen before.
Though this is a top down game and they are not known for their outstanding graphics so I am not too shocked by this, so do not expect amazing graphics, at the same time remember it’s not all there is to this game.
Overall this is a game that I really wish I could get into, it feels like a game that has a lot of depth to let me do whatever I want, it feels like those games I played in the 90’s that felt like it would let me do whatever I wanted, this feels LIKE a fallout 1 or 2 spiritual successor. But I just can’t get into it, maybe I’ve been dumbed down by current games, or expect instant gratification, but the lack of any form of a tutorial or obvious path from the start really puts me off. I can tell there is a good game buried here, but it is the case of just how much are you willing to dig? For me, the amount of time I put into the game clearly was not enough, so maybe it is not for me, but I can tell for someone out there this is a game that will really be enjoyable.
As this is an early access game, all my issues with the game can be ironed out in time, only time will tell.