An excellent heir to the second part, although it was not without birth injuries.

Similar in spirit

In the family of strategies Paradox Interactive in Crusader Kings special place. It was the success of the second part in 2012 that attracted the general public to the series. It was then that the DLC pipeline was launched, for which the publisher is scolded and loved. Neither outdated graphics, nor poor optimization, nor new releases of the studio did not stop the fans – over the years the popularity of the game did not fall, but on the contrary, continued to grow slowly.

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But this could not go on forever. Entry threshold Crusader Kings II became prohibitively high, so Paradox decided … to release a competitor to its own game.

Equals – no

Whereas European offers a classic strategy about repainting the map in its own color, while Total War focuses on tactical battles, Crusader Kings is more than a global strategy. This is a role-playing sandbox and addicting eugenics simulator, The Sims on an interactive contour map.

The basic principles of gameplay in the third part have not changed. The player does not control the state, but the dynasty: he conquers and inherits numerous titles, tries to raise worthy heirs and not quarrel with the vassals and the church. You will not be able to keep every piece of land – having typed more than 5-7 provinces, be prepared for endless uprisings and assassination attempts. You have to hand out land to the courtiers, choosing between useful assholes and stupid sycophants. There is no clear goal in the game. If you want – seize territories, if you want – act out terrible deviants, lunatics and cannibals, if you want – convert Africans to the cult of Perun.

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At the beginning of the game, you can choose one of three dozen historical rulers, but nothing prevents you instead to lead any county on the global map or start as a vassal of the Caliph

The encyclopedia, successfully built into the game, allows you to get used to the basic mechanics. By hovering over any icon, you can see detailed information about it and a couple of links to game terms. Crusader Kings III generally became much more open in comparison with the previous part. The dynamic events mechanics from Crusader Kings II did not give players any information: for example, sending the marshal to calm the violent peasants, you had no idea when he would cope with the task. And Crusader Kings III honestly shows progress indicators – every month with a certain chance (depending on skills and other parameters) you can get closer to the goal of the plan.

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For beginners, however, this will not become much easier. Despite the availability of information, the game hasn’t become easier and there is a lot to learn. How to get gold? How to get claims for neighboring lands? How to convert to another faith and make new friends? A short tutorial does not answer these questions, leaving the player alone with a lot of menus. If you have already had a chance to unite Russia and conquer Rome for the Mongols, then you will quickly figure it out, and if not, you will freeze, studying the tabs. Because, in addition to the old mechanics, there are enough new ones in the third part.

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If there are few titles, but you want more, ask your priest to “find” proof that your neighbor’s land is rightfully yours. In the second part, the chancellor was engaged in this, which is still more logical

When your neighbor is a brave vulture, expect a catch. As soon as I lost my army in the Himalayan passes, he declared war on me

A barrel of honey

All characters, from Byzantine Basileus to Indian Thakur, can choose a life path associated with one of five skills – a similar scheme was offered by the DLC Way of Life to Crusader Kings II. There are fifteen paths, and in addition to random events and small pluses to the characteristics, they open long development trees. After spending a few years learning (the right education speeds up the process), your ruler will gain a useful perk.

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As a general, you will learn to declare wars at half the price, saving valuable prestige, or you can recruit more knights into your army. The intriguer will be able to instill terror in his subjects so that they do not rise up in vain. Perks are a real gem of the game, it is very interesting to study and combine them. Is your treasury empty? Learn to trade the secrets your spies collect, and blackmail will provide you with hard cash. Got a frail ruler? Learn the art of torture and raise your fighting skill on defenseless prisoners. Just be more careful: characters-sadists will be delighted with executions, but honest people risk falling into depression.

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Traits no longer just provide stats – they define the preferred playstyle. They don’t dictate it, but they noticeably influence your actions. Raised a brave son? Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t live up to the crown – courage doubles his chance of dying in battle. There are few uniquely positive and negative properties in the game; if you wish, you can squeeze benefits from almost everyone. For example, lasciviousness is condemned by almost all religions, but it allows you to quickly get heirs.

Each of your decisions affecting the character of the hero accumulates or, conversely, removes stress points. You can get rid of them in several ways … Most often, while earning new problems. So, my Maharaja, with itching in his pants, decided to unwind in a brothel and caught syphilis there. An illiterate doctor only exacerbated the situation – the ruler lost his eye from the medicine, and the conqueror of Orissa ingloriously died of his wounds in a matter of days.

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During the life of the character, he barely has time to take two branches of perks. At the end of each – a particularly useful property, but more often it is beneficial to develop in several directions at once

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The mechanics of technology have changed beyond recognition. Scientific advances are now combined into large blocks and tied to your culture. The leader of the largest Irish state, for example, determines what the whole island is striving for: the ability to build strong catapults or use new reasons for war. The starting conditions are different for everyone, and some technologies (like breeding war elephants) are closely related to geography.

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Religions are arranged in a similar way: each has three dogmas that reveal unique tokens. Pagans receive a raid for captives as a unique pretext for war, and Catholics can send negligent children to a monastery. Too closely within the confession? Collect piety points and create your own heresy! A few clicks – and the courtiers will stop looking askance at marriage with his own sister and practicing witchcraft. True, for this, the neighbors can assemble a crusade for your soul.

Every sneeze of your hero affects his prestige and piety. Having earned a round sum of points, the character goes to the next level of fame. High performance levels make life much easier, and many game decisions are tied to them. A living legend will be able to bite off from neighbors not counties, but entire duchies, and in addition receives a big bonus to relations. Moreover, not only the character grows in level, but also your entire dynasty: the speed of development depends on the number of independent rulers and successful marriages. Nice innovation, the series has always had content issues in long-running installments.

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Straightforward solutions generally work much worse than in the previous part. In a military conflict, crushing the enemy with numbers has become more difficult. The regular troops and the elite – the knight characters – ask for money, but greatly increase the chances of winning. An experienced commander on a successful battlefield can turn a noticeably outnumbered enemy army to flight. AI, traditionally for the series, is stupid, but much more cunning and cautious. He will not put himself under a large detachment and will try to besiege your capital on the quiet. Well, okay, you think … Until a Tibetan highlander steals your wife from the castle, making her a concubine. Harsh times, harsh morals.

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The rest of the factions are decades away from the technological level of the Greeks.

Slavic pagans love nature and get together. You can combine business with pleasure by sending an army to raid for gold. You don’t even need to declare war for this.

A spoon of tar

But not everything is as rosy as it might seem. Besides the steep difficulty curve, Crusader Kings III has a few more nasty surprises in store. One of the most notable is the awkward interface. Instead of neat lists, drop-down menus with a limited set of options. You will swear for a long time, opening them to the end, because the necessary functions are often opened after clicking on the “4 more” button. What prevented you from listing all the options? They still occupy no more than a third of the screen in height.

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As if that weren’t enough, the game also had poor selection of fonts and icons. Small gray letters can break your eyes, especially in localization. Property icons are like two peas in a pod, especially from afar – you have to move the mouse over them for a long time and read the description. This is especially annoying when looking for a profitable lot. At least the inherited properties are highlighted separately.

The map itself is also poorly executed. If you zoom out, everything is in order, beautiful multi-colored parchment is suitable for juicy screenshots. But once a war is unleashed, a bunch of problems immediately pops up. Firstly, for some reason, the developers made the physical map the main mode: soldiers merge with Christmas trees, provincial borders are not visible, temples and cities are illegible spots on the map. Secondly, according to the mechanics of the game, each county is divided into several baronies, and in order to capture it entirely, you must lead the army to a key point, as a rule, to a castle. That still needs to be found. Switching between the army and the besieged province is also inconvenient, you will constantly miss. And, finally, thirdly, the mini-map was removed from the game, so it can be difficult to find the right place quickly.

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I personally did not notice critical bugs, but there are questions for innovation: having spent an honest 20 years of my rajah’s life studying casus belli, I never saw a new reason for war on the list. Despite the fact that Rurik, who possesses it from the start, applies it without question.

Even bringing the camera closer, it is simply inconvenient to fight.

The Crusader Kings III basically has no navy. The soldiers cross the seas on their own, paying a small bribe to local fishermen. A good solution, eliminates boring management

Part or whole?

Many people are skeptical about the Paradox Interactive games on release: they say, no one needs the cut base, all the content will be in the DLC. I do not agree with this position – times have changed. The publisher has long ceased to be a small studio, the developers have enough hands; in addition, the updated Clausewitz – Jomini engine, tested on Imperator: Rome, simplified their work. The release version of Crusader Kings III has four times more content than the release version of the second part.

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All nations and religions are already available to the player, while in Crusader Kings II at first we played only as Christians. Each culture has unique features and game solutions: it turns out that the third part contains content from Sword of Islam, Legacy of Rome, Old Gods and Rajas of India… Reformed religions and heresies, sacred orders from Sons of Abraham? There is also. Life paths from Way of Life? In place. Blood lines from Holy Fury became the legacy of the dynasties.

Significant improvements added to the old game only with late patches (large detailed map, troop collection points, detailed game settings) are present immediately. Finally, there is the possibility of an endless game, which was before, but only if you get into the system files. The two starting dates, of course, are not as cool as eleven, but due to the increased role of cultures and religions, the game is still perceived fresh. The map also grew, mainly due to the territories in central Africa. Lands from Guinea to Mongolia are at your disposal.

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And the most amazing thing is that Crusader Kings III is perfectly optimized. She works on a 2012 laptop faster predecessor.

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Crusader Kings III is more than a reboot of the series. Already at release, it pleases with the amount and quality of content, even if localization flaws and an inconvenient interface somewhat spoil the picture. Not everyone will be able to understand the complex relationships of medieval feudal lords, but those who make an effort, the game will generously reward with fascinating stories.

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Review of Crusader Kings III.  Kings Can Do Anything

Verdict

The continuation of the cult game develops its ideas in the right direction. Calling it a masterpiece is prevented only by the inconvenience of management and minor flaws.

Source : Game Informer