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Crusader Kings III
Crusader Kings III for PC is a grand strategy game, albeit with many role-playing game (RPG) elements, that is set in the middle ages. It covers civilisations that run from the Viking age to the Fall of Byzantium, and offers the player two start dates: 867AD or 1066AD. The game, like its two predecessors, is based on national dynastic interplay but rooted in almost entirely in character.
How to Begin?
The previous iteration of the game was universally agreed to be one of the most complicated games and came with little in the way of a tutorial. This version is much more user friendly, and there is an island nation, based on Ireland but called by popular demand ‘Newbie Island’, which serves as a tutorial base.
There are also ‘tooltips’ which lead into a rabbit-hole of information in which you click on one topic, highlight a word you want to understand further opening another info-sheet, on which there are yet more words or tooltips to explore. The UI (user interface) of the tips is as user friendly as possible, which is just as well as it houses a huge amount of data, which can seem daunting when you are chasing an answer that you need!
It is reassuring that it is there when you need though! And, there is little that the database does not have buried somewhere within its depths, so you can find the answers to all possible questions (and probably some impossible ones too!) with a little searching.
Customise your Characters
The fully rendered 3D characters that you are playing with in this game are a huge improvement to the last one, and there are some developments that take it up a level into the almost fabulous. Your characters will age over time, showing the results of too much stress, too much wine and food, battle scars form part of their look and their hair will slowly grey or go thin. They can also pass on their features to their children.
This sounds like a small thing and remarkably obvious, but seeing the result of your brunette beauty mixed with Nordic muscle adds to the realism and authenticity of the game’s narrative. One thing that this genetic accuracy can do too, is pass along the effects of incest. So if your dynastic family decides to go full GoT by keeping it all in the family, their desirable traits will slowly warp, over a generation or two into disability and distortion.
When picking out your first characters, you will find that they come with a fairly detailed psyche already, but to save time they are given a pithy epithet that encapsulates their core character, so you can grab a ‘plucky optimist’ alongside a ‘depressed scribe’ without ending up with characters at odds with the actions you want them to take.
The personalities and quirks of the characters are tremendously important to the overall gameplay: it is amazing how a character can influence such huge national reactions!
Features of the Game
The main overarching purpose of the game is to expand your empire as far as possible, and to paint the map in your empire’s colours. And what a map it is! On the surface a beautifully authentic ‘hand-drawn’ looking chart, but zooming in brings out ever more details about the area you are looking at, to an almost insane level of detail. The terrain is diverse and interesting, each region has geological quirks and there are special buildings to explore too!
All that map exploration comes in handy as you train and supply your army, before sending them off to achieve your aims in lands as yet unknown. Keep a few loyal soldiers around your court though, to protect your empire and family – or to protect you from your family!
Cultural traits are important and you can customise these, as well as coming up with your own religion if you are not impressed with any of those on offer in the game! However – do not go too wild with blood-thirsty and savage behaviour, even if it is the law of your theocracy that five slaves must be sacrificed on a Friday morning!
Stress in this game is a literal killer, and it builds up in each character each time they go out of their comfort zone. Even the most vicious king needs to show mercy occasionally to keep their stress levels down, while betraying friends, committing acts of disloyalty or treason can upset good characters and so on.
Some moral choices seem bad either way: should you agree to sleep with your son, or just have him killed rather than risk the hit to your stress? Will that not stress you out in turn? You can, however, make naked Wednesdays a thing without worrying about the stress – hopefully, you’ll all be laughing too much for the stress levels to be impacted at all!
Career Paths to Success
There are five career paths to success and some of them can open unexpected doors for you:
- Diplomacy – the art of sweet-talking people into going along with your ideas
- Intrigue – spying on the enemy, schmoozing with them, and then betraying them for the glory of your own empire. Winning!
- Warfare – the straightforward world of combat
- Learning – study old documents, secret arts and new skills – and perhaps present your own candidate for the throne, or yourself, why not? You know you don’t deserve it, but they don’t…
- Stewardship – looking after kings and their families is an excellent way to discover all the hidden places and secrets of court! Then use them – carefully, watch out for that stress! – to spin things to your own advantage!
This is a long and in-depth game – not for when you have an hour to kill! You can rack up literally hundreds of hours of play time: but you will still not be bored and be finding new things to try even after your empire is into its third or fourth generation!
Crusader Kings III for PC is available for purchase on Instant Gaming for a fraction of its retail price. You will receive an official key and be able to play the game in seconds. Play smart. Pay less.
There are currently 10992 players playing this game on Steam
31 August 2020
- OS: Windows® 8.1 64 bit / Windows® 10 Home 64 bit
- Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-2120 / AMD® FX 6350
- Memory: 6 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia® GeForce™ GTX 460 (1GB) / AMD® Radeon™ HD 7870 (2GB) / Intel® Iris Pro™ 580 / Intel® Iris® Plus G7 / AMD® Radeon™ Vega 11
- Storage: 8 GB available space
- OS: Windows® 10 Home 64 bit
- Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-4670K / AMD® Ryzen™ 5 2400G
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia® GeForce™ GTX 1650 (4GB) / AMD® Radeon™ R9 390X (8GB)
- Storage: 8 GB available space
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