Crusader Kings III, the game that gives you a large share of the eastern hemisphere to play around with history. You get to both experience history and play around with it at the same time. It could be considered historical, or alternate history. It all depends on how you play.
As a player who’s used to 4X strategy, a grand strategy game was daunting. When I played Crusader Kings II, I couldn’t get into it. This was mostly because I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. Nothing was like the 4X strategy games I had played before. I bought Crusader Kings III after seeing online that it was more welcoming for new players.
I don’t regret it at all. The game is much more welcoming for players new to grand strategy. I was used to playing the Civilization series from Firaxis Games which plays very differently. You play as one ruler and you just live forever. You just need to worry about gold, science, and a few other things.
Grand strategy as a genre is a lot more, well, grand. There’s so much depth it can feel like you were taught to swim by jumping into the ocean. However, Crusader Kings III’s tutorial sets you up for success very well. Sure, it doesn’t cover everything, but it gives you a foundation to build one.
As can be seen from the image above, the UI can be very overwhelming. The tutorial explains a lot of what’s going on here, other things are self-explanatory such as “Children” and “Titles.” Other’s make less sense like all the symbols under the character’s name. Those are just how he is as a person.
In Crusader Kings III, you play as a ruler from history. That’s really cool and kind of similar to the Civilization series. However, the difference is that your ruler eventually dies. That can be from old age, mysterious circumstances, or other various reasons. The game only continues if you have an heir. If you have no heir, it’s a game over.
There’s really no winning, it’s just going as long as you can each time. The best thing about that is that it makes each play session somewhat unique. You can have a play session where your ruler dies at 85 and another where he dies at 35 and your new ruler is your 3-year-old son.
Such was the case in my most recent save game. The ruler I was playing as died (I forget how), and his 3-year-old son took over for him. Yes, things can play out in a huge variety of ways. That’s part of what makes Crusader Kings III enjoyable.
Something that can add to the game is the inclusion of multiplayer. I haven’t had the chance to try this out, unfortunately, but can you imagine playing a game this in-depth with a friend? Would you try to make them your vassals or would you go to war and fight it out? There are many ways to play, and none are right or wrong.
While it may be overwhelming at times, Crusader Kings III is overall a very solidly designed grand strategy title. If you love strategy, I’m sure you’ll at least find the game interesting if not fantastic.