Kenshi - PC Preview

Kenshi, which has been in Early Access for quite some time now, is labeled as a free-roaming squad based RPG. There’s no real direction other than the one that you wish to take which is refreshing as even most open world games have an agenda. Skyrim? Kill Dragons. Witcher 3? Take on the Wild Hunt. Fallout 4? Find your kid. Kenshi? Depends what your mood is like.

There are multiple manners in which you can start off the adventure in regards to your funds however otherwise? You quite literally start off with nothing more than a few tatters of clothing on your back and a stick for a weapon. Once you’ve decided your level of poverty it’s time to decide what this poor soul looks like. Height, weight, length of limbs, brows, how hunched over you are, male, female, race whether organic or some form of robotic undead? They call them Skeletons. While the first set of choices are for flavor the character’s race adds bonuses or penalties so while technically being for flavor, it’s flavor that counts in the long run once the numbers start getting crunched in combat.

Once you’ve gone through and created, named, and exported your character to use them again, they are dropped into the middle of a small town or even just a walled village. Now what? Now you do whatever you want to do. Leave town and explore, talk to people and hire a companion or two (heh good luck affording that this early on), steal and try not to get caught or try to talk to people. Do what you want, when you want. There’s no hidden agenda and once you’ve wrapped your mind that this truly is an open world in all senses, it’s yours to explore.

Having played From Software’s wonderful happy go lucky Souls series has prepared me for the happiness that can be found outside of these walled cities. “Hey they look like a friendly bunch… why are they running… towards me? Oh crap.” Prepare for a fair amount of humiliation as you are made to eat dirt while being completely outnumbered on more than one occasion. You’ll be knocked out, robbed and sometimes even left to die. Setting the autosave for less than every ten minutes is a really good idea. There’s a steep learning curve.

Combat is in a semi-real time format not unlike the Dungeons & Dragons games of old or Dragon Age. Characters attack when it’s their “turn” but things move in real time which can be frustrating at times especially when you are left bleeding out to a damned dog that got five attacks in before you even managed to swing once. AND MISS! After being left on the ground with no one in sight I figured to let myself “bleed out” and guess what? I was found! By Slavers… It was a very rough day for my Skeleton HeX. Other characters had an easier time starting off.

Before all the above happened however I was left to my own devices in order to figure out the world for myself. Kenshi doesn’t force feed you tutorials but it does pop them up on the left hand side of the screen in order to teach you something that you may be about to encounter. Movement speeds, camera angles, combat, stealing (this one came up because I looted a guy after kicking his butt for attacking me. Should have accepted my offer to join instead of being a jerk), sneaking around to steal (I swear I was innocent! I was trying to talk to the shop vendor!) and more. They aren’t in your face about it either, they just pop up and it’s up to you whether or not to pay attention. You really should your first time.

Now with all Early Access games there comes the chance that issues are encountered. It’s Early Access after all and the ironing out isn’t done yet. Kenshi for example needs enough of a powerhouse behind the wheel as well as an Nvidia card. I couldn’t get it to run even remotely smoothly it no matter how hard I tried on an AMD yet it purred to an Nvidia card as Kenshi is being designed with their physics engine. The same happened when I took Wolcen, at that point Umbra, for a spin the very first time. Wolcen now runs so Kenshi is only a matter of time. This may not end up being the case for everyone but if is, it may be better to find an Nvidia card or a friend that has one to take it for a spin. It is worth taking it for the spin.

Overall Kenshi is looking pretty good though it takes some time in order to settle into it. Being dropped into a world and knowing nothing about it is nothing new but it’s always a bit of a learning experience trying to figure out exactly what you can or cannot do. I’m excited to see where development takes it and hopefully it does become a bit smoother and available to play on a AMD card.

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Lo-Fi Games
Lo-Fi Games
Single Player
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Article by Pierre-Yves