Medieval Dynasty Review

Medieval Dynasty by developer Render Cube and publisher Toplitz ProductionsMicrosoft Xbox Series X|S review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

There is a lot going on in Medieval Dynasty, and while that certainly has the potential to become overwhelming, the balance is actually surprisingly good. The story and the world lack the depth of some of the bigger titles out there, but the overall experience is still an enjoyable one.

At first glance, Medieval Dynasty has a Scrolls-like vibe, not that that is necessarily a bad thing. The graphics are generally well-done, with music and visual style that are appropriate for the setting. That being said, the minimal voice acting along the way feels just a bit dated by today’s standards. Granted, you need to have good voice acting to make it worthwhile so it’s not a complete loss, but it was notable.

The setting is Middle Ages Europe, and war has created hostility and strife throughout the lands. You character wants to be in control of his own fate and flees from the war to create a life of his choosing. As expected, your protagonist lacks the skills to really take care of himself fully, let alone establish a proper colony. Rooted more in reality than fantasy, your battles are against animals and weather, not dragons or magic-users. That being said, the open world exploration and seasons complimented by day / night cycles helps impact things such as animals, farming, food, resources and more.

However, despite a somewhat shallow story and a world that sometimes can feel a bit lifeless, the actual gameplay loop is both familiar and enjoyable. Your focus is on crafting, gathering and building up your village in an effort to survive. There’s a few genres mashed into this title as you start with a humble home that grows into a village that I felt highly invested in. Watching it grow first with structures, then with people to occupy them was really rewarding. Assigning the right people to the right tasks is key, and the management side of things did feel as though it had a somewhat steep learning curve. There is plenty of tutorial guidance to help get you started, and once you have the hang of things, the flexibility to make the town your own is enjoyable.

I am not someone who normally falls into building simulation, but the RPG elements were a solid hook for me. You gain skills from a tree, as time passes you will gain new blueprints and recipes, and you will have to find a wife and procreate because your character will experience aging and death – leaving the keys to the kingdom with your child. It certainly adds to that feeling that you’re building something substantial.

Exploring – which you have to do early on as you discover other settlements and acquire resources you don’t have access to early in the game are an important part of the gameplay loop as well. It’s a shame that the NPCs themselves aren’t more interesting, and it sort of ties into the lifelessness of the world I mentioned before. You’ll find useful NPC’s, but that doesn’t make interacting with them all that more interesting. This sense of exploration is assisted by the aforementioned season and day cycles, giving the world a bit more ‘life’ than the characters inhabiting them do.

The pacing of Medieval Dynasty might not be for everyone. It’s a bit on the slower side as you travel, learn how to build things, and really just wait for time to pass and things to develop. It can take years for you to have your one and only child (seems like there’s a missed opportunity to have multiple kids and perhaps some narrative conflict or even just ‘best of’ choices to make). Combine that with a lot of trial and error. Which animals are most useful? Which buildings are going to give you the greatest return on your investment? You can spend a lot of time not really ‘doing much’, making progress a slow, if effective, burn.

I suppose when I talk about the pace of play, and what you’ll be doing, it’s more of a ‘build it and they will come’. If you spent more time in games like Fallout 4 perfecting your city than going out looking to fight things? You will likely be right at home here. It’s not quite to the extent of those (I’m thinking of my oldest child here) who spend more time making their characters on the Sims than actually playing the game – but it is slow, and the focus is on the building aspects over the adventuring ones. Another small knock is the lack of customization. In most RPG games these days, you feel like you have a bit of say in how your character looks, especially as you select skills from a tree that allows you control over how they develop.

I could see where someone wanting a female character or a specific visual appearance might be a point of frustration for some gamers. This combined with a map that could perhaps be a bit larger makes Medieval Dynasty feel a bit simpler than it really should be given the amount of growth and detail found in other areas.

Medieval Dynasty is a fun mashup of survival, RPG and building simulation that works far more often than not. The visuals are attractive and the world is fun to explore, even if the characters discovered during the exploration could be more engaging. There is a lot to do – but the pacing of Medieval Dynasty can make for a satisfying if slow-burn experience that I enjoyed but certainly won’t be for everyone.

Score: 7.5 / 10



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