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Crusader Kings 3 Review – a strategy game that conquers the console

If you are reading this Crusader Kings III review, you are probably one of two people: either you are a fan of the PC version, which is interested, to see how it claims on the platforms of Microsoft and Sony, or you Are someone who is new in the wonderful world World of Paradox Grand Strategy and the console version of CKIII they finally pushed over the edge. In both cases I tell you: everything well, but there is a lot to note.

Crusader Kings III is not like other strategy games that you find on consoles. His next relative is Stellaris: Console Edition – which itself is another PC port from the same studio – and between the two you will challenge your expectations and provide entertaining distraction, which is filled with profound strategy, RPG-like drama and some light Empire administration.


From the point of view of newlings and mostly console players, the biggest challenge may be that Paradox’s attitude to real-time strategy games is not so kinetic as other games in this genre. They are not enthusiastic about mass action sequences or intense, predetermined history. Instead, they become the master of their own medieval world, take control of a dynasty and survive the rotations and twists of courtly life in several hundred years of history. These can be plans and plans that they themselves stage, or reactions to the lively society that surrounds them.

In contrast to most strategy games, Crusader Kings III takes responsibility for a single character. This could be a halfhistorical figure from one of the many playing dates of the game, although there are many invented dramatis persona and has this game thousands of individual characters that all live life they want to lead.

Your character will be part of a dynasty – or a house – and you will have relatives. Children, siblings, remote cousins ​​… Your destination as a player is to promote your bloodline and bring the house fame, although this is mainly done by the pursuit of personal fame for the played figure. There are no official profit states and only a real failure – if there is no one after the death of their character no more in their immediate bloodline, over which they can take control, their dynasty dies and they “lose” the game.

Her characters can be as low as counts or as high as kings, queens and emperors, and a typical goal is that they try to secure more and more land, wealth and watch for their family. There are many historical and fantastic kingdoms and empires that they can try and to whom they can rise. You need to make sure that you take good marriages, diplomacy, operate intrigues and, if necessary, lead war.

This is all an old hat for those who have played the PC version last year, but it’s worth the basics for newcomers. For both masses, it is also important to understand how CKIII expects you to interact with its world by using a gamepad instead of a mouse. You can imagine the difficulties to transform something into a console based on a mouse pointer surface, but I was pleasantly surprised how well the development team has mastered this challenge.

Crusader Kings III is already a new chapter in the current efforts of Paradox to reduce the amount of data on a screen and put the graphic at the center, and this philosophy has transferred to the console output. The user interface is as minimalist as possible, whereby the main information ranges are banned on the upper and lower edge of the screen. There is only a standard floating UI element that represents the character you just play.

Access to information is clearly marked – you can call submenus such as rich and army management, your advice as well as plans and important decisions by using the trigger on a gamepad. Your personal character menu can be accessed with a touch of a button and when you navigate on the playing card and tap on any coat of arms on a, other characters are displayed. If you want to inspect buildings and settlements instead, there is a secondary button that can also view secondary action menus in other areas.

Maybe the only thing that was not well translated is the tooltip innovation of Paradox. Most of the top level, which you need to know, have been grouped in sections that you can access in large quantities with a single tap, and Quickinfo information expand the options in front of you (though this feature can sometimes be faulty and no longer functions). For important decisions.

Unfortunately, Paradox for CKIII invented a tooltip within the tooltips functionality, which represents pretty much the only fumbling of the game. If you hold down the left stick, a secondary mouse pointer is displayed that does not move the card, but you can examine any desired element of the game in a similar way as you would do it on the PC. Only about this interface you can find out what certain types of things do, but fortunately, these are some of the least important information. Nevertheless, it is a pain if you want to know something.

The UX is half the rent with a game like Crusader Kings III – assuming you acclimatize yourself (the tutorial is thoroughly, if a bit of wordy and groundbreaking), the rest of your time should be a breeze. The main audits of CKIII are mental – they are in the long run, and although it is certainly possible to lead a character within a single lifespan of the dish washer to the millionaire, these achievements may not survive their succession. Your game will be so entertaining as your imagination allows, but sometimes can find out the “how” to cause confusion and frustration – something that the console version can not escape.

The console output starts with an earlier version of the PC game. Crusader Kings III is currently on patch 1.5 with a few extensions on the hump, but the console build is currently comparable to the 1.0 version of the game when it came to the market at the end of 2020. There are many updates missing, but all this means it will come later – the console version of Stellaris has a similar journey behind.

In addition, there are some features that have the console version that does not have the PC version. With an automated KI army system, for example, you can put your armies completely in the hands of a Ki to guide wars for them, so they can assume the role-play aspect full and undergo the tides of fate. There are also other options that help you stay entertained if you have problems.

If you are bored with your current dynasty or even part of your dynasty, you can also change the characters across the main menu. The choice whom you want to select at the beginning of the game does not seem to be such a tense decision, because if you do not find it as funny as you thought, there is no easy-to-use out.

Ultimately, this is a completely decent port of a completely decent strategy game. I’ve encountered mistakes – including a crash failure – but provided you have set the automatic storage to a normal cadence, you will probably not have missed much. To the hell, you could even get a better result when reloading, as the game status from the moment you end the pause is always in the river.

The fact that an older version of the code base is used may disappoint some PC fans, but for newcomers it means that more interesting features and updates are on the horizon. If you are ready to expand your horizon and look out about what you can enjoy on an Xbox or PlayStation – together with a healthy appreciation for medieval dramas – then Crusaders Kings III is worth a visit.