Medieval Dynasty was NOT what I was expecting. From a few of the early screenshots and taking into account the nature of the game – building an empire, I was expecting a top-down real-time strategy. What I got was a first-person adventure that resembled The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
With my settings on ultra (how that happened on my archaic setup, I don’t know), this early Middle Ages setting is gorgeous. Stripped down, the actual lifestyle of these workers was pretty monotonous; attending to crops, crowding round a barren fire, eating mushrooms and unripe berries should be depressing, but for me, it was invigorating. Other than tasting the dirt and smelling damp hay soiled by farm animals, the atmosphere in Medieval Dynasty took me away from my four walls and a roof with central heating and had me camping out under the moon and stars as nature intended.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t a choice, as pleasant as it may sound. The problems I faced in Medieval Dynasty was not knowing what to do. The first objective is to build your own house, but it doesn’t say where to source the materials such as rock, hay and wood. What transpired was a couple of pebbles, reeds and maple branches. However, the key resource was chopping down five trees, and I had no idea where to locate an axe; no merchants were selling them, nor could I steal one. Spoiler: you craft it yourself from a wheel of actions and inventory.
The Peasants Are Revolting
For the first attempt and a few others, I ventured out. The open world of Medieval Dynasty is vast, and there are little settlements scattered all over the place. Getting to each one took an age, but I relished in isolation, stepping into the river now and then to drink some water or popping a wild mushroom in my gob to fight the hunger. It wasn’t enough, though, and without a bed to sleep in or substantial food, I starved to death. The next attempt had me impaled by wild boars. Granted, they aren’t the same species, but The Lion King is a load of bollocks as Pumbaa wouldn’t hesitate to stab you, the sadistic swine.
Still, the experience was good, and as you eventually find your footings, you start building a home for yourself then your loyal workers as you create a settlement. Providing accommodation puts you in their good books and makes them happy – each time you speak to them, you see an approval percentage that can be altered via interactions.
This was the weakest part of the game, from Render Cube and Toplitz Productions, as it’s all text-based. It wasn’t such a big issue, but it’s easy to select your response without reading theirs if you don’t pay attention. Also, these responses and small talk are all the same and what may work with one person, doesn’t with another, and you’ll get docked your reputation if you moan about work to one person, but praised by another.
Medieval Dynasty’s dialogue is a little erratic at times, as was the grammar and spelling – one of the first side quests has a woman in your dept. No, you don’t have individual departments in your settlement as such, she means debt. It’s hardly going to ruin your life, but these errors are scattered here and there. I wasn’t looking for them, but some stood out as much as seeing your/you’re when you’re reading YouTube comments.
Sow Your Grubby Oats
Your character has a sixth sense, sort of, where you can scan the environment for resources and analyse each individual’s abilities. This is an excellent option for hiring the right people for a job, and before you know it, your empire has kicked in.
But it wouldn’t be a ‘Medieval Dynasty‘ if you didn’t have a legacy ahead of you. You can butter up the locals and find yourself a wife (though the best ones are married). Not only do they keep you on the straight and narrow, but they can heal you too. Don’t look after them right and a bit stingy on your resources and they’ll leave you, along with any heir.
No doubt there will be some groups sticking their neck out about why the women take a back seat, but this is based on the era. As much as internet people want to rewrite history, you can’t. Just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean you can change it, so don’t expect to play Red Sonya or Diana Prince in this game, it’s a man’s world, apparently.
As for the experience, Medieval Dynasty is pretty in-depth. Before you know it, the seasons have changed, and with it, your strategy will have to change. Like good ol’ Blighty, like it’s modelled on, us Brits get the best of all four seasons so that you’ll never get complacent. In summer you’ll be whinging about it being too hot, in winter, too cold. But in terms of gameplay, crops will change, animal behaviour adapts, and you can no longer rely on loose clothing.
Medieval Dynasty is available now in Early Access on Steam.