Name: Kenshi
Developer: Lo-Fi Games
Publisher: Lo-Fi Games
Released: 06.12.2018
Platforms: PC
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose

After 12 years of development, Kenshi is finally releasing. I was told that In Kenshi I would be able to play as whatever I preferred, be it a sellsword, a farmer, adventurer, warlord or simply a slave. No story, only lots of different gameplay. A game that focuses on gameplay rather than a story is definitely an interesting take, but does it work in the long run?

Graphics

I have to be honest and say; Kenshi looks absolutely dreadful. The textures are blurry, the characters look strange, the towns are occupied by odd square objects that turn out to be buildings and the menu system is seriously confusing.

Kenshi has been in development since 2006, and the graphics have certainly stayed in that era. I’d be disappointed with these kinds of graphics even in the early PS3 era, and this is on PC, with 12(!) years of development, someone should have said: “Hey, let’s, I don’t know, make the game look like it comes from this decade.” Unfortunately, they haven’t, and the game does suffer from that. On the plus side, the game does have a steady (and high) framerate.
3/10

Kenshi - (5)

Gameplay

Fortunately, Kenshi does feature a massive amount of different gameplay. I started out my journey as a farmer/adventurer and certainly wasn’t disappointed. Personally, I found the non-combat way to take things preferable, not because that the fighting is bad, per se. It merely didn’t feel like it gave me anything in return for the trouble I had learning it.

The world in itself is massive – and by massive I mean “So freaking massive that I don’t know what to say.” It is supposedly 870 square kilometers, which is roughly the size of Daggerfall (if I remember correctly) and that is very cool. Woefully, the world feels incredibly lifeless. It’s vast desolate areas which offer very little when it comes to exploring and even less when it comes to fighting.

Kenshi - (8)

The game also features an RPG/RTS crossover, with the player being able to choose to play as a single character, with RPG elements, or a group, which focuses more on RTS. Personally, I played mostly as a single character, since that’s what I prefer (plus, I am horrible at RTS’ games; Kim can confirm.). All things considered nevertheless, you’ll undoubtedly find a way to enjoy the gameplay, as long as you don’t require a massive story to go along.
8/10

Controls

Kenshi started out as quite confusing for me. Too many buttons to learn, too many stances to try out and so forth. However, allowed the time to learn all of the different stuff the game opened up and the controls started making sense. Sure, the camera controls could be better, and the character is sometimes a bit clunky to steer when exploring. Considering everything though, it works rather well, and as long as you give it some time the controls do offer a lot.
8/10

Kenshi - (3)

Replay Value

During my time with the game, the replay value seemed to be sky high. In theory, the game could go on forever. Your character will constantly require food, so a farming job is endless. The map isn’t endless, but it’s so big it will take an insane number of hours to explore it all. And there’s always a new thing to kill. I don’t know how many hours I have in the game, but I’d bet it’s been about 100 hours (+), and I’ve yet to run out of things to do. And then there’s the fact I could play equally as much with a group (RTS-style), so yeah, the replay value is high.
9/10

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Overall
7/10
7/10
  • Graphics - 3/10
    3/10
  • Gameplay - 8/10
    8/10
  • Controls - 8/10
    8/10
  • Replay Value - 9/10
    9/10
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Verdict

I must admit I hadn’t heard about Kenshi before I received the code from Kim. And the first impression was only okay, since it looks bad and the controls took time to learn. Once I got under the surface of the game though, it admittedly took of and gave me lots of new experiences that I didn’t expect. There are lots of things to do; the gameplay allows for lots of different ways to play and the controls offer a lot, after that initial “wow, this is too much.” So all in all I must say I’m positive towards the game, especially if they could take some time updating the graphics.

Pros

  • Has lots of varied gameplay
  • Great replay value
  • The controls work well

Cons

  • Looks horrible
  • A bit difficult to get into

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