Some days I find it quite hard to deal with normal life. Do you know what I mean? The constant struggle to balance the bills, hunt for food at the supermarket, make sure the house doesn’t fall apart. Of course, the most difficult part is trying to avoid conflict of any sort. So when that’s a struggle I don’t know for the life of me why I continue to repeat those tortures in the gaming world.
See, I’ve played a lot of sim games in recent times, and led many second lives trying to survive on a planet. But I’ve not done anything like Medieval Dynasty, trying to start a new life in the middle ages. What could go wrong?
Medieval Dynasty proved to be a bit of a success when it arrived on PC in 2020. Now we have it here on Xbox Series X and the game puts you in the role of a soldier, coming back from the wars to a small village in hope of reuniting with his family. But bad news – everyone he has known has died and so he decides to settle down and build his own life.
To begin you need somewhere to live and so the search for building a house begins. What happens story-wise is that the game has some narrative tasks – at least to begin with – and these act as a long tutorial to get you in step with the mechanics. Then as you progress through the game you get bits of lore or dialogue from your fellow villagers and later your friends and new family. But at the heart of Medieval Dynasty is a long survival experience, one that will have you making your own story.
Before you start, you should be aware that Medieval Dynasty isn’t going to take you a few hours before you are done. This is a life eater, where the folk who invest more into it will get more out of it. At least if you can stay the course. The good news is that if you want an easy ride from the game you can play around with the settings and turn things off; like the need for food or water or never paying taxes. But first things first…
You can play Medieval Dynasty in either first person or the third person if you want to. You start the game needing to build a house to live in; gaining some shelter. So it’s about collecting resources around you, like sticks and stones to build an axe. The axe knocks the trees down which you can use to build the house… You know the drill if you’ve played any kind of these games before.
There are a lot of things to partake in here, from decorating your house to getting married to paying taxes and even fighting off invaders trying to get into your village. I found the controls and menus a bit baffling at first, with loads of options and strange UI designs that seem to have been drawn over from the PC world, rather than being suited to our beloved console.
You need to keep warm, heading out to get food and drink. So for instance, you’ll want to build a house close to the river; sorting the thirst problem. But food wise, you’ll need to go hunting rabbits and foxes to start with. Then as you progress and get quests going from the villagers, soon you’ll be hiring people to do all your hunting for you. From there, they can do the building and soon you’ll be sorted with your own little medieval empire. Now you can get married, have children and let them go off to do some of the work.
The best thing about Medieval Dynasty is found in the ambition of what you can do; it is nothing short of immense in that regard. It feels so epic that it manages to live up to its Medieval Dynasty name with aplomb.
Visually and everything is fine and dandy. It all looks authentic and there are some nice landscapes on offer. The problem is, that even though this is an Xbox Series X version, it still has a lot of old-school Skyrim vibes about it, especially when dealing with NPCs. The menus could do with some work as well – they get more than a tad confusing at times.
If you’re a fan of the sim survival genre, then you should lap up and relish Medieval Dynasty. There are nothing short of hundreds of hours of things to do here, and that will appeal to those who love enduring – and flourishing – in these worlds. The quests are good, the world is interesting and the opportunities are tremendous, but I do worry that there is little to keep anyone but the most hardened interested; even with the ability to turn down settings, you will still have to make a fun life out of this old world.
Medieval Dynasty is available from the Xbox Store