Kenshi is a single player open world RPG/ real time strategy game set in a apocalyptic world developed primarily by Chris Hunt back in 2006. It was among the first games to come to Steam early access program back when you had to apply for testing. As of December 6th 2018 Kenshi was launched as a full title 1.0 and after seeing the depth of this game it HAD to be mine. If you enjoy making your own story or having total freedom to do as you please I will show you why Kenshi is worth the 30$.
Kenshi functions like a odd hybrid between Rimworld and Mount and Blade. You can get up and personal with you characters clicking on the map from a 3rd person perspective, or from god view commanding squads much like other RTS games. Starting in Kenshi you will select 1 of 13 scenarios from wealthy trader to Rock Bottom starts. These scenarios will determine where you start and how many assets, companions, and reputations you will have. Now its time to customize your character from 4 default races with sub races all with different stats/ debuffs.
Humans, one of the most common species in the world, are good at everything having no real debuffs to their skills. However humans are soft and easily killed by “Map Hazzards”. The Shek species are horned human like creatures with a society based on military casts. They are genuinely useless with critical thinking but are great warriors. Hive characters are bug like creatures with a queen that somewhat controls their lives. Hive men are fast both physically and in combat but are prone to losing limbs easily. Finally Skeletons are an mechanical species and no one knows how they came to be. They are good at everything almost perfect beings but are rumored to be the reason the world was destroyed. Skeletons have one downfall and that is they cant heal. You need a mechanic or repair tools to fix them which is expensive. Surprisingly the character customization is not bad with a lot more options than i was expecting. Once you have your character its time to embark on a journey that may or may not be “Spiritually Taxing”.
Once in the game you may find yourself confused at first. Kenshi truly has no set objective for you to follow and minimal tutorial guidance. The one true goal to follow is not starving. You will need food and to do that you need money by any means necessary. To get money you will need to start your adventure leaving the comforts and safety of cities. You can harvest resources such as ore and animal products and sell to the many retailers of the world. Managing your inventory full of resources will prove difficult with nothing but pockets. Upgrade to backpacks to carry more and allow for optimization of the sizes of items. Outside city walls are risky by yourself or in a small group and you will find yourself harassed by the many factions and animals in the world.
One such faction are traveling slavers who will take any unconscious sentient being and enslave them. This includes you as the player or any of your squad members. Traveling slavers are not inherently hostile unless you are by yourself or unconscious or generally and easy target. Alternatively you can practice moral relativism and capture slaves yourself to do the work for you. Work them to the brink of starvation sell them before they die, or sacrifice them to any fortunate herd of hungry animals that stumble too close. Ultimately no matter what you do to make money you will need help from other characters. You and your companions will be very weak and having a party will be essential for any route you take. Once you get capital i suggest going to bars across the map and hiring people as soon as possible.
Regardless of your choices or how you play the game you will need to engage in combat. Kenshi uses a rather unique limb and weapon physics system. Basically your character will have a variety of swings depending on what weapons you use. If your weapon makes physical contact with a body part it will do damage to that part and surrounding areas. Damage and debuffs will be determined by player skills and stats factored into weapon stats. If a limb or body part takes too much damage it will be broken rattle around helplessly. Worse you could receive too much damage and the limb will get removed in combat. Don’t worry too much if you lose a limb, retailers will have advanced prosthetic limbs to get your characters back to peak efficiency.
In the beginning having as many characters as possible to help you fight will shift the balance. You start not even being able to kill a goat, and I have experienced much self shame from this fact. Having a large group will allow multiple people to gain combat experiences, and allow you to stand a chance against enemies. You will be tempted to reload when things go bad but in reality you are hurting yourself. You will get bullied without mercy but it is essential for the development of your squad. Kenshi has a stat that measures your toughness and the more you get beat the stronger you get. Without taking a beating you will not progress. Learning to survive and adapt in combat in this game will save your life and the lives of your party. So equip your men with weapons and armor and run out there to get stomped on.
You will be encouraged to interact with the world through many various ways. Explore ancient cities to discover rare tech and face rare bosses. Help NPCs with problems they face a get more understanding of the lore. Involving yourself in political power struggles to influence the fate of cities and its citizens. You may be asking yourself at this point “what if i want more?” Kenshi will allow you to establish your own name in this world and a place for those who will follow your rule.
Colonization is as simple as running into the depths of the map and some know-how and resources. Find a spot you like and place your first few structures and fortifications with the games construction button. Start researching new tech and methods of surviving with the games research bench. At this point you may be thinking to yourself “This is great, how could things go wrong?” Native factions and animals will take notice of your settlement and take advantage of you. Regular attacks can start happening and you will need to defend yourself with walls, gates, and soldiers. Struggling to survive will become your new lover and she will beat you senseless. Primarily these factions will want you materials and food supplies so defend yourself well.
Become a new empire and lead the world as a supreme leader. Lead the inferior factions to ruin or integrate them into your empire. Be prepared for prayer day happening once a week otherwise you will regret being a heathen. Don’t know what i am talking about? Play the game and dont forget your holy book and pray to the almighty Okran!
Kenshi is a wonderful title with an unique style to it. It is a very challenging game that allows you to determine how you want to play it. There will be more articles talking about this game and some experiences I have had. It seams impossible to cover all the content but Max Level Mag will bring you more excitement as this game continues to grow.
P.S this game support Steam Workshop mods… Have fun with that!