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Monday, September 18, 2023 12:29:40 AM

Kenshi Review (BrickBagel)

Second run after getting beaten, arrested and dying on attempting to escape from prison in the first run:
> Start in crappy run down town
> Mine copper for profit
> Decide I will be a miner and sell my ores for profit
> Farm copper and iron
> Make fat stacks
> Hire companion to bodyguard and help mine copper
> Make tons of money
> Decide to buy cow to help carry more copper
> Search in a wasteland for an hour to find someone who sells a cow
> Finally find farmstead in a holy land and buy a cow
> On the way back to my mining camp
> Like 8 bandits sprinting at me on the horizon
> Realize cow is high value target
> Send cow to run away
> Prepare my men to fight
> Accidentally select cow when pressing attack
> Almost scream out loud, scared of losing my nine thousand dollar investment
> Cow immediately plows through like 4 bandits, tearing off a leg and an arm and leaving a massive pool of blood
> Other guys fight off bandits as cow absolutely destroys the bandits trying to escape
> Cow is insane
> Travel with band of mercenaries and nomads until we reach some town
> Pack of wolves attacks and breaks one of my guys legs
> Guards come from town, a few die to the wolves
> Try to take opportunity to get some sweet guard armor
> Immediately get caught because guy I tried to loot was bleeding out not dead
> Guards attack stealing guy, broken leg guy tries to attack guards and defend teammate, immediately gets rocked
> Both in jail
> Broken leg is super good at lock picking and stealing guy has super high athleticism meaning he can run super fast
> Broken leg unlocks cage and breaks fast guy out
> Fast guy sprints out screaming obscenities, bringing the cow with him
> All guards in town immediately go after him
> Broken leg guy slips out of cage during all the commotion
> Regroup and head back to camp to lay low
> Finally make it back to mining camp
> Start mining
> Group of bandits sneak up and knock my guys out, breaking another leg on the same guy as before in the process
> Bandits immediately devour cow
> Slavers pull up to see my guys bleeding out on the street with a half eaten cow
> Slavers pick up guy with no broken bones and start to pick up guy with broken leg
> Pack of wolves come out of nowhere and attack slavers
> Slavers barely survive and leave, forgetting my guy with a broken bone on the ground
> Broken bone guy stops playing dead and slowly crawls to nearby town
> Broken bone guy starts healing while enslaved guy plots escape
> While travelling to camp slavers get distracted by giant ostrich beast
> Sprint away with my enslaved athletics 40 guy who runs at 20km/h
> Regroup and lay low until slavers stop looking for escaped slave
> Have existential crisis after realizing all the ore farming I was doing was essentially the same as what they would have me do as a slave
> Cope by rescuing random slave girl who wants to be a fighter
> Train her up by having her carry backpacks of iron
> Adopt a dog while this is going on
> Decide to check out new spot on the map with newfound family
> Find cool robot explorer
> Travel around for a while living with no cash because mining is for nerds
> Group of slavers pull up
> Battle goes on for about thirty IRL minutes as I'm pausing and trying to figure out how I can win
> Barely survive with beaten and dying men and dying robot
> One survives, heals others
> Goes to heal robot, realizes he doesnt have a repair kit
> Repair kits cost like 5000 dollars
> Do not have that kind of cash (around 1000)
> Realize what I must do
> Frantically mine copper with all three of my guys as soon as they recover while the dog guards the dying robot
> Make barely enough
> Buy repair kit
> Sprint to repair robot
> Robot is seriously dying
> Finally get there and start repairing
> The damage is too great, robot dies in the arms of my family of misfits
> Jaw drops to the floor
All of this happened in about 13 hours of gameplay, with no story, no quests, just me playing, with my own goals, in a massive world, meeting random characters. I should say that this game is an amalgam of things I dislike: I don't like slower stat based rpgs, I don't like real time strategy, I don't like survival games, and I find apocalypse games such as fallout to have extremely drab and ugly environments. Yet despite being all these things and more rolled into a giant meat taco, kenshi has me utterly captivated in its gameplay. Everything happens in a fairly non scripted open world/sandbox environment where a lot of the fun is simply experiencing and living in the world.
No game has ever had me so connected to my character (And ironically, there is no given story to your character) as the only way for your character to improve in something is to experience it for themselves, want to get better at fighting? Go fight then. Want to get tougher? Get beat up more and survive. Want to do anything? Keep failing until you get it right. Whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger and that is how you progress in this game, the high difficulty comes not from the actual enemies in the world (though they are quite tough) but instead knowing what fights you can and cannot take, all of those stat points mean nothing if your character is dead in the wasteland, and this raw feeling of survival gives you such a will to live and a want to grow to be the strongest, no other game has ever come as close to the feeling of intensity for me as kenshi has.
Steam says I've only played about 13 hours of this game so far but those 13 hours were so special I felt the uncontrollable urge to post a review. While reading the reviews for this game I was highly skeptical of the freedom it claimed to have as I am used to having controlled freedom such as in a bethesda or rockstar open world game; in games like that there is a huge, lush open world to explore but the story or side quests are only happening in one little dot on the map. This is not that, this is a true open world experience with unbridled freedom where you make your own story, interactions and personal experiences. Not that there is no dialogue, there is some written for interactions in towns that are often deadbeat ironic statements that I find extremely hilarious, and depending on the race/gender of characters in your party they have special things to say to each other about places they visit and things they do in passing that can be an informative or comedic reprieve from the desolate and violent wasteland that surrounds them.
Despite the world of kenshi being very run down and barren from an outside view, the game still feels full of life and action, even though all that surrounds you is an ancient, utterly destroyed world. While I dislike drab environments with little in them where simply walking around makes me want to throw up, kenshis world is so captivating and deeply atmospheric that I've actually come to like the visuals for the most part. About 99% of the music is also amazing. There is one track (Or maybe its some sort of sound effect) that I find incredibly irritating and loud, but other than that outlier; the simple, haunting melodies which sound like exploring a ghost town perfectly match the atmosphere of wandering and surviving a wasteland alien world. I've only spent a few hours in the world of kenshi so far, but its left more of an impression on me than most games I've put a hundred hours into have. I look forward to exploring more of this world in its vastness; until then, see you space cowboy.