If you guys managed to catch some of my recent streams, you probably know that I’m actually embracing the 5Head-ness and trying some of that Paradox Grand thinkening, I think it was already overdue and I knew that I’ll enjoy that. And I sure do.
Game even got me into state of mind that made me start 5Head Wednesday now for strategy, tycoon, management and other games that require a bit more brain activity than usual (card games will go there too probably) and first 5Head Wednesday already was a blast. But for now more about CK3…
First of all, game is extremely deep and complicated, even though Grand Strategy Connoisseurs are making their “ew” faces saying that it’s casual shit for normies, but it’s still fucking 5Head and as random normie I appreciate having this one, because it looks like getting into older Paradox strategies would be even harder. Being so complicated means that trying to explain how it works in this blog post will be pointless, so I’ll just try to describe my impressions more rather than going into technicalities, it probably will be easier to see it for yourself, especially since Paradox has pretty good influencer relationships and there lots of videos on YT and streams (including mine, even though I’m a pleb at this game).
Game on the surface is pretty simple – you control some region in medieval world and then try to keep that control and conquer more regions through peaceful or not very peaceful ways, like playing through history book. Pretty simple, gotem ez, but that’s just the surface, you go very deep under that, managing every single little detail of your kingdom (or other territorial unit, that stuff is also very detailed). Could history book imagine Empress Pepega of Holy Roman Empire that was a daughter of my first ruler, she got that high up herself from Irish dynasty, not having anything, became an Empress and in the end her kids through marriage with my kids (she was my current ruler aunt) helped me to secure the alliance with Holy Roman Empire that completely destroyed my enemies in war (a bit of inbreeding there, but it was for the kingdom!).
There is insane replay value – a lot of things are completely unpredictable and every run will be different even if you start in the same country as the same ruler, for me it is basically just playing through the story of my dynasty that is fun, even if “run” itself isn’t successful – you still manage to get so many twists and funny moments that it’s not even sad to get “Game Over” (I’d say when things start to go downhill it brings the dankest moments).
Tutorial actually gives you a good idea how things work, but after that you are left with encyclopedia and tooltips that have tooltips (actually pretty nice interface for that), so it might get quite complicated and you might want to check out some videos just to see that there is some feature that you didn’t know about completely, or some way to approach things that you couldn’t even come up with yourself without any guidance in game. It’s funny, because it’s second game that actually made me curious enough to go to YT and watch some videos to educate myself, first was Civilization 6, which is also from 5Head department (and I gonna stream it one day too for sure). So in the end I can see why Paradox is partnering with content creators – you really need that “infrastructure” that provides people with extra information that you can’t really find in game unless you know where to look.
Sounds scary? Yeah, it sure is pretty overwhelming, but I’d say it was worth checking a bit of videos and getting a little backseat support from chat, because game sure delivers a lot of hilarious moments and I’d even say it’s just interesting to observe it, like you could just become a host without controlling anything yourself and just looking at how things go around the map, how political map of the region changes, who declares war, who tries to assasinate someone, who’s arranging best marriage options for their heir etc.
Interface and controls are loaded with functions, but in the same time pretty readable and somewhat intuitive, at least for most important things, other might sometime require you to look for and that’s where videos can come in handy. Overall look of the game is pretty pleasant, there’s obviously no insane graphics in this game just by genre definition, but all art and UI are really good.
Gameplay I already “teased” a bit above (and post is already big), as I said it’s hard to describe it here in details, but there is a lot of stuff to do in the game and ways to do it, in general you just pause or speed up time and take whole range of decisions that regular king or queen would make, also while getting some pop-up windows with some decisions that would give you a bit of lore stuff and require you to make some choices that will be affected by your character stats etc, so RPG elements in this game are pretty developed and I like it.
Story… well you create the story, you can go on a path of creating perfect Emperor who will rule all world, or maybe start from some small Eastern tribe and manage to get it through all the problems till the “end” – it’s pretty much sandbox in this department can make your own perfect country with your own religion if you want.
Still didn’t lose interest? Well game is on Gamepass, so you can get it basically for free (that’s what I did and that only makes me enjoy the game more I feel) and well there are no DLCs yet, later probably will be better to get a package with DLCs on sale, since DLCs usually aren’t added to Gamepass offer. I personally can recommend if you like strategy games and even overall, just for the hilarious moments that you can encounter, especially if you have Gamepass active – worth giving it a try for sure. Overall great experience for me and I’m happy it woke my 5Head urges and now I’ll be doing 5Head Wednesdays with more big brain games, but I’m not done with CK itself yet, will continue for some more time, have a decent run going.
Little advice (don’t read if you want to suffer through it first yourself)/thing that got my runs to RIP and me to mald a bit: be careful with succession – you can build insane huge Empire and then lose it all in one moment, because your Emperor was fucking everything left and right and all his kids will tear his achievement apart (and maybe him with it), try to manage situation with heirs and/or stall until you get “upgrades” that allow you to get new succession laws that make situation better (that might take a long while, I don’t have it yet and I’m in 4th generation of rulers).