Medieval Dynasty, the middle-ages survival RPG from developer Render Cube and publisher Toplitz Productions, is currently in Early Access on Steam. The alpha build is quite impressive thus far, but there are still some components that the team are likely hard at work implementing and polishing. The early buzz around the game is definitely warranted and I think those who have been playing are pretty excited about what the future holds for Medieval Dynasty.
The premise of Medieval Dynasty is this: your home was lost to war and you’ve set off to find your uncle to start a new life. Your journey ends up in the location in which the game is set, a peaceful land with several villages and plenty of resources to survive. In order to survive the seasons and build up your dynastic reputation, you’ll need to gather resources, fulfill your basic human needs (food and water), help fellow citizens with quests, have a family, and eventually build up your own village. That’s a relatively large list of items to accomplish, but these goals are what will keep you coming back to the game.
After the first couple hours of getting established in Medieval Dynasty with a basic shelter, some collected resources, and some happy citizens via quest progression, it already had its hooks in me. The several reward loops (eg, survival, quest progression, character progression) that this game has concurrently going all work really well. The survival aspect is straightforward: you need to fulfill hunger and water meters while keeping your temperature in check (winter will require warmer clothing than what you start off with). Food is available via foraging for mushrooms and berries or hunting/trapping wild animals, and any natural water source allows you to fill your belly. You’ll need a basic house to sleep in, which also offers storage and a place to cook your raw meat. Eventually you can farm vegetables and raise livestock once you get your village up and running to feed yourself and your villagers.
I haven’t gotten a full-fledged village up and running yet, but the prospect of doing so is keeping me going. I really enjoyed Banished, a survival management game that has some similarities to which I feel Medieval Dynasty is akin to a first person version of it. With only a couple inhabitants, I assigned them to the hunting lodge to keep the food stores up over the winter. I currently have some fields laid out for farming but haven’t had the chance to get familiar what to plant to maximize growth for the seasons. It’s a bit tricky at the moment to understand everything needed to keep your villagers happy, since I invited the first inhabitant without a proper food storage building and he nearly starved to death. I’m sure as development advances there will be more information and community wikis to help you plan for a stellar village.
Hunting is definitely a highlight of the early game. Lobbing wooden spears at deer and wisents (ie, bison) feels satisfying but isn’t without some frustration. The basic bow that you get or craft in the game offers up more accuracy from a distance, but feels underpowered when compared to the spear. Either way, once you down your prey you can skin the animal for valuable meat, leather, and fur. Since I was doing way too much hunting in between trips to the different villages around Medieval Dynasty, I sold a lot of the excess meat so it wouldn’t spoil in my inventory. There is a spoilage mechanic in the game, but I don’t think it’s fully worked out at the moment. The basic understanding is that items on your persons spoil faster than if they were in storage. Cooking a degraded piece of raw meat will increase its freshness, so save big cooking sessions to right after the change of the season.
Speaking of seasons, they are absolutely lovely. Each season looks and feels authentic. It’s also really nice to see how the villagers and the villages change during each season. I was a bit surprised that each season passes in 3 in-game days, but after playing a couple of years, this transition makes sense. I think the devs could maybe add a perk in there that unlocks an extra day per season if that’s possible, but I’d be okay if it stuck to 3 days. With the passing of each season, the landscapes of Medieval Dynasty change and can be stunning at times, so much that I would stop and take in the view before descending into the next valley. This game looks great and I can’t wait to see modders get their hands on the game to enhance lighting and scenery like in Skyrim or other games with beautiful ENB presets.
In between the season changes and surviving, your character will age and progress in skills. There are several skill trees with plenty of perks to unlock (although some of them aren’t fully implemented at this time). An early perk worth grabbing was a boost to experience points earned while performing survival skills, allowing for quicker progression, and the ability to use investigation mode to detect herbs and resources around the world. This was an invaluable component to find items in lush forests where the floor is covered in brush and plants to find herbs and mushrooms. Other skill trees with unlockable perks include hunting, diplomacy, farming, extraction, and crafting. So, your character is progressing as you progress your village and your dynasty, leaving you lots to do and plan for while playing Medieval Dynasty.
Knowing that the team has more in store and that Medieval Dynasty is only in Early Access, the prospect of more to do and see is extremely enticing to keep playing through release. I’m really impressed with everything I’ve seen so far, but Early Access comes with some hiccups. I had some issues plotting out some of the bigger buildings in the village. This could have been helped with some sort of camera that pulls out when you are trying to drop a building blueprint or potentially an overlay that visibly plots out areas where you can build vs unsuitable areas. Remember that you’ll likely be carrying a bunch of logs on your character, making them overburdened to quickly move around and determine where to lay out the building. Maybe a preview mode is possible before you commit to building?
Another quality of life items is the need to alert the player of what is really required for you to build your village. I first built my house by a lake in the western part of the map, but soon realized that there was no way to build a village up around it based on the landscape and obstacles around it. I like the idea that you can build you village wherever you like, but players will need to be wary of locations, unless you are able to unlock more perks/tools to actually lay down the buildings in your chosen location.
All in all, I can’t recommend Medieval Dynasty enough. The game shows real promise and the devs have shared a roadmap of what’s to come as the game progresses towards a proper release. I think players who like playing survival games will love it while those who might be on the fence on the genre will still find plenty to love in the management and crafting mechanics. If you aren’t into playing games in a beta state, then I would recommend you wait until this game is released. But keep in mind that you’ll be missing out on potentially shaping the final product.
Medieval Dynasty is currently available in Early Access on Steam and GOG.
This preview is based on an early access copy of the game provided by the publisher.