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Default Crusader Kings III - Review @ Polygon

September 2nd, 2020, 18:17
Polygon has reviewed the Strategy-RPG Crusader Kings III:

Crusader Kings 3 is one of the best role-playing games of 2020

An epic that breaks free of the strategy game genre entirely

Crusader Kings 3, the latest offering from Paradox Interactive, successfully aligns the desires of its fictional rulers with its real-world players. The player starts by controlling a single ruler, eventually leading and growing their dynastic line over hundreds of years of feudal history. Throughout, the game balances randomness with the opportunity for real improvisation on the part of the player. The result is an elastic storytelling engine that brings into focus the kinds of personal conflicts that make it so fascinating to study real history.

[…]

Regardless, after more than 40 hours with Crusader Kings 3, I still find myself learning more and more about its systems with every passing moment. I've restarted my playthrough of the Canossa line three different times now, and each time it feels more and more like I'm coming to grips with how Matilda -- and the game as a whole -- needs to be played. As with any great RPG, I can feel my grip on the storyline tightening over time. I'm looking forward to the dozens, if not hundreds, of more hours yet to come.
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September 2nd, 2020, 19:39
Thanks for linking the review. This is a title that is on my radar to play, but with Paradox titles I usually wait for an expansion or two to come out first. I am disappointed to read that there still isn't much of a tutorial as watching hours of YouTube to learn how to play is not very appealing, but hopefully their tooltips system will be effective in teaching it.
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September 2nd, 2020, 22:12
Love the new tooltips, how they lock with a timer or a click. Good stuff there. Haven't gotten all the way through the tutorial yet, but it's pretty clear early on they put a hell of a lot more effort into it than they did with CKII. I hear there are bare spots, but it's also pretty clear early on this base game is much more robust than CKII with no DLC.
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September 3rd, 2020, 01:04
As good as it might be, its not an RPG though. Its still a grand strategy game with some RPG elements just like the previous CK.
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September 3rd, 2020, 04:20
The game is odd in that it probably has true "role-playing" in the sense of its original P&P meaning, but it does nothing I find compelling in RPGs nor do I want to play it
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September 3rd, 2020, 04:20
*shrugs* That may be true. It's also true I've done my best role-playing to date in CKII.
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September 3rd, 2020, 08:14
Not sure why I have started CK 2 many times and always got away from it to play something else. Don't think I have played more than about 10 hours. Something about all the managing of the little details gets tiring.
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September 3rd, 2020, 08:19
Well then you should have no problem with playing Crusader Kings 3. Seems Paradox finally has watered down their formula enough for mass appeal and success.
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September 3rd, 2020, 09:19
Originally Posted by Capt. Huggy Face View Post
*shrugs* That may be true. It's also true I've done my best role-playing to date in CKII.
There are whole communities with talented modders who use GTA for roleplay, and GTA isn't a RPG. I'm sure you can get into the shoes of an ancient king and decide making decisions based on a role or a morality compass, rather than what's most benefitial for the success of your kingdom. I do that in some games too, and it's enjoyable because it adds an extra dimension to it, but Crusader Kings is not a RPG, it's a strategy game, with the dreadful moniker "RPG elements" attached to it.

I once worked as commercial, and they taught us catchphrases and magic words that you'd have to say to sell the product. Words that sounded appealing and had a favourable perception, you've heard them in every commercial. "Bargain", "Premium", "State-of-the-art", "Authentic", "Guaranteed". In the games industry, the "RPG elements" has become such a PR attachment to about every game, just because it will sell better, and at this point the term is so diluted that nobody even knows what "RPG elements" is anymore. Could be just the ability to gear up your general, or maybe it's just because there is a technology talent tree that never was considered a RPG element, but now it is, because again, it will sell the game better. Just misleading commercial bullshit, that makes reviewers like the one in this thread mistake what a RPG really is.
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September 3rd, 2020, 10:22
Originally Posted by Nereida View Post
There are whole communities with talented modders who use GTA for roleplay, and GTA isn't a RPG.
Unless you use the definition "A role-playing game is a game where you play a role" I don't see "RPG elements" as "commercial bullshit" but rather as an attempt to classify game elements. Like taxonomy, the human brain needs to classify things to understand them. Perhaps we would need a Linnaeus of gaming to clarify all these terms. It appears that the music world is ahead as a song could be both "death metal" and "techno" and no-one would get insulted except everyone because that would be a pretty crappy song
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September 3rd, 2020, 10:36
I've personally stopped trying to define what an RPG is anymore. As almost every game nowadays with stats and choices is declared an RPG by the masses. Sad times.

Heck I've seen games not even labeled that by it's developer called RPGs.
Originally Posted by largh View Post
It appears that the music world is ahead as a song could be both "death metal" and "techno" and no-one would get insulted except everyone because that would be a pretty crappy song,
That is metal blasphemy and the metal gods will smite anyone who tries.
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September 3rd, 2020, 11:07
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
That is metal blasphemy and the metal gods will smite anyone who tries.
https://youtu.be/k7Wr_Mux9wE

Ok, this goes off-topic and I'll end here.
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September 3rd, 2020, 12:28
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
I've personally stopped trying to define what an RPG is anymore. As almost every game nowadays with stats and choices is declared an RPG by the masses. Sad times.

Heck I've seen games not even labeled that by it's developer called RPGs.

That is metal blasphemy and the metal gods will smite anyone who tries.
Personally I think trying to define such a broad term as "role playing game" is doomed from the outset. It is just a fact of language that definitions change, and change even quicker when the definition from the beginning is so vague.
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September 3rd, 2020, 12:31
Originally Posted by Saxon1974 View Post
Not sure why I have started CK 2 many times and always got away from it to play something else. Don't think I have played more than about 10 hours. Something about all the managing of the little details gets tiring.
I'm in the same boat. I've tried several times to play it, but always bounce off. The only one of their games I got into properly was Stellaris and it was a blast once I understood how it played.

I believe I might love this game if I manage to get into it enough, but time is always an issue nowadays. I love rpgs, I love strategy games. I should find it fun…
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September 3rd, 2020, 13:01
Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
Personally I think trying to define such a broad term as "role playing game" is doomed from the outset. It is just a fact of language that definitions change, and change even quicker when the definition from the beginning is so vague.
Yep!

Ironically I like the current usage of the term "RPG Elements". I know roughly what to expect. It won't be an actual RPG (as I would define it), but there are some RPG-like mechanics.
However with games that are labeld "RPG" I need to watch out these days. I never know what I'll get.
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September 3rd, 2020, 20:39
Originally Posted by largh View Post
Unless you use the definition "A role-playing game is a game where you play a role" I don't see "RPG elements" as "commercial bullshit" but rather as an attempt to classify game elements.
Yes, in an RPG one should be playing a role. However, the misconception occurs when people assume this mean 'an actor's role', that of just imagining you're someone else and doing things that the someone else would do. This is not what Role means in RPGs. By Role in RPG, it is meant that one is adopting a position, as in 'What is your role within the company', essentially tying the concept to what we term Character Classes.

And in order for your Character Class to have any meaning as an individual Role the player must be choosing their class from a wide variety of classes and also that they must be playing alongside other team members who have different classes, otherwise it wouldn't matter what Role you were playing. Hence Lara Croft is an action adventure game, even if she has loot, upgradable abilities and a levelling up noise.

Lara could only be RPG if you chose your Lara from a variety of starting builds and went on adventures with other Laras with different starting builds. So that each Lara can have a Role to play within their team.

CKIII is one of those games where its easy for people to think its RPG because you are so concentrated on imagining yourself as someone else. Something you also have to do in RPGs, but is not the defining feature of RPGs, it is just a natural off-shoot of having to provide one specific Role within a team.

CKIII only gives you one Character Class, that of King. Your role and everyone's role who plays it will always be King. So it's more a strategy game with simulation elements than anything, a bit like a game where you play a Chef managing a restaurant is much more of a simulation game than anything else.

Imagine if you will a football team. Each player is assigned a different title that relates to their position. The goalie/centre back might well be great goal-scorers, but for the purposes of the game they will play the role of Goalie or centre back and get admonished if they spend the whole game up front trying to get goals/touch downs.

Yes, you could just have one-on-one football and still call it football, but everyone knows it isn't, it's just not the same thing. The two players on the pitch would have no specific role and would both be expected to 'do' everything. And there's a reason why one-on-one football never became a thing
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September 3rd, 2020, 20:52
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
Yes, in an RPG one should be playing a role. However, the misconception occurs when people assume this mean 'an actor's role', that of just imagining you're someone else and doing things that the someone else would do. This is not what Role means in RPGs. By Role in RPG, it is meant that one is adopting a position, as in 'What is your role within the company', essentially tying the concept to what we term Character Classes.

And in order for your Character Class to have any meaning as an individual Role the player must be choosing their class from a wide variety of classes and also that they must be playing alongside other team members who have different classes, otherwise it wouldn't matter what Role you were playing. Hence Lara Croft is an action adventure game, even if she has loot, upgradable abilities and a levelling up noise.

Lara could only be RPG if you chose your Lara from a variety of starting builds and went on adventures with other Laras with different starting builds. So that each Lara can have a Role to play within their team.

CKIII is one of those games where its easy for people to think its RPG because you are so concentrated on imagining yourself as someone else. Something you also have to do in RPGs, but is not the defining feature of RPGs, it is just a natural off-shoot of having to provide one specific Role within a team.

CKIII only gives you one Character Class, that of King. Your role and everyone's role who plays it will always be King. So it's more a strategy game with simulation elements than anything, a bit like a game where you play a Chef managing a restaurant is much more of a simulation game than anything else.

Imagine if you will a football team. Each player is assigned a different title that relates to their position. The goalie/centre back might well be great goal-scorers, but for the purposes of the game they will play the role of Goalie or centre back and get admonished if they spend the whole game up front trying to get goals/touch downs.

Yes, you could just have one-on-one football and still call it football, but everyone knows it isn't, it's just not the same thing. The two players on the pitch would have no specific role and would both be expected to 'do' everything. And there's a reason why one-on-one football never became a thing
This is all rather astoundingly not true.
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September 3rd, 2020, 21:42
Originally Posted by JFarrell71 View Post
This is all rather astoundingly not true.
You may disagree with it, as you have, but it is the entire point of RPGs and always has been and so you are factually incorrect in your statement.
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September 3rd, 2020, 21:45
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
Yes, in an RPG one should be playing a role. However, the misconception occurs when people assume this mean 'an actor's role', that of just imagining you're someone else and doing things that the someone else would do. This is not what Role means in RPGs. By Role in RPG, it is meant that one is adopting a position, as in 'What is your role within the company', essentially tying the concept to what we term Character Classes.

And in order for your Character Class to have any meaning as an individual Role the player must be choosing their class from a wide variety of classes and also that they must be playing alongside other team members who have different classes, otherwise it wouldn't matter what Role you were playing. Hence Lara Croft is an action adventure game, even if she has loot, upgradable abilities and a levelling up noise.

Lara could only be RPG if you chose your Lara from a variety of starting builds and went on adventures with other Laras with different starting builds. So that each Lara can have a Role to play within their team.

CKIII is one of those games where its easy for people to think its RPG because you are so concentrated on imagining yourself as someone else. Something you also have to do in RPGs, but is not the defining feature of RPGs, it is just a natural off-shoot of having to provide one specific Role within a team.

CKIII only gives you one Character Class, that of King. Your role and everyone's role who plays it will always be King. So it's more a strategy game with simulation elements than anything, a bit like a game where you play a Chef managing a restaurant is much more of a simulation game than anything else.

Imagine if you will a football team. Each player is assigned a different title that relates to their position. The goalie/centre back might well be great goal-scorers, but for the purposes of the game they will play the role of Goalie or centre back and get admonished if they spend the whole game up front trying to get goals/touch downs.

Yes, you could just have one-on-one football and still call it football, but everyone knows it isn't, it's just not the same thing. The two players on the pitch would have no specific role and would both be expected to 'do' everything. And there's a reason why one-on-one football never became a thing
So you'd say The Witcher and Gothic are not rpgs ?
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September 3rd, 2020, 22:05
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
So you'd say The Witcher and Gothic are not rpgs ?
You didn't read carefully enough He isn't. In Witcher, you can choose whether you specialize in alchemy, magic, etc.
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