Many people enjoy open-sandbox worlds in games because of the complete lack of direction and the potential for adventure around every twist and turn.
A great example of this is “Kenshi,” by Lo-Fi Games studios, which is coming out of early access on Steam Dec. 6 for PC.
“Kenshi” is a free-roaming squad-based role-playing game focused on an open-ended sandbox with no linear story to keep you on track. You can become anything you wish, from a trader to an adventurer or even a warlord. Each choice will present you with a laundry list of obstacles you must overcome to succeed, or at least survive.
The “Kenshi” website explains: “Research new equipment and craft new gear. Purchase and upgrade your own buildings to use as safe fortified havens when things go bad or use them to start up a business. Aid or oppose the various factions in the world while striving for the strength and wealth necessary to simply survive in the harsh desert. Train your men up from puny victims to master warriors. Carry your wounded squad mates to safety and get them all home alive.”
As mentioned, “Kenshi” is an open-world game that pits the player against one of the harshest landscapes in video games I have ever seen. You are not the “chosen one,” main character or important figure. You are nothing, and the world of “Kenshi” will remind you of that fact as many times as it takes before you understand. Having a group of armed squadmates with you can help, but only a little.
Create as many characters as you want and build up a squad to fight alongside you, but there is a catch. Unlike most games out there, the player’s character does not have special abilities or skills that the in-game characters cannot possess. Each potentially threatening non-player character you meet has the potential to have equal stats as you, meaning you may not have an advantage. Each character you meet also has their own life and name.
Building a base is important in a game like this and will allow you some temporary relief from the troubles of the outside world. Good thing Lo-Fi Games has a building menu to erect a shelter for you and your squad mates to research new tech and upgrades for yourselves and your base.
There are many possibilities that can come from playing this game with your character. You can be good or evil. You can own a business. You can live in a town or a desert. You can conquer cities, free slaves or instead become one. The choices are seemingly endless.
According to the game’s website, the world of “Kenshi” is dynamic, and everything will keep on moving even if you stop. “This is not just a ‘game,’ you are living and surviving in a simulated world.” This means that if you are starving on the side of the road, other characters will ignore you. If you are a slave, you will be beaten. That is “Kenshi.”
Events that happen in the world, such as being eaten alive or being forced into slavery, are not scripted to happen at certain times. They are the norm in the “Kenshi” universe, but everything can be overcome with persistence and a goal in mind. However, being eaten alive may probably halt your quest a little earlier than anticipated.
Something extremely unique to “Kenshi” is a realistic medical system. If one of your characters, or yourself, is injured, then it will affect your gameplay. For example, if a character’s leg or arm is damaged, then an appropriate consequence will show itself. Characters will have to limp or crawl, which will slow down your party. If their arm is hurt, then they may not be able to use certain weapons. Blood loss attracting predators, equipment, encumbrance, injuries and starvation play key elements in the world of “Kenshi.”
But it is not only yourself vying for some amount of survivability in the world. There are other factions and characters trying to make their way in “Kenshi” as well. You may choose to help or hinder them as you attempt to survive the environment.
This is what “Kenshi” is all about and more. The stories created by players and their adventures are what really make this game what it is. “Kenshi” officially releases Dec. 6, with all its harshness and wonder.