Some games don’t lend themselves very well to events; you can normally only expect about ten minutes of playtime and you need to sell your game on that. A lot of developers make special builds to give a real vertical slice of their game but that isn’t really possible with some games. Kenshi is one such game, an Early Access Squad-Based RPG with no main linear story and a huge variety of different systems that should give a terrible first impression.
Kenshi is relentlessly hard to begin with, throwing you into a world of dangerous creatures, environments and cannibals. You control the group with RTS controls, by selecting the units and clicking to tell them where to go. Each unit has a variety of skills in a typical RPG-style points system, from athletics to lock-picking which allows you to create a well-rounded team with a variety of different strengths. The characters are also subject to very life-like rules; for instance, a character will run faster if they aren’t wearing heavy clothing and an injury will affect what a character will be able to do. A character with a broken leg won’t be able to run very far or fast!
At its core, Kenshi is a survival game with hunger mechanics and base building. I got the opportunity to see the very beginnings of the base building, but that is something that requires a lot more than ten minutes to get through. It seemed very modular, with preset rooms and buildings though I suspect this is to minimise the complexity of the already highly complex game. During my time with Kenshi, I didn’t have any characters complain about hunger so the hunger meter isn’t completely ridiculous as it is in other survival games.
I got to see two brief glimpses of the game; the first was a more standard swamp start near to a local village, and the second was something a little more interesting. The second drops your group into the middle of a huge swarm of cannibals, and they begin attacking instantly. I managed to have one character almost escape, only to be caught by one cannibal that did not want to quit. WIth all my characters locked up and in comas, I had some time to come up with a strategy. As my characters regained consciousness, I was able to get them to pick the locks on the cages they were being kept in. Soon, everyone was awake, mostly healed and ready to escape.
One of them made it out of the camp, and was chased across the country by a handful of the cannibals. She thought she saw salvation in another village - they may not like her but they should protect her - but it was to no avail. The second village of cannibals swarmed towards her and she was dead, along with the rest of the party, and my time with Kenshi was over. I’m looking forward to seeing where this one goes from here, and I definitely want to spend more time with it.