Often, I look back on ye olde world and ponder how difficult it really could be to create and sustain a small society. Due to lack of understanding of time-travelling, I would have to settle for ruling over my peasants in a simulation, as opposed to ruling my own real-life fiefdom. Going Medieval is the name of this particular simulation.
Going Medieval is an interesting crossover, a city builder with a splashing of combat, similar to that of the gameplay style of RimWorld. Set after a plague had ravished the land (how topical), players are left in control of three villagers. I hesitate to call them a small society at this point, but these three townsfolk will help turn your empire of dirt into a fortified kingdom.
There’s an ever-evolving world story throughout your time with Going Medieval. Everything you do has a butterfly effect that doesn’t just ripple through your own community, but the other towns too. If you take in an otherwise unsavoury character that’s been chased off from the village down the road, you won’t be shocked to know their locals won’t be best pleased about the news. Which, in turn, can throw all sorts of spanners into the works. From sieging your walls to simply sitting idly by whilst bandits attack, not getting on with your neighbours can cause you all sorts of problems.
Every one of your townsfolk has a personality in Going Medieval. As is tradition with modern videogames, all of your citizens will have perks that will both positively and negatively impact your settlement. For the most part, managing your town's flaws and benefits is the part of Going Medieval that will take up most of your time. Ensuring everyone is working in their most efficient place, whilst keeping an eye on the more problematic members of your society. It’s very easy to lose control of a kingdom that begins to expand beyond its means. You can assign everyone with equipment, which in turn affects the roles they play in your kingdom. Of course, for all the personality your civilisation brings to the game, there would be nothing without a lovely town to live in.
I was surprised with just how in-depth the building system was at this stage. There’s a lot of stuff here to allow your creative juices to flow endlessly. Naturally, you’ll start with your generic huts, but it’s satisfying watching those huts develop into houses, which become a street and so on. There’s a lot of freedom to create your town to your liking. Whether you want to build something scenic or something that simply improves your chances of survival, Going Medieval is designed in a way to accommodate both. What’s important is, you create a city that can be defended.
Going Medieval isn’t afraid to tear down your pretty little towns, and no work of art is safe from the drums of war. I learned the hard way that Going Medieval will happily lay siege to me and my people on its own time, not mine. Although difficulty settings can be adjusted, the standard settings do allow for a nice balance between building a world whilst offering a constant fear of what’s coming next. Defending from these attacks, the player has more to hand than walls and soldiers. They improve the structures around them, as well as laying traps around your walls to persuade any intruders to chuff off. Failing any of those offers my preferred tactics of choice - running away.
Going Medieval has laid the groundwork for a full release that could keep people entertained for hundreds of hours. It’s not going to revolutionise the genre, it’s plucked some of the best ideas out there and made it their own, and sometimes, that’s the best way to do it.