We got the opportunity to look at a promising Game called “Life is Feudal: Your Own”, and we were stoked about all the things it has to offer.
It is one of those types of game, either you are completely appaled by the thought of playing a unforgiving medieval survival game or you are instantly hooked and spent hours playing it. Now luckily we belonged to the second type of group and we managed to get a nice look at what Life is Feudal is all about.
Life is Feudal is a medieval survival game that tries to go great distances hand to hand with realism. Nothing is going to happen if you don’t do it yourself and no other player is obliged to be nice to you. They might even wind up killing you if look like an easy target. Now let’s take a look at what we noticed and experienced.
Problems we had with the Game:
Lets get the first major fault out of the way first though. Performance. The game underperforms a great deal for it’s last gen graphics and it really scares a huge deal of potential players away. Of course you cannot expect a triple-A graphics, performance and compability from a small indie studio, but it is an issue that goes beyond being ignorable. I lost count of how many times either me or my friends got the message that the game has run out of video memory (we have decent pcs) , or popped some error message and crashed.
Now a second problem is the controls, now dont get me wrong – I think Life is Feudals controls are very convienient once I got used to them. But they are very unintuitive at first glance and just dont feel right. But once you’re over the hill you will most likely even forget you’ve had trouble with it in the first place.
A thing that was not so easy to get used to is the combat system. The game really tries to apply a little layer of innovation while leaning on combat systems more or less similar to those of the Elder Scrolls Series. But instead of controlling both arms of your character, you shake your ingame camera around with your mouse to direct an attack that sometimes will probably go in that direction. It is clearly something new, but not very pleasant to most players.
The Good stuff that managed to outweigh all the Problems:
I mentioned earlier we got a nice deep look at what the game has to offer, and by that I mean it hooked all of us and with over 100 hours of ingame playtime this review is anything but a first impression. A cool feature the game offers is being able to change between a first person and a third person camera at will, which makes the controls feel better in certain situations and the combat a little more tolerable. It yet again reminded me of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim with this functionality.
The Crafting, Building and Skill tree: Every basic action from combat to production and building is split into groups and assigned to skills that are connected and dependent of one another thematically like a skill tree. The further you go up the tree you go the more specific and advanced the skill gets, for example:
Digging -> Mining -> Smelting -> Forging
You can craft items if you have the required ingredients, skills and buildings to do it. Crafting items is used for everything ranging from weapons over food to construction materials, and is pretty much one of the core gameplay elements.
Building and Terraforming are very tangled to one another, with nearly all buildings requiring to have a flat space to build on. The building system uses the gridlike structure of the terrain as a guideline, but you can place and rotate a building without having to stay on the grid. This allows villages and cities look less aligned and blocky and alot more natural.
Now i consider Life is Feudal as an RPG. It has stats, skills, an inventory and given the right server ALOT of roleplaying. And what I like about some RPGs is when there is nothing like a class or a predefined role you have to choose that sets your path right from the start. You can just do and skill anything on the fly depending on what you currently need and you will probably be fine. You can decide to never combat and be a druid or farmer and just do stuff with animals and plants and you will still be able to swing a sword and defend yourself if necessary. But only to a point. Here’s where your “role” gets interesting. There is a limit to how many skills a character can learn. To keep a village intact you will have to rely on other players who are able to fill in the skills you cannot learn anymore. You can always mark a skill you do not want to keep so that your character unlearns it, so there is no need for fear or caution of skilling the wrong stuff or having to plan your character in advance.
Pretty much the biggest aspect that makes this game so special in my opinion is the way its world works. As a singleplayer experience it would be nothing but an empty island with a pretty deep and rich crafting and building system but very vast and empty otherwise. But as the multiplayer focused game it is, and also being intended to be played with as many players as possible – it does its job just right. Every city, kingdom or clan even every thug or thief is the protagonist of his own story. Everything is built and driven by players and this might sometimes cause a war between huge clans and kingdoms, or forge alliances between multiple villages. Let me give you an example of what we experienced:
We have set up a small camp on a spot we agreed to meet on the map after spawning on random locations and just tried to get to know how the game works, when suddenly a squad that came from a nearby village we just learned about. They demanded us to pay them some resources because we were trespassing on their territory. If we refused we probably would’ve been killed. This left us with a choice to make: one of many unscripted conflict situations that can and have arisen from player to player interaction and it was amazing.
In conclusion Life is Feudal has its issues like any other game out there, but the underlying idea and how much of it actually persits underneath the harsh first impression will probably offer you an amazing experience if you are willing to take the chance. I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys a good medieval simulation or to anyone who is intrigued by the thought of a player driven island with conflict and unscripted adventures.
The game, which is available on Steam is currently preparing to be migrated into the Life is Feudal MMO at some point in the future. The MMO will support a bigger ammount of players on one world and is currently in a closed beta testing stage.
Thanks for reading and I highly suggest that you check the game out if you feel like it might be just the right thing for you.