Life is Feudal: Your Own Review

Written by Rick Lane

December 11, 2015 | 13:05

Tags: #dayz #minecraft #survival-games

Companies: #bitbox-ltd

Life is Feudal: Your Own Review Life is Feudal Review

Life is Feudal: Your Own Review

Price: £24.99
Developer: Bitbox
Publisher: Bitbox
Platform: PC

I'll say this for Life is Feudal, it successfully recreates the atmosphere of daily medieval life, in that it is a monotonous, horrendously repetitive grind occasionally interrupted by abrupt and heartbreaking death. It's a sandbox survival and crafting pseudo-MMO influenced by the likes of DayZ and Minecraft, with ambitions of recreating the warring kingdoms and pastoral societies of Europe in the 1200s. Unfortunately, it suffers from atrocious performance, a lean if affable community and straight-up badly designed systems.

You begin a game by joining one of several servers that support up to 64 players, before creating a character to play as. You attribute points to various general and combat-based skills, none of which you'll fully understand the purpose of, and then spawn at a random location on a large, rugged island.

Life is Feudal: Your Own Review Life is Feudal Review

The goal of Life is Feudal is whatever you decide it to be, but the game encourages you to join one of the various player-created communities who have "claimed" large chunks of land on the map, else you'll be classed as a bandit and forced to live on unclaimed land. The problem with this is the island is huge, while the number of players on each server is limited to a maximum of 64. This means "Kingdoms" tend to be tiny, comprising 7 or 8 people at most. Moreover, because the map only shows the basic topography of the world, finding one of these communities can be difficult. The limited player numbers also affects the broader feel of the game, but we'll come back to that.

The more immediate experience of Life is Feudal is figuring out what exactly you can do or, to be more precise, what you can't do and won't be able to do for a very long time. Initially, the game is a bamboozling array of controls, interfaces, hotkeys, skills, and actions. There is a tutorial of sorts that pops up dynamically depending on what it is you're doing. But it's so abysmally slow to load that it's actually more of a hindrance than a help. You're better off seeking out the user-created guides on Steam or elsewhere online.

Life is Feudal: Your Own Review Life is Feudal Review

Basically, the ability to perform any task in Life is Feudal depends on a relevant skills or that skill's level. Each skill, such as Terraforming, has 90 levels to it, and every 30 levels it unlocks new abilities. What's more, all skills exist in an interconnected web, and many skills require a prerequisite in what is considered a more basic skill before it is unlocked. So construction, the ability to, you know, build things, first requires you to unlock the Materials Preparations skill, which in turn requires a Terraforming Skill of 60.

In short, it takes absolutely bloody ages before you can do anything even remotely interesting. It took me three hours to construct the most basic edifice in the game, the Tiny Shack. Before you can build any structure in Life is Feudal, you must first ensure the ground is flat and clear. This means chopping down any trees, removing the stumps, and then transferring soil between individual tiles of geometry to ensure the entire building space is numerically even. Before you can do this, however, you need to craft a shovel to do the digging and have a Terraforming skill of 30 in order to get the "Flatten Ground" ability. So you have to spend a half hour or so digging a hole for the sake of digging a hole. I don't know what you imagined you'd be doing in videogames in 2015, but for me this certainly wasn't it.
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