The Crusader Kings saga has become on its own merits one of the great benchmarks of PC strategy. Crusader Kings III has done nothing but refine its military strategy, political diplomacy, and palace intrigue mechanics to perfection, so it’s great news that it’s now preparing for a console release. Can a game like this run on Xbox Series X|S and PS5? We have already tried it and these are our impressions.
I am very reluctant to play certain genres on console. The most classic role-playing, real-time strategy, management or 4X games are, from my point of view, designed to be enjoyed with a keyboard and mouse in most cases. The scripts or the quick selection of units are usually some of the great advantages of playing on your PC, but in many cases like the one that concerns us today, the problem when making a port It is not given so much for this, and more for facilitating a fast navigation through the menus. This is not the first time that Paradox Interactive has brought some of its most complex works to consoles. See, for example, the work done by Tantalus Media with the remarkable Stellaris: Console Edition, a really complex game to port and that played quite smoothly, but remained one step behind from the original PC experience.
A similar challenge is the one that Lab42 faces, the studio chosen to create a dedicated version of Crusader Kings III for PS5 and Xbox Series, and, after what has been seen after a few hours with this version, they seem to have found the formula. As I already mentioned in my analysis of the PC version of Crusader Kings III, it is a strategy game of medieval setting in which you have to guide an entire lineage of rulers through the ages to gain control of the known world. Some of the key points of its success were its emerging narrative, full of variants and surprises, capable of being integrated into a huge map full of life, or its layers of depth, allowing access to management options never seen before without being a Unaffordable title for newcomers.
Obviously, the elements that set Crusader Kings III apart at launch are there. This console version respects one hundred percent the gist of the original title, so in these impressions I’m going to focus more on exploring how the game feels on Xbox Series X rather than delving into everything it offers.
How to play Crusader Kings III on consoles?
One of the things you do most in Crusader Kings III is navigate through your map. For this console version, movement has been fully concentrated on the left joystick, using the right one to zoom in or out at will. This way in which we move through the immense world of Crusader Kings III is not only fluid, simple, pleasant and very interactive, but also frees the triggers, traditionally used for zoom functions, for other tasks that are very accessible using the top buttons.
Apart from the map, the other great protagonist in Crusader Kings III is its interface. It is through her that the game evolves and I wanted to see how Lab42 had been resolved with this ballot since, even in the PC version, it could be a bit overwhelming, even somewhat invasive. To facilitate navigation, they have been assigned shortcuts to some salient features. In the case of our character sheet, the chosen one has been the Y button. Once inside it, we can easily access submenus and quickly navigate between all the tabs that we have open thanks to the use of the left joystick. Obviously, it is not possible to replicate the fluidity of the PC version, but the truth is that this type of control is very intuitive.
It is interesting that for this console version, when selecting any miniature of a character, the menu of that particular character appears directly, which speeds up a good part of the PC process in a very simple way, being able to quickly switch between different characters for details on these in particular.
As I mentioned, the triggers have been reserved to have direct access to certain facets that make the exploration and organization of all the windows of the game make sense. In this way, pressing the left trigger has concentrated everything that has to do with the character: his lifestyle, beliefs, marriages, etc. For the right, and respecting this alignment on screen, the traits of advice and diplomacy have been concentrated. A good distribution which serves to dissociate the most intimate aspects of our lineage from those that are not.
Browsing through all the sections of the game is done easily from a taskbarIn any case, browsing through all the sections of the game is done in a simple way from a taskbar located at the top of the interface, in which it is easy to move around using the upper buttons as a reference. This association between the distribution of what we see on the screen and its order within the command greatly facilitates a quick understanding of the controls, making this version of consoles much more intuitive than other similar ports.
During games of Crusader Kings III, a huge number of events in progress accumulate. To facilitate access and monitoring of these in the console version, a new feature has been implemented in the form of quick access bar. This allows you to quickly access any ongoing or active process. It is especially useful for seamlessly switching between wars in progress, building construction, or a conspiracy in progress.
Crusader Kings III and accessibility
Another peculiarity of this console version is the presence of some radial menus especially useful to dissociate the map and highlight what we want to see at each moment. Something that I have not been able to test directly in this version of Xbox Series, but that Lab42 confirmed to us that it would be available on PS5 is the use of the adaptive triggers. Stress is a very important factor in Crusader Kings III and, in fact, it is expressed graphically within the game. Thanks to the use of DualSense, as our character stresses the trigger resistance will go up, a really imaginative way to convey that feeling to the player and make the Paradox title even more immersive.
Another of the additions in this console version is the possibility of softening the experience of management of armies. Recall that Crusader Kings III had one of the deepest army micromanagement sections ever seen in a video game. So thinking of those who are scared by the very idea of controlling so many parameters, the option to alternate between manual and automated warfare modes has been added, with the AI controlling our armies around the map in the second variant. However, we can select what kind of attitude we want for them, so we are not going to completely lose control over our units.
In Crusader Kings III it is common to find situations in which we have a lot of open menus. In a practical way we can close them by pressing the B or circle button, the good thing is that if we keep that button pressed for a while all the dropdowns close quickly. something that results very practical, closing everything and opening again what we are looking for directly is an option to take into account during the games. If we don’t want to close menus, but we have to see the map in its entirety, pressing both triggers at the same time allows us to do it without too much hassle, another good solution to a very common situation during games.
Console versions will see increased achievements and trophies from the PC versionOne of the most common problems in the console versions of some games is the Font size of the menus and interface, something that has been worked on for this port, and, although it is not adjustable, it has been specifically adapted to obtain a comfortable experience for the user despite being at a considerable distance from the monitor or TV. Obviously, here it is convenient for each one to draw their own conclusions depending on the size of the screen they have.
In addition to all these adaptations to the control, the console versions will see the achievements and trophies of the PC version increased, reaching approximately sixty. One question that you can surely ask yourself at this time is whether you will be able to play the PC version with a controller, something that is not available at the moment and that the studio does not dare to guarantee, although they do not rule out its possible implementation. Crusader Kings III is coming next March 29 to PS5 and Xbox Series, so if you are a lover of the genre you are in luck.