Life is Feudal: Your Own Early Access Preview
Publisher: Bitbox Ltd.
Developer: Bitbox Ltd.
Chris Purdy writes:
I love the whole idea of Life is Feudal. An open world realistic medieval sandbox with deep crafting, good RPG tropes and planned future MMO elements all rolled into one. Sounds great in theory, but I do wonder if it’s a little bit too ambitious.
I’ve had a chance to go hands on with the Early Access build that’s currently available on Steam, when I say hands on the majority of my time has unfortunately been spent in menus and server lists, either trying to get the game to run at a decent level or just trying to connect to one of the shared worlds. When I did get manage to start my very own Bard’s tale, I quite enjoyed what I found despite numerous technical hiccups.
Lots of systems and features are already in place and up and running. Gathering food and basic crafting items are a must for any new player. Primitive tool making and building construction is also available right now, as are skills trees – enabling you to excel in certain areas of gameplay. So the basics are in, and although well implemented in themselves, the whole interface and control scheme is a bit of a head scratcher, certainly to begin with. To get any sort of comprehension of Life of Feudal, you really do need to put a lot of time and effort into figuring it all out. The current learning curve is far too steep and will put all but the most committed players off; the technical issues will no doubt dissuade people further. So, hopefully a tutorial system or some help will be implemented down the line.
Whilst I’m keeping my fingers crossed that BitBox can manage to sort out a lot of the issues Life is Feudal currently has, for a game that has been in development since 2011, a whole lot of issues clearly remain. Obviously this is often the case with Early Access games but I do think that LiF could do with a clear roadmap of future development and regular planned updates. It’s not a cheap budget game by any means, currently costing £24.99 and confusion about paying more money to transfer your characters to the unreleased MMO element has definitely given me reason to frown. If they can turn it around, I’ve no doubt that LiF will end up being a great game, the question is clearly are BitBox up to the challenge? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see and I do hope so.
The idea of a medieval survival crafting game really appeals to me. I have always found the time period of particular interest and it should suit this emerging genre perfectly. Being able to build your own fortress, craft your own armour and form your own band of merry men is all very alluring. So, imagine my excitement when I finally had the opportunity to try Life is Feudal.
As with many other survival games, your beginnings here are humble. All you have is the bare minimum amount of food and the most basic of clothing; just enough to hide your valuables to avoid any embarrassment. Gathering supplies form the land is all you can do if you have any hopes of surviving. Branches, stones and plant fibre can all be combined to create some makeshift tools so you can harvest more efficiently and more varied components. Essential if the dreams of a formidable fortress is ever to be achieved.
The amount of detail to proceedings is staggering and it can be overwhelming at first, thankfully there is an extensive wiki available for anyone in search of guidance. Right click on any part of the environment and you will be greeted with a dropdown menu of the options available to you. Because of this, harvesting can be an arduous process, especially when you consider it takes too long to search for the elements you require. For those hoping to hop into a server and be constructing anything significant will have their patience extremely tested. Bitbox’s approach to realism is to be applauded but, for the sake of enjoyment, I sincerely hope they speed up the process in the future.
For those with a high level of fortitude your time will be rewarded. After completing any event, whether it’s fishing, mining, fighting, pottery, masonry, hunting, terraforming etc. You will gain experience. Spend enough time dedicated to a particular craft and your attributes will improve making your more proficient in your chosen discipline. It is an interesting concept and certainly encourages the idea of working within a community to the benefit of everyone. For me this is where the heart of the game lies.
My time with Life is Feudal has been interesting and frustrating in equal measure. Server stability has been a major issue. Constant crashes or timeouts can limit progression, as you are unable to move you character to different servers, forcing you to start afresh each time, it is a bitter pill to swallow. Couple this with the painfully slow gameplay and I have my keyboard imprinted on my forehead from repeated self-help sessions. That being said Bitbox are onto something here. The idea of working with friends to build an entire town, contending with your neighbours and hunting the wildlife is an idea I like very much.
With its relatively high price point, £25 is a little too much for an early access title, in my opinion, and with some very trying gameplay and server issues, it is hard to recommend Life is Feudal in its current state. I will be keeping my eye on it though because when it works, it offers something very deep and satisfying.
Developed and Published by Bitbox Ltd
Available Now Via Steam early Access HERE