Citadel is, on face value “yet another” sandbox survival game in early access – thankfully this games has a couple of cool ideas that are interesting, unique and wholly amazing, but also gets dragged down in to the early access pit of “needs more time”.
A summary never does a game justice and I always urge you to watch the video for the greatest level of detail. The playtime is shown incorrectly, its closer to 15 hours.
Citadel, at its core has a few components that make it very enjoyable, even in its current state – and that’s the primary notion to convey: The issues with this game aren’t core design problems, they are development time and priority problems, which are currently very much an issue, but not an insurmountable one.
Lets starts with the most enjoyable part to me – building stuff. You might think I’d get sick and tired of building yet another castle, but truthfully with Citadel I’ve never had a dull moment or grindy annoyance. There is something wholly amazing in having a building design that does’t frustrate. It works. The pieces all fit together nicely, there are no annoying bugs and you don’t suddenly fall through the floor if you misclick.
Very much a great system to build your mountain castle. In a cave.
A fast second is the progression system, that uses a combination of solid rewards for gathering, exploring and building combined with combat to provide leveling experience. This translates to points you can spend on your stats (such as damage output) and points you can spend on skills, spells and abilities. You decide where you want your focus to be – Crafting, Animal Taming, Combat spells, Jewelry. This progression allows natural paths and rewards their execution in new flows of XP.
Oh, did I mention there is no Food, Drink, bullshit-time-wasters mechanics? Just raw, enjoyable world and game. That alone gives this game a step up over its competitors.
Now, the bad… Performance. Its…. Very bad. Even on lower settings hitting 60FPS is hard, and that’s running the latest and greatest in hardware. While the game doesn’t crash, having it dip to sub-20 FPS isn’t uncommon and frankly… unplayable.
Also, where the building is great, the combat dips it into horrid. With stilted animations, disconnected attacks, bad telegraphing of attacks and overall weak monster Ai, its probably the part of this game that needs massive work.
That all said, I enjoy it, but as always with early access – don’t buy into what might be, only buy the game for that which it has right now and that’s a choice you need to make yourself. Can you deal with horrid performance, to enjoy great crafting?