Kenshi – Preview


In buildings you construct you can then place different crafting stations or storage crates. Some crafting stations call for building larger buildings, while other crafting stations may be built outside.

The Town building aspect is fun. You have a lot of freedom with placing your different buildings and stations, but if you were expecting something akin to Banished, Settlers, etc. you may be a bit disappointed.

What you will not find in this game:

1) Private Households – Your people do not need their own beds. You could have a single bed for your entire town.

2) Food and Water – Food is a trade good, as is Water. You do not have to make rum or bread to keep your people happy, because they do not have to eat or drink. Just like in the case of the bed, your people have no special needs (yet).

3) Your people cannot be unhappy – If you are worried about a Dwarf Fortress style rage spiral, not gonna happen. Your people will be just as happy as before, even if you did not feed them for months, they had no beds, and all their limbs were broken.

4) It will not be realistic – You turn stone into building materials, which then can be used to build giant metallic engines to smelt ore in (among many other oddities). You won’t have to look for generator pieces, or fuel, to have power. No need for cables to connect crafting stations to the generator, no power or water grid. You can build a wheat farm in the middle of a desert, if you so wish it. A well can be built anywhere and it will always grant water.

The entire city building aspect that similar games might have, of maintaining a healthy community, focusing on taxes, etc. is not present in Kenshi. When I think of what Kenshi is like it’s closer to a top-down DayZ. In the sense that, you are a rag-tag bunch of survivors, trying to build a safe place for yourself, except you do not have to drink, or eat, and you can grow plants without any issue on sand. It’s not a hardcore or difficult city building game. But it certainly likes to drag itself… a lot.

What I mean by that is not the building, or the resource gathering. That is relatively easy and quick, especially when your characters become steadily more skilled in different tasks. The largest issue I had was with research. Research benches are the one of two ways to unlock new buildings, crafting stations and goods. But research is SLOW. To make matters worse, since you will not have a skilled researcher at the start it will be even SLOWER. So, research allowing you to, let us say, create a new research bench takes 22 hours. If you have an unskilled researcher the research time will be extended by 25%. So, instead of waiting 22 hours you will be waiting about 28 hours. Even if you have the highest speed setting turned on you will be waiting a long while. My recent successful playthrough has shown that after a few hours of constant gameplay my progress has been painfully slow. You can speed up research by buying blueprints from cities, but I found myself in a place where all the cities with such blueprints are far away. So, what I ended up doing often is preparing the research queue, turning the game on to max speed, and then leaving my computer to attend to other things, remembering to give my other characters something to do, such as mining.


When starting the game you can modify the looks of your main character. During the game itself you can find NPCs who can perform plastic surgery, thus allowing you to modify the appearance of any of you followers, for a fee.

While I found it fun to build my own Town you need an awful lot of patience and a bit of planning, but in its current state you will not have a problem with building a suitable home for your people… especially since they do not really need a home… just a bunch of buildings with crafting stations.

There do not appear to be any quests, and dialogues are very limited. However, when I was building my town I was randomly approached by bandits who demanded money, or they would invade us. It certainly added something new to the “just building” aspect of the game. Sadly, after I dealt with those bandits nothing seemed to happen after that. Again, it might be a question of location, but when I look at other games like Dwarf Fortress or Spacebase DF-9 threats continue to appear, or there are pleasant and useful events. In Kenshi I did not have that feeling just yet. I was simply building a town for a bunch of zombies who never tire, hunger and look a tiny bit clone-like (you can modify the looks of your minions extensively, I just could not be bothered myself).

I did not have the chance to play Solo for too long. I found the Town building to be the most alluring. Since the world is vast you could have the opportunity to explore it, invade different camps, maybe towns. I just could not get around to it, because researching the technology to make advanced weapons and armor takes an awful lot of time. Some shops might be selling quality weapons and armor, to speed up the process, but… location, location, location. Sure, I could send a merchant to sell some goods and then purchase a few blueprints to then bring them back to the town (in my case, the distance was too large and the merchant might had been killed/robbed), or I could open a shop of my own for traders to come in, but for now it feels like a terrible hassle, with insufficient results.

Yay or Nay?

Kenshi certainly looks and feels interesting. The combat system feels original, because the vast majority of video games have much more simplified health systems, or even the combat itself looks like a 1 vs 1, rather than proper fights. If you outnumber the enemy you can feel it, because your men will surround singular enemies and attempt to strike at them at the same time. In comparison, the Total War series does not allow your soldiers to overwhelm the enemy quickly, because at all times the soldiers seems to fight 1 vs 1 duels with the enemy (this especially applies to newer Total War titles).


Sometimes when you lose a battle the bandits might capture you… to eat you. It helps to have a few levels in lockpicking during times like this, or to have a well equipped rescue party on the way.

It’s still too early to tell how will the other areas of the game shape up, but if you are interested in seeing the game before you play it there are numerous gameplay videos on Youtube, all of which will be able to show you, in a bit more detail, how Kenshi plays out.

One thing is for certain, Kenshi has the potential to turn out to be a great game. It has a vast world, it has the right ideas, and I do hope a bit more complexity will be added to the town-managment aspect, politics or just questing aspects of the game.

Overall I would say it is a good game and it will keep you busy for a couple of hours, with its town building, mini-random events and a feeling of “expansion” from a small hamlet to a sizeable base. But like I said before it has the rough skeleton and now needs all the muscle and tissue to walk and live on its own. I hope we will have a chance to see all of that in the coming months. Check out Kenshi’s official site for more information. If you are interested in the factions, items and buildings in the game check out the Kenshi Wiki.

Alex “WriterX” Bielski


About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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