Crusader Kings 3 Review Roundup

Critics commend Crusader Kings 3 highly for its expansive world building, excellent strategy components, and immersive RPG elements.

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Crusader Kings 3, Paradox Interactive's newest addition to its medieval strategy RPG series, is out September 1. Ahead of the launch, we've rounded up a selection of reviews to help you decide if Crusader Kings 3 is worth it.

Critics generally praised Crusader Kings 3 highly. It has everything that players loved Crusader Kings 2 for: an imaginative and expansive strategy component, coupled with an in-depth and compelling RPG element.

David Wildgoose, in GameSpot's Crusader Kings 3 review, gave the game a high score of 8/10. Wildgoose stated, "[T]he singular vision of Crusader Kings 3 [is] a grand strategy game that successfully operates across a bewildering scale, feeling vast and unknowable one moment yet awkwardly intimate the next. It's a marvel of connectivity, effectively linking together complementary elements plucked from different genres--the role-playing game, the visual novel, the life simulation, the city-builder, the wargame--even if at times you can sense it straining at the seams."

  • Game: Crusader Kings 3
  • Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
  • Developer: Paradox Interactive
  • Release date: September 1
  • Price: $50

GameSpot -- 8/10

"In a sense, Crusader Kings 3 is all over the place. It doesn't always work perfectly, and at times it really makes you work for it, but there's something amazing in that any of it works at all. Strategy games can tell interesting stories as their empires rise and fall, but their procedural narratives are rarely as affecting and poignant as they are here." - David Wildgoose [Full Review]

IGN -- 10/10

"Crusader Kings 3 is a superb strategy game, a great RPG, and a master class in how to take the best parts of existing systems and make them deeper and better. I have thousands of hours in the previous game, and I expect to spend at least that many in this third installment. All of the engrossingly flawed characters and stories of love, war, triumph, and loss that have already dynamically emerged from my playthroughs feel like just the beginning of something legendary. In fact, if I had to pick only one game to play for the rest of my life, the decision wouldn’t be that difficult. A new king of historical strategy has been crowned. Long live the king." - T.J. Hafer [Full Review]

Kotaku -- Unscored

"Crusader Kings III is an immense game, but also an immense achievement. There’s really nothing else quite like it. It’s a strategy game, and a good one at that, and like I’ve said if you only want to raise armies and conquer the world, this will let you do that and you’ll have a good time with it. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a strategy game with the lifeblood of an RPG coursing through its veins, and a character system that lets you truly live in the time rather than just look down on it from above." - Luke Plunkett [Full Review]

PC Gamer -- 94/100

"Crusader Kings 3 is always in motion, always jumping to new stories, so it never lets you get too settled. But it also never ventures far out of its comfort zone. Paradox hasn't taken it in a different direction or made changes that will elicit any gasps. The stuff that made Crusader Kings 2 so enduring has been pushed to the front even more, while some of the bloat that accumulated over the better part of a decade has been chipped away. It's a very sensible sequel. I know, I know—'sensible' is not the most encouraging of words. Let me reassure you, then, that Crusader Kings 3 is incredible. It's an irrepressible story engine that spits out a constant stream of compelling alt-histories, delightfully infuriating characters and social puzzles that I've become obsessed with unravelling." - Fraser Brown [Full Review]

Rock Paper Shotgun -- Unscored

"I like [Crusader Kings 3] a lot. I think there are some awkwardnesses still to be ironed out, but they’re offset by a strong suite of new ideas. I saw what might have resolved into the edges of CK3’s potential a little earlier than I wanted to, in a game of such colossal scope. But I also saw a much stronger starting point for growth than CK2 represented in 2012. It’s less overwrought than its predecessor, and certainly less mentally draining to play. But this felt more like the result of smart design choices than oversimplification. Tonally, it’s in just the same, marvellously dark spot. All in all, and as boring as it is to say, I think Crusader Kings 3 is a lot like Crusader Kings 2, but newer and tidier. And I’m very content with that indeed." - Nate Crowley [Full Review]

Twinfinite -- 5/5

"Not only Crusader Kings 3 is one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played, but it’s also one of the best world simulators I can think of. It’s basically the Sims without the gibberish and with swords, on a much, much grander scale. Ultimately, the only really large issue I can identify in Paradox’s latest game is that it’s the supreme emperor of the “one more turn” syndrome (even if it doesn’t really have turns). If there is one title that has the potential to absolutely trash your sleeping schedule, it’s Crusader Kings 3." - Giuseppe Nelva [Full Review]

Vice -- Unscored

"Crusader Kings III is massively, powerfully alive. You can almost feel it pulsing when you play it. Often, deep into the third, fourth, fifth hour of play, I'd realize I wasn't so much playing it as watching it develop. The streamlining of its user experience and the accessibility of the wealth of information it collates for each and every citizen of it's stunning rendering of Europe, continental Asia and northern Africa has not just made this a game that's legible to more kinds of players; it has opened up new dimensions in its sense of character." - Gita Jackson [Full Review]

VG247 -- 5/5

"Crusader Kings 3 is just as bonkers, unpredictable and enthralling as its predecessor. Random encounters have increased and you’re often faced with dilemmas, some straightforward choices and, on occasion, a simple notification that you’ve done something unexpected, like the aforementioned stabbing." - Lauren Aitken [Full Review]

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