June 13, 2024

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Crusader Kings 3 Xbox Series X Preview: Controlling The Kingdom

Screen Rant had the chance to preview the Xbox Series X/S version of Crusader Kings 3, which has a whole new control scheme based on a controller.

Crusader Kings 3 is coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X/S in March, and Screen Rant had the chance to preview a near-complete build of the game. The console version of Crusader Kings 3 has the unenviable task of adapting a PC grand strategy game to a controller/TV format, but the developers have done a great job adapting the functions of the game to a controller, with minimal adjustment needed when coming over from mouse and keyboard.

Crusader Kings 3 is a grand strategy game that is set in the Middle Ages. Unlike other strategy games, where the player is the unnamed leader of a faction, Crusader Kings 3 puts the leader in the spotlight. The player takes on the role of a feudal lord or lady, whose individual traits determine their strength as a leader. The goal of the game is to create a dynasty that will survive the ages, which means that crafting a strong lineage and forming advantageous marriage pacts are key. It’s possible to conquer neighboring factions through military force, but subterfuge, gold, and the power of faith can also bring victory.

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As a PC game, Crusader Kings 3 is controlled by a mouse or laptop touchpad, with keyboard shortcuts. Screen Rant had the chance to try out the Xbox Series X version of Crusader Kings 3where all of the controls are mapped to the Xbox controller. Crusader Kings 3 on consoles has an expanded tutorial that goes over the control scheme, before moving into the general tutorial for the gameplay. Prepare for the long haul for this tutorial, as Crusader Kings 3 is a deep game with a lot of interlocking systems, and learning the controls is just the first step in a much larger journey. The content of the game is the same as the PC version, with all of the changes being technical ones to fit the console format.



Crusader Kings 3 Character Radial Menu Consoles

The player uses the joystick or d-pad to move around the map in Crusader Kings 3 on consoles, with the player able to use L3 to bring up a dedicated cursor, which can be used to highlight important words in the text, such as ones that describe game functions. The B button dismisses any active menus and takes the player back to the map. The trigger buttons can be used to cycle through helpful menus, such as bringing up the council or intrigue menu. Holding the left trigger brings up a radial menu (similar to the ones used in games like Divinity: Original Sin 2), which has options that are often dealt with by the ruler. Holding the right trigger brings up a radial menu for the map, allowing the player to quickly see terrain arranged in different types, such as breaking it down into specific duchies. The View button on the Xbox controller pauses the game and pressing it with the L/R buttons will slow/speed up time. Pressing the Y button brings up the character menu and A/X selects different parts of the map, depending on what the cursor is on.


There’s definitely an adjustment period when coming to the console version of Crusader Kings 3 from PC. The controls will never be as swift as using mouse and keyboard, but the controller setup never felt cumbersome, or as if it was unnecessarily slowing the game down. The console version of Crusader Kings 3 plays great and the functions of the game work well with a controller. The Xbox Series X version of Crusader Kings 3 has almost no load times, with even a fresh game only taking a few seconds to boot up. This version of the game also benefits from the Quick Resume feature, allowing players to switch between games and still keep their position.



Crusader Kings 3 Ivar the Bloodless Campaign Map

The only concern with the console version of Crusader Kings 3 is text size. Crusader Kings 3 is a text/number-heavy game and there is a lot to keep track of at all times. The console version of Crusader Kings 3 doesn’t have any larger text size option or magnification options at present, so those with sight issues may struggle to follow what’s going on on certain screens. Hopefully, this is something that will be addressed in a future update.

At its core, Crusader Kings 3 is a management game. Think Football Manager with swords and serfs. It’s all about cycling through menus, which is why the console port works so well, as the action can be paused at any time when decisions need to be made. The developers of Crusader Kings 3 clearly put a lot of work into making the controller experience as comfortable as possible, and once the player comes to grips with the buttons and shortcuts, they’ll be invading their neighbor’s castle in no time.


Next: Fire Emblem Three Houses Mod Created For Crusader Kings 3

Crusader Kings 3 will launch on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S on March 29, 2022. Screen Rant was provided with a digital code for the Xbox Series X/S version of the game for the purposes of this preview.

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