Survival games and RPGs alike have largely neglected the West -- the Wild West, that is. There aren't all that many games that try to make the most out of this setting compared to others. Wild West Dynasty is one of many emerging entries that seeks to change that with its interesting mix of gameplay mechanics.
Wild West Dynasty is a successor of sorts to Medieval Dynasty, although I hesitate to call it a sequel. Everything I've seen of the game tells me that it will grow into "Medieval Dynasty, but in the wild west." The foundation is there and it has a winning formula to follow, but a lot more work still needs to be done.
Go West, Young Man
Wild West Dynasty begins, rather appropriately, with a classic trope of Westerns -- a Wagon is attacked by bandits. Unfortunately, you're on the Wagon that gets attacked and your mother is sitting right next to you.
You and your mother put up a valiant fight in a colorful, narrated cutscene, but you're simply outmatched. You've lost everything, you're both hurt pretty badly, and you're nowhere near civilization. This is where the game actually begins.
Wild West Dynasty quite clearly follows the Medieval Dynasty formula, and that's a good thing -- it will eventually let you play with a unique mix of RPG, survival, and city-building mechanics.
The first immediate hurdle to overcome is building a campfire so that you don't freeze to death in the cave where you've taken shelter. After some rest, you'll have to head down to a small farm nearby and get some help. The gruff farmer heals you, feeds you, and teaches you the basics you need to know for survival. You'll help him out, too, by completing some chores around his farm.
This opening sequence barely takes twenty to thirty minutes and serves as an effective tutorial. You're then ordered to move across the plains to the town of Taxation. Complete but one more quest on arrival and you're let loose on the world with the ability to take on quests, build a home, or do whatever else you'd like to -- within the limits of the current Early Access version.
A Dynasty of Dynasties
Wild West Dynasty quite clearly follows the Medieval Dynasty formula, and that's a good thing -- it will eventually let you play with a unique mix of RPG, survival, and city-building mechanics. There are multiple questlines to explore, yes, but the real meat of the game lies in building a home, growing that home into a town, and then eventually getting married and having a successor.
I've spent a fair amount of time in Medieval Dynasty and I'm fond of its gameplay. Although the core experience is ostensibly the same -- survive, build a town, complete quests, have kids of your own -- a change in setting and a new story can make it feel like a fresh spin on what would otherwise be a very similar game.
That comfortable familiarity is exactly what I found with Wild West Dynasty, at least at first. A main questline filled with hints of mystery, intrigue, and betrayal. Worrying about day-to-day survival. Chopping down trees, building a house, and graduating from staying alive to thriving.
Sadly, the fun doesn't last forever. As with all Early Access games, you'll eventually hit a wall where you run out of things to do. In Wild West Dynasty, that wall comes up on you shockingly fast.
A Rough Ride
A sad fact of the Early Access formula is that people will buy an Early Access game and expect a robust, complete experience. Others will have the sense to recognize that an Early Access game is a work in progress. For the most part, I think it's understood that an Early Access game won't have all of the features implemented and that it may be a bit light on content.
That's not to say that there shouldn't be some level of expectations. You should at least be able to enjoy a "rough outline" of the game. A shooter, for example, should give you at least two or three guns to play with and a few enemies to kill.
Sadly, the Early Access launch version of Wild West Dynasty falls short in more ways than one. Medieval Dynasty's quests were never particularly complex, but they at least required you to solve mysteries, deliver resources, or kill certain enemies. Wild West Dynasty's quests, in comparison, are less complex and much less challenging in their current form. They effectively boil down to running between towns and talking to people.
A lot of work still needs to be done before Wild West Dynasty can live up to its predecessor Medieval Dynasty.
The survival mechanics, too, are underdeveloped. Farming is clearly planned but not yet implemented. The sun sets and rises, but the seasons do not change. Enemy A.I. is barebones at best -- a charging buffalo will run comical circles around you like a cartoon character once it gets too close.
The most disappointing omission, however, is a near-total lack of functionality in the city-building portion of the game. You can build a house and even move people in, but none of the core city-building systems (such as keeping your villagers fed and putting them to work) are anywhere near a proper level of functionality.
Wild West Dynasty Preview - Final Thoughts
Suffice it to say, Wild West Dynasty is barely in a playable state. A lot of work still needs to be done before it can live up to the great gameplay of Medieval Dynasty.
Unfinished features and placeholder assets should be expected in an Early Access game. The parts of the game that are functional, however, feel more like demonstrations of a game concept rather than a game itself. You can, at most, run through a handful of very simple quests, build a house for yourself, and explore a wilderness largely devoid of anything useful or interesting.
Wild West Dynasty does not yet deliver anything close to the great gameplay we got from Medieval Dynasty. It needs a few more updates before it will be a good value that's worth your time -- you should wait to buy Wild West Dynasty until it properly implements a few more of the features that made its predecessor great.
TechRaptor previewed Wild West Dynasty on PC via Steam using a copy provided by the publisher.