Crusader Kings: 2.0 Review | You can (Not) Afford | Family Edition™

Hey, hey people. SSeth here. Today, I’ll be covering a game which really tests the limits of my A.D.D. medication. A game where you can grow an empire, watch it prosper, only to stub your toe, die from an infection, and watch your empire dissolve, because you have no idea how inheritance works. Catch cancer. Beat cancer by praying it away. Thanks, God. Spend money, invest into your own people. Lose your money, go heavily into debt. Borrow money from the Jews. Consider paying them back. Keep it instead by expelling the Jews from your country. Don’t feel bad about it. We’ve been expelled so often, you really won’t hurt our feelings if you do it again. Marry your sister. Divorce your sister because she’s too old. Marry her daughter instead. Turn your family tree into a family circle, and watch your dynasty burn to the ground as your children collect every chromosome known to man. Of course, I’m talking about the most prolific, complex and intricate medieval incest simulator on the market today: Crusader Kings 2. Crusader Kings 2 is a game covering nearly 700 years of human history, during which time, we treated each other very, very well. Religious tolerance was at an all-time high, human life was short and painful and the man amputating your leg could probably also trim your beard. In other words: the good old days. But with modern technology, those good old days can be experienced all over again, from the perspective of a single person you pick from the world map, who is then forced to live through your terrible decisions. CK2 falls under the definition of Grand Strategy, which might lead you to believe it’s a strategy game. In truth, Grand Strategy is neither grand nor strategic. You just paint a map with color crayons and then upload your meme image of a Holy Roman Empire onto Reddit for those sick upvotes. Grand Strategy is to strategy, what DOOM is to the field of literature. DOOM is not a very good book. In fact, it’s not a book at all. So don’t feel intimidated. This game is actually just a very simple Excel spreadsheet with a lot of poor UI scaling. But that’s not the point of it. The point is the characters, which behave as uncontrollable agents of chaos that act and react to everything you do, often in the most unpredictable, illogical and insane way possible. In other words, they act exactly like humans. But what is your objective in Crusader Kings 2? Well, the same objective as every human being. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Everything in the world is about sex. Except sex, sex is about power.” Power is what you’re ultimately trying to gain. And in the medieval world, there are only two ways of reaching that power: war and marriage. Essentially, you’re sleeping your way to the top and in the process, you pray you don’t get poisoned, cucked or inbred before your genes can pass on to the next generation. If you fail to preserve your bloodline, your dynasty ends and the game is over. You can’t just pass on your genes, you got to look after them, too. Unless, of course, your seduction skills are so high that every woman in a hundred kilometer radius is already knocked up with your kids, children aren’t exactly the best at staying alive. Your child could be killed during a mass archery incident by some madman armed with an automatic crossbow or simply smothered by his own pillow, by his own mother, holding the pillow. So, much like stocks and investment, I recommend diversifying your assets. Luckily, the same applies to your potential rivals. One of my favorite things in this game is performing late term abortions. Now, infanticide is not something I support. It’s something I recommend. Remember, if you can’t kill your enemies today, you can still destroy them tomorrow. Whether or not your dynasty can survive entropy and uncertainty, will depend on how tactfully you can balance the needs and wants of your realm, which is completely impossible. Your vassals always want more land, your wife always wants more jewelry and your brother always wants more of your wife. Try to satisfy everyone, and you’ll end up satisfying no one. Which is why the secret to a long reign is disposing of everyone who doesn’t like you. After that, you’re safe, secure and absolutely at the mercy of this game’s RNG system. Aside from conscious actions, schemes and intrigue, this game is actually played by hitting the spacebar and letting time flow by. What does time hold in store for you? Surprises. A lot of surprises and you’re gonna hate every single one of ’em. 99% of the gameplay is based on random events. Some are good. Some are bad and you’re completely powerless to stop them. Having a great time? Not anymore. You’ve got the plague. You’ve got syphilis. You’ve got Lover’s Pox from sleeping with your maid. What do you do? Well, the only thing you can do. Put your trust and faith in your doctor and hope for the best. Also, execute your maid for giving you an STI. The doctor manages to cure your plague. A miracle! But the syphilis? That’s gonna be a gift that keeps on giving. Thank your doctor, then execute him for incompetence. Order a new doctor. He’s insane, paranoid and probably a spy from Imperial China, but you know what? He might just be the guy for the job. It turns out he wasn’t the guy for the job and two of your direct heirs are now dead. They found rice grains in their chamber, but no conclusive evidence. Oh well. Anyway, your spymaster informs you that your doctor is trying to murder you. You confront him and make him feel very guilty about it. He agrees to stop trying to murder you. More of your children end up dead. Also, while you were battling a lifelong struggle with STIs, your wife was having an affair… with your other wife. You-you’ve got two actually. God bless being a Muslim. Luckily, lesbianism is no risk to your dynasty. Yes, in Crusader Kings 2, having a homosexual wife is probably the best decision you could possibly make. But it doesn’t save you, because your doctor just saved you from a life of sexually transmitted disease by killing you with a lethal dose of Chinese herbal remedies. So, try hard as you might, all your efforts will eventually come to ruin you’ll get cucked and then you die Quit the game and start again. Ultimately, you’re playing Crusader Kings 2 for the journey, not the outcome and the stories you create in the process are unique to your experience. No game will go quite the same which is why there’s no reason for me to explain mechanics. Instead, let me share some stories! Once, I played as Charlemagne, King of the Franks. After my brother died of entirely “natural causes”, I was left to think on how I would conquer the rest of Europe. However, RNG interrupted my schemes. Just like that, I woke up one day and I was gay. Most unfortunate. However! Fortunately for me, another man of immense power was simultaneously struck with homolust. The Pope. And so I seduced the Pope. Pope Stephanus the Third was an utterly geriatric recluse. But I knew, deep down inside his soul, he was just… Misunderstood. I wrote him a romantic poem, “Roses are red, violets are blue, I like penis and so do you.” My words reached him and had their intended effect inside his heart, and soon, I was inside the Pope. The Church was oblivious to our forbidden love. They had no idea old Stephanus was aching for more than just back pain. Turns out, it was very advantageous to have the Pope as your lover. Any piece of Catholic land I wanted he granted. In exchange for French sausage, I received the entire Christian continent. And that’s the historically accurate account of how Charlemagne took Europe. By taking the Pope’s ass. In another game, I played as the Polish because I enjoy being abused by my enemies and my supposed friends who need more land. How much more land? Well, however much I had. Luckily, the Bubonic plague began to ravage Europe. I lost most of my territory from before, so I didn’t feel too bad about it. My peasants and their livelihood were now somebody else’s problem. Meanwhile, myself and my court went into hiding. The gates were shut, the keys were thrown away, until all of this boils over. However, we had another problem. Food. Or the lack of it. I didn’t really think about that. I assumed every Kingdom in the Middle Ages just had a Tesco Express around the corner. So, we waited. We starved. And then, we found an amazing solution. Why not eat the rest of the court? I mean, they’re not working anyway. So we did just that and it was entirely sustainable, because I kept repeatedly inviting beautiful women to join my court. To be consumed by the court. I’m not proud of what I did, but I did what I had to, which, it turned out, was completely unnecessary. Apparently, Poland was not affected by the Black Plague and I sort of just freaked out and ate a lot of innocent people for… absolutely no reason. Look, I’m not very good at this game. Luckily, such horrific events are unlikely in modern times because of modern health care and sanitation. However, if a plague did have to start somewhere… [Seth] “Would you like to say a few… Kyle, would you like to say a few words about um, uh… Our mold?” [Kyle] “Yes. Stop filming it, that’s what I want to say.” [Seth] “Yeah, but you know, I’m not the one responsible for you guys leaving organic matter for so long that we have fluffy organic matter.” [Kyle] “Well, I was about to get rid of it until you put it on display for the world to see, now lemme-” That would definitely be inside my friend’s apartment. For my last game, I decided to break history and play with custom parameters. I designed it so every country was ruled by teenage girls, aged 14 and over. It was pure chaos. It was a period of intense suffering. Also, I later found out I forgot to turn off Great Conquerors, so, eventually, most of the known world was overrun. By Genghis Khan and her teenage sorority. Luckily, she mostly left me alone. Unfortunately, even if I got a matrilineal marriage, heir succession laws would mean that any child I produce might try and overthrow me. I was screwed, figuratively. But, once again, RNG tossed me a bone. Through intense meditation and satanic rituals, I became immortal. On the other hand, I also became an insane lunatic, and, one day in the style of Caligula, I replaced one of my counselors with a horse. I was infatuated. Yet, I couldn’t marry him. Our legal system was not advanced enough to consider human-horse relations. More importantly, the game didn’t let me. So I used an exploit. I made my horse a bishop and in the process of turning my pony into a priest, he automatically filled an entire kingdom with horses, which somehow could be married. So I married and made love to a horse, producing an entire royal line of children that had no concern for the decadent ways of man. They were pure and majestic. Their only concerns were eating carrots and shitting in the streets. At this point, my queen was like a bakery because she was getting bred. There’s many stories to tell, but you get the general idea. Every game you ever play will start with honest, sincere intentions, which will, inevitably, be corrupted and reduced to the most depraved and malicious acts you could ever conceive. But, hey. It’s fun. Of course, no game like Crusader Kings 2 is complete without multiplayer and friends. Which always ends with everyone sleeping with your wife. This happens so often that I sleep with everyone else’s wife, just in case. [Guy 1] “So, it looks like Seth has fucked every man’s wife at the moment.” [Guy 2] “Yeah.” [Guy 3] “He’s fuckin’ 3 men’s wives.” [Guy 1] “That’s because there’s only three men available in this fucking country.” Multiplayer is great. Some of the best shenanigans take place in multiplayer and luckily only the host has to have the 3 billion DLC packs necessary to make this game playable. The base game, much like a woman in her mid-40s, is a bit barren. You really need the DLC to add some basic features that should have been in the base game. I think CK2 is a wonderful game, but it’s also a game published by Paradox. Which is why even though I love it, I can’t recommend it, because the whole damn thing cost around anything from 120 to 200 dollars. With that same amount of money, you can satisfy your daily caloric intake for 17 to 28 days on nothing but Dollar Menu cheeseburgers from McDonald’s, one of the most basic and essential components to human life. But, if you’ve got the money to spare, go for it or just marry someone rich. Most people do it for a visa. You can do it for video games. Alternatively, there are ways to obtain the DLC. Southeast London. Hole in the wall. Take the USB stick and don’t look back. If you do, run. If you hesitate, I’m not responsible, and I don’t know you. Good luck. And if you’re not fully satisfied, don’t worry. There’s an entire modding community out there to fix all your issues, and it’s not too difficult to mod the game yourself. In my case, I was getting PTSD from all the death sounds, which play each time a family member bites the dust, which, well, have a listen for yourself. *bubbly death sound* *sound of man rammed with hard pole* *muffled sound of girl getting destroyed by a large object* I think you’d agree these are a little bit unnerving. So I replaced every death sound with a bass boosted sound clip of Lego Yoda. [Lego Yoda] “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR” “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR” Now, this is much more soothing to the ears, I don’t even mind when people die now, it sounds great! [Lego Yoda] “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-” Final score. I hope you enjoyed reading this essay as much as I enjoyed writing it. After playing this game for so long, I finally figured out its purpose. The primary goal of Crusader Kings 2 and perhaps life itself isn’t about living a good or bad life. It’s about living an interesting life and inevitably to die an interesting death, so you can loudly proclaim on your death bed, “Thank God, I didn’t waste it all on a boring life.” Once you’re dead and buried, you won’t just be a footnote in history. You’ll be an interesting footnote in history. Take and do whatever you please in this life, because eventually it ends. And life can take anything and everything away from you. Except your stories, so better make them interesting, because we’re all heading towards the same destination. 7 out of 10. I enjoyed it. I think it’s very interesting. However, I’m always filled with regret and a constant state of what-ifs. What if I just spent all that money on cheeseburgers? Would I be happier? I don’t know. I guess it would depend on whether the burgers were fresh, or just the hot stale garbage they leave for a couple of hours. As always more content to come, so stay tuned. A warm thanks to the many members of The Merchant’s Guild©®™ generously funding and bankrolling these videos. You’re all truly wonderful. Have a good one. *CBT: The Musical*


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