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Embracing Craftsmanship: Five Video Games with Remarkably Realistic Crafting Systems

16 Jan 2024

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In the vast universe of video gaming, crafting systems often serve as a cornerstone for player engagement, fostering a sense of accomplishment and depth in gameplay. While many titles utilize crafting as a mere inventory puzzle, a select few have elevated the mechanic to an art form, offering experiences that are both realistic and captivating. These games aren't just about synthesizing items from materials; they're about immersing players into the intricacies of creation, where every decision and action can have tangible consequences. Let's delve into five games that have meticulously crafted their crafting systems to deliver authenticity and enjoyment to the art of in-game craftsmanship.

1. Kingdom Come: Deliverance – A Blend of History and Hands-On Alchemy

Kingdom Come game logo

Delivering a slice of medieval life, Kingdom Come: Deliverance invites players to step into a world where attention to detail reigns supreme. The game's alchemy system is a testament to this, offering a first-person, real-time crafting experience that requires not only the right ingredients but also the correct timing and order. Before you can even begin, you must teach your character to read to decipher the ancient recipes. Once you're ready to brew, you'll find yourself following an authentic process, with the option to eventually automate the procedure as your skills improve, allowing for a balance between realism and playability.

2. Neo Scavenger – Crafting in a World Where Every Item Tells a Story

Don't let the sprite graphics of NEO Scavenger fool you; its crafting system is a deep dive into a post-apocalyptic world where improvisation is key. This game remembers the properties of each item, offering a multitude of ways to create and repurpose objects. Crafting is a thoughtful process here, where time is a resource and player skills dictate the complexity of the items you can assemble. It's a game that challenges you to think about the materials at hand and the multiple uses they can offer for your survival.

3. The Forest / Sons Of The Forest – Crafting Immersion in a Survival Context

Sons Of The Forest logotype

In The Forest and its sequel, Sons of the Forest, crafting is a tangible, almost visceral experience. Instead of navigating menus, players interact directly with the physical world around them, laying out materials on a tarp and manually combining them to create tools and weapons. This hands-on approach extends to building structures, where every log and panel must be hand-carried and placed, blurring the line between virtual craftsmanship and tangible effort in a way that keeps you grounded in the game's harrowing world.

4. Vintage Story – Crafting with Precision and Patience

Upon first glance, Vintage Story may resemble its blocky predecessor, but its crafting system is a unique beast. Here, players carve tools and shape the world around them bit by bit. The game subverts the conventional crafting grid by allowing players to chisel out tools from raw materials, bringing a sense of detail and craftsmanship rarely seen in voxel-based games. While menus are still present, they serve as guides to more intricate processes such as smelting and cooking, offering a more grounded and engaging crafting experience.

5. Green Hell – A Crafting System That Demands Your Full Attention

Green Hell game logo

Green Hell does more than just simulate survival; it demands mastery over every crafted item through its multi-stage crafting system. Every action, from lighting a fire to preparing food, is a mini-adventure of its own. With slick animations and real-time interactions, crafting becomes a series of mini-games that retain your focus and enhance the realism of your struggle against the wilderness. It's not just a mechanic; it's an essential and engaging part of your journey.

The art of crafting in video games has come a long way from its humble beginnings. These five games represent the pinnacle of realistic and engrossing crafting systems that go beyond simple item synthesis. They challenge you to engage with the materials and the environment, to learn and improve your skills, and to feel the weight of every crafted item in your virtual hands. Whether you're brewing potions, carving tools, building shelters, or surviving in the jungle, these games offer an unparalleled sense of accomplishment through their crafting mechanics. As the industry continues to evolve, let's hope more developers take inspiration from these titles and continue to innovate, making crafting not just a part of gameplay but a compelling experience in its own right.