As a child, I improved rudementery reading skills with classic RPGs like Dragon Warrior 3, Shining Force, and Fire Emblem. These games were amazing, because in adition to cementing a sense of justice in a 5 year old, they presented a memorable plot, different forms of character development (DW3 with the personalities, where the personality determined stat increases, and was determined by initial stats. Shining Force with the stories told by your squadmates in the various bases found over the 8 chapters, as well as themes of amnesia. Fire Emblem for being, well, Fire Emblem.) None of that is in this game. Which makes it perfect.
"Why would you tell that story to point out what it doesn't have?"
Simple: Kenshi has everything else that made those games personally iconic. From Dragon Warrior 3, you have each squad member being completely unique from creation, with nearly endless possibilities for customization, with an open world. From Fire Emblem, you have that strategic element, same with Shining Force. But with no 'level' or 'class' system, there are no restraints. I'll admit, I plan after writing this to re-create Shining Force in game, by creating each of the characters in order of appearance. That'll be fun!
But it doesn't stop there. The combat is fluid, and the AI is great. Giving each limb, and core parts it's own hit points, and changing gameplay according to damage (and changing DAMAGE based on how you choose to heal it) is something more in-depth than most heavy LARP systems I've seen. You can build a base and be a group of peaceful farmers/traders (not that you need to eat). You can start a war with one faction (though I wouldn't reccomend it... ever), or become a group of mercenaries. The sandbox element is strong in this game.
While the game is still in alpha, the groundwork has been set for so much more than is already released (as a player, I'd be fine if I had to deal with what i've got.) The few bugs that are in the game are minute and are easily bypassed with frequent quicksaves and game imports. The dev, while a little slow in getting the game out, is very careful to minimize bugs. A perfectionist, if you will.
And this brings me back to that 5 year old playing those games for the first time, because while I can't play through those stories again, every click is another element that goes into a script playing in my head. While the characters may not interract on screen, they can be in the player's mind. As an adult, I've been a DM for a few years now, but Kenshi gives even more creative freedom to the player, which is the ultimate goal of an RPG. The only thing you can't do multiplayer, and i'm sure that by the time it gets to full release, it will have addressed that.
This game can only be catagorised as a Sandbox/RPG/RTS/Simulation/Open World/Base Building Awesomeness. This is better than most games released today, and for the price, you'd be a fool NOT to pick it up. The true brilliance of this game is that there is a start point, but it is infinite. The end is wherever you choose to stop.