Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an open-world action RPG developed by Warhorse Studios and published by Deep Silver. The game takes place in the medieval times in the kingdom of Bohemia and places the player in the role of resident peasant Henry. Together we accompany Henry on his journey as he rises from the ranks and goes on the journey he always wanted but may not have entirely thought through.
Release date: February 13, 2018
Approximate Size: 27.04 GB
Genre: Open World RPG
Developed by: Warhorse Studios
Published by: Deep Silver (Warhorse Studios on PC, Digital)
Reviewed on Xbox One X; also available on PlayStation 4 and PC.
The plot of the game centres around young Henry, a peasant boy who lives a humble life with his mother and father, the resident blacksmith. Henry dreams of adventure longs for a life outside of what he deems mediocrity but feels he is destined to live this away forever. It’s a relatable aspect in this story as many of us dream, hope, for a more fulfilling life. Some of us want more than what we have in life, a broader vision for our future, and this comes across in strides by protagonist Henry. Not only does he mention it but in cutscenes you can see the longing in his eyes and in his mannerisms. The best way to engage the player, to help connect and drive them into the character and story is to make events relatable and realistic. In this regard, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a success.
The story in the game is a great journey from start to finish and not only does Henry grow as a person but so do we as players. We watch as chaos strikes and Henry is taken from what he felt was a mediocre life and tossed into the grand adventure he often dreamt of. That’s the thing about dreams, sometimes we want them so much that we don’t realize it may not actually be what we truly wanted. Sometimes, we are given more than we bargained for. I’m trying to refrain from revealing anything about the story because it’s a good one I think everyone should give a chance to. All you really need to know is that it’s good and so are the side quests.
The game does well in evoking emotions and for pacing things at the required pace. There isn’t an aspect that felt rushed or felt wasn’t fleshed out enough. Tragedies feel sorrowful and impactful, moments of triumph feel earned and are celebrated accordingly, and the journey is worth the path of travel. I really, truly, enjoyed this story and I hope this game is experienced by many.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an RPG but one that doesn’t lock you to a class and one which has your abilities improve the more you use them. Like real life, like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The game utilizes a first-person viewpoint in this sense open world and the player freedom offered is some of the best. Too many games hold your hand when concerning quests or place a marker on the map on where your supposed to go but that isn’t always the case here. The game respects the player’s knowledge and possession of problem solving skills and requires that they use them. This seems to be a growing trend, a return to classic gaming, and it’s one that should have never departed from the community. You are also to be cautious with your actions because, as the third law of motion, there is a consequence of your choices. Your decisions will warp how the world views you and your reputation can change for the better or the worse.
The game also has the most complex clothing mechanic in gaming to date. You have sixteen slots to equip items to your character, offering a wide range of protection you will receive from the world and from enemies. Different items protect against different weapons or conditions and you have to choose the best way to protect yourself without also hindering yourself. What you end up with is strategic planning even with an article of clothing and the game utilizes this to immerse you even more. Over time these clothes will wither, get dirty, become stained, and all of this will affect your interactions with various NPCs in different ways. You also have to be cognizant of how your player is feeling as there are mechanics in the game where being hungry and tired will affect your movement and abilities. Knowing all of this, and to add to the realism and survival aspects, you can’t hoard food and carry them with you where ever you go because they will also spoil, this adds strategy on what to take and when’s the best time to use an item. With degrading armour and weapons that require repair, the game really embraces what an open world realistic RPG should be. Autosave is available but it’s oddly placed but you can save at any time as long as you have a certain alcoholic beverage available.
Combat is more in-depth than most games on the market, or in the genre. Instead of pressing a button that will swing your weapon of choice in a set of attack animations, you have to actually choose how and where the blade will go. You use a button to swing your blade, for example, but you have to use the right stick to dictate it’s travel path. The game tasks you with mixing up your plan of attack to throw the enemy A.I. off balance. This is more difficult than I anticipated because the A.I. in this game is actually done well and provides players with the appropriate challenge. When the game first starts, when your character has no real skill, you are easily dispatched of but overtime as Henry learns and grows more, and you as a player have a better understanding of the mechanics, it becomes fairer. By the end, it’s a game of chess with the smarter fighter winning. There is a modest selection of weaponry ranging from swords to bows and from axes and knives. The game shines with one on one encounters but once it placed you at a disadvantage in terms of numbers, it can become frustrating.
The physics in this game are some of the best I’ve encountered, a high level detail of realism when it comes to combat and reactions. Each weapon has its own weight, it’s own purpose, and it’s own area of effectiveness. Horses, however, suck. I don’t know if I was just spoiled by other games or if they stick out for being so poor since most of the game is great but it’s noticeable. They suck. To make it worse, they are used a lot throughout the game and you are forced to use them with frustration. You’ll find a new appreciation for patience. Other stables from RPGs make their way to this title as well, such as creating medicines and lock picking. The lock picking and pickpocketing in this game, like horses, suck. The game also suffers from glitches, bugs, and weird unexplained phenomena on par with those associated with aliens. I’ve been shot into the sky spontaneously, I’ve been plagued with a disease that prohibits me from walking up stairs, and as comical as they are, they are disappointing as they often require a reload of a save.
Quests can be completed in many ways, there is no straightforward solution and this is great for conversation with other players as we will all encounter different ways to solve the problems before us. Some quests that are considered urgent will move on without you if you don’t head to them in a timely manner thus altering the story and changing the way people see you. Touches like this are very impressive and I think should be added to other titles. Also, the NPCs have their own routines and things to do so they aren’t waiting their entire lives for you to speak to them. You actually have to be proactive and seek them out to move forward. They will also report any crimes you do and this can affect the world around you in many different ways.
Overall the gameplay is fantastic, it’s fun, and I enjoyed it. The first person combat is deep and requires some getting used to but once you get the hang of it, it’s great. There are fast travel points, you are affected by everything around you and everything around is affected by you, and there are many great mechanics new to this genre of gaming. Yes, it’s not perfect and there are a lot of areas that need improvement, such as horses and the various glitches that plague the game. Despite all of this, it’s fun and that’s what counts most, enjoyment.
It’s almost like a broken record when describing the graphical capabilities of video games nowadays because they all seem to continually improve and we’ve been passed beautiful looking games for a while now. This game is no exception. The graphics are clean, nice, and use the broader spectrum of the color palette. What impressed me most with the graphics, what surprised me and caught my attention instantly, was the thickness of the game’s flora. The grass in the game looks more full as it’s spread across its area of land and adds a sense of depth and realism to the world. It’s a little thing that may be unnoticed by some but I couldn’t help but feel impressed at this extra attention of detail.
Character models are detailed and look realistic as well. Graphically impressive games run the risk, at times, of making their characters looking too perfect, too artificial. This game does not have this issue. Nobles radiate wealth in their clothing, posture, speech, and physical characteristics. Likewise, peasants also look as one might imagine they would back in the 1400s. Henry, in particular, looks exactly as how he was meant to be portrayed. The models are detailed, I didn’t run into any reused models, and I enjoyed most of the designs. There are very few characters that stick out for not having the same care to them, it’s so few I wouldn’t mention it, but because one model, in particular, is shown early on and has some importance to Henry, Bianca, they stick out for its less than impressive model.
The effects in the game are very nicely done as well. A lot of it isn’t effects for effects sake but also serve a purpose, particularly when it comes to your appearance. This game utilizes a mechanic that adds to the realism and is a reflection to what goes on in real life. The way you look will directly affect how you are treated. It’s an interesting concept I would like to see implemented in other games. Watching an NPC look at you in disgust because you’re dirty or want to get away from you as soon as possible because you smell furthers that realism. Also, on the other end of the spectrum, seeing NPCs feeling threatened because you have blood on your clothes is equally as satisfying because they squirm to your will. Very nicely done.
The weather effects in the game are fantastic, realistic, and also crafted wonderfully. As the rain descends upon the world, cascading down the world and adding a wet shine to the ground, it helps in making this world feel like a living, breathing, entity. Speaking of the world, the developers have seemed to decide against size in favour of density. I wish more games took their time crafting and filling a smaller area rather than making their maps larger and more empty. Size doesn’t matter, quality and content do. The lighting in the game also deserves special mention as do the weapon designs and the look and feel of them. Cutscenes are directed and paced extraordinarily and the level of detail and care is once again greatly appreciated and impressive. Had to mention them as they never overstay their welcome and are a true joy to witness. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.
The game does well in transporting you back to these medieval times and making this look and feel like a real, breathing, world. Graphically it is fantastic with a few minor hiccups but nothing game breaking or that cannot be addressed over time. The UI can be overly complex and intimidating at first but everything there serves its function without issue. The game needs more optimization and an improvement on the frame rate. You’ll find fewer games that look this good and it’s a throwback to older RPGs.
I really liked the voice acting in this game, Kingdom Come: Deliverance does well in this department in continuing to pull you into this world and push you to forget this is a work of fiction. Characters all speak with accents, phrases long forgotten, and with the intended emotion they were going for. You will encounter those who sound out of place, who sound off, but those are few and far between. Suspension of belief is quite easy in this game and it’s all packaged nicely. The developers also did a nice job of matching characters to their voices, particularly Henry who sounds how he looks. How he should.
Combat also sounds really nice. The difference is obvious when wood hits against wood from when metal clashes with metal. You’d be surprised how easily other games get this wrong or use a generic sound effect for all attack hits. This game goes above and beyond and treats sound like an important pillar to this world. As it should be in all games. The clinging of blades, the sounds of sparks coming from the impact, all of it sounds perfectly implemented and timed. Hand to hand combat sounds different from, say, using a bow and I know this sounds like it should be obvious but too many games get these areas wrong, overlooking these areas. It’s one thing to have satisfying combat that feels good and it’s a whole other thing when the sound is there to add more depth to it and enthral the player more.
Even the sound your character emits can be changed and affected by what you wear. If you wear a heavy metal chest plate or wear chainmail and try to sneak, you hear the heavy clanging of metal urging you to crouch walk with even more caution as opposed to wearing regular clothes. It’s this attention to detail that makes this game something truly special. Add in the subtle mentions and audio cues that your character is hungry or tires and you have a dynamically fulfilling audio system.
Music in this game is handled as one would expect and like most aspects of the game, it’s handled well. Sombre melodies play as you traverse through the world, a light echo of music that doesn’t take the attention away from the player as he travels and discovers more of the world yet relevant enough that its absence would be greatly noted. When you enter into combat, you get those motivating, adrenaline fueling, scores of battle pumping into your ears. It adds that extra layer to the combat and blurs the world around you as you focus on the task at hand.
Overall, as a whole, the sound in the game is remarkable. Voice acting is fantastic, as is the music and sound effects. There are a few questionable voices but not many and they don’t affect the overall enjoyment of the game. Now I haven’t experienced this but some have so I’ll mention it. Some players have had issues with audio levels and syncing but from what I can tell, from what I’ve seen, it’s only prevalent to the master race on PC.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a pretty great game that has a lot that it needs to improve on but everything it offers is great. The world is variant and dense, the character models are detailed with great voice acting, the music is great, and the gameplay is great. The new mechanics of this game are welcomed editions to this genre of gaming and those used in other games are added upon with more depth. The game suffers from a lot of glitches and bugs and there are areas that need to be reworked. Overall it’s a game I enjoyed and recommend.