This review has been some time to come. I have been playing Kingdom Come Deliverance since day one but never felt that I was qualified to write about it until today.
If you haven’t made the plunge and bought Kingdom Come Deliverance yet then please read this review knowing that I really like the game. Of course, I want to talk about its faults and flaws but I want to be clear, I think this is a good game.
The story begins and my first question, why does Henry have a West Country accent while his mother sounds like she could read the news and his father is from somewhere up north. I guessed that maybe everyone had the same accent as Henry and maybe his mother and father met and moved into the area.
One of my first jobs is to go to town and gather a few items for my father, it was there I realized that whoever made this game with English speaking characters had no idea we have different accents, there were Americans, Canadians and all manner of other accents that immediately ruined the immersion for me and also made me worry that perhaps if the developers can overlook something as simple as making everyone have the right accent then perhaps they had been as lapse with other aspects of the game. Luckily this was not true unless you count bug smashing.
Kingdom Come Deliverance began development in 2009 and I think you can see the efforts that have gone into it. This is a HUGE RPG, I cannot think of another game that is as detailed as this. I actually cannot think of another game set in the 15th Century off the top of my head but this game feels like I could actually be in the 15th century, I think the developers, Warhorse Studios may have been a little obsessed with the era and getting things right, in fact, there was an amount of controversy over the lack of ethnic diversity in the game. The studios lead, Daniel Vavara, simply refused to bow down to the pressure and was quite right in claiming that there would have been no ethnic diversity in this region at this time, women would have had a very specific gender role and there were no SJWs or Transphobic White Male Patriarchs or something. I don’t know, I might have become a little carried away but the point is, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is about as close as any of us will get to being in the 15th Century and I agree 100% with Daniel, historical accuracy should take the place over someone feeling offended.
Now as I have said, I like this game but it is so brutally difficult that I also hate it. Most games made today cater to the lowest common denominator, or, the idiots amongst us that cannot play skilful games and would pour hate on anything that didn’t give everyone a gold badge for taking part.
That said, I am not sure having zero help on hand is the right way to go about things either. In the opening scenes, you are asked to do a few chores for your father, one is to collect a debt, this sees you in a fist fight. The thing is, you are told how to do this in a way that reminds me of getting instructions from an irritated 15-year-old girl busy texting “yeah just move that and pressed that or whatever”. Suffice to say, I had my arse handed to me and I never really felt in control.
In a way its nice that I didn’t have to sit through some slow and stupid tutorial but in another way entirely it would have been better to have a fighting chance. The main issue with this first foray into the game is that the combat system is awful and overcomplicated. Its not that I never got to grips with it but even now I am still never comfortable going into a fight, I feel out of sorts, the way you do when you first drive a car and there are all these buttons and pedals and you have to know what you are doing or it will end badly but you are not sure of your actions. Being aware that you have to constantly think about a battle is a good thing though right? Yes and no, I want to have fun, I like being forced to think and I certainly don’t want a game to be too easy but I feel that the control system in Kingdom Come Deliverance is working against me and instead of having that muscle memory ready to go I am still thinking about how to move and strike instead of just doing it.
Getting into fights is never a good idea then, especially given that one false move, one moment of distraction and you will be killed. This is even more irritating because the save system is ridiculous.
For a game that is so visceral and realistic, I suppose I should be happy there is a save system at all but the implementation of having a drink called Saviour Schnapps that you down in one to remember everything is silly. It’s all the more galling because there are numerous game breaking bugs that might see you have to go back some time. It’s not easy to get cash, the drink is expensive and the whole situation leads to a miserable affair. Luckily there is a mod called unlimited saves on Nexus mods that will solve these issues. I can say from experience that I was saved from starting over several times by this mod so for now at least, its an essential addition and I don’t think detracts from the game in any way.
Fights should be avoided then, but there are times when you just cannot and so you need to think because this game is very realistic, take for example the helmets you see in a museum, they have tiny slits to look through, well, wear one in game and you too will have tiny slits to look through, great, you have protected your eyes, however, you have just been hacked to death in the neck. You have to think about every choice you make and weigh up all benefits vs all costs because this game is absolutely brutal.
The world of Kingdom Come Deliverance is beautiful to look at, its massive and whilst you can fast travel, sort of, you have to find everything first and while fast travelling, you will be pulled out 90% of the time by some type of bandit or another.
One day early on, I was travelling back to Talmberg, I was near the town and I was interdicted, I decided I would run and let the town guards save me. They didn’t do a good job so I ended up fighting the bandit in my quarters at the mill. The guards then dutifully arrived and I managed to kill the said bandit. I thought all was well but I was then arrested and thrown in jail because I had no money to pay the fine for whatever it was I did. Brutal.
Other than the scattered towns and villages there isn’t a great deal to do in the world. This means you will spend most of your time using the fast travel system to get from point A to point B. There is a mundanity to the day to day that will see you longing for action. The action comes and the control system fights you so you long for the mundanity to return. I found the duplicitousness of the game rather galling. I was enjoying the ambience and the general pace of the game on the whole but wanted more, I wanted the story to grab me by the hair and drag me screaming into combat but instead I had to make sure I scrubbed up before meeting with a lord so they were nicer to me.
I forgot what I was doing at one point and accidentally pulled my sword out while I was in the bathhouse, anyone would think I had murdered a baby and I ended up in jail because I couldn’t put my sword away when the guards came. This is what would happen in real life I am sure but I was only pressing buttons “wrongwise”!
Kingdom Come Deliverance is a solid RPG if a little too realistic for most tastes. I think this is a great title but should be bought with a caveat. Do not buy this game if you don’t want to put in the time to learn how to play it, you will lose your head if you do.