Kingdom Come: Deliverance by Warhorse Studios promised in their Kickstarter four years ago would bring players into the era shortly after Sigismund of Luxembourg began to make his power plays in the region. “God”, I thought to myself, “are they making this game especially for me?”. Historical accuracy, as close to realistic as possible while maintaining a solid level of entertainment were all bold goals. Did all the blood, sweat, and tears poured into development pay off though?
Henry is the son of an apprentice to a Blacksmith in the peaceful village of Skalitz. The life of a blacksmith’s apprentice is one of running errands for your father, and nightly outings to the local boozer with friends and maidens. But Henry is about to find his world flipped turned upside down as Sigismund’s conquest finds its way to Skalitz. An amalgamation of both Hungarian and Cuman soldiers under the command of one of Sigismund’s most ruthless lieutenants sack the village, killing men, women, and children before burning it to the ground. Henry is forced to flee but not before he watches his father’s valiant last stand. Fighting, and falling valiantly to the leader of the raid. The seed of revenge is planted, and so would begin our walk in Henry’s shoes after just having gotten the first taste of the brutality that awaits you throughout the course of Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
A Realistic Role Playing Game; that’s exactly how I would describe Kingdom Come: Deliverance. You’re not building the perfect character, you’re helping Henry grow as a person through his journey. Skills with various weapons, trade and social interactions, his ability to carry himself through Bohemia just a little bit better with each passing day ensures that you never feel like you are slowing down. You’re always advancing Henry’s ability in some way, and even so, you will never feel overpowered in the slightest.
Your efficiency in combat will always come down to your skill as a player utilizing directional-based sword combat or no-reticule bow and arrow. Outside of combat, you will find yourself practicing how to use a grindstone to sharpen your weapons most efficiently, haggling your way down to a lower price, or how to master the tavern game of ‘Farkle’. You will encounter many faces from noblemen to lowly beggars that will react to you based on how well you speak with them, right down to what you are wearing and how recently you have bathed. If that wasn’t enough, you can even suffer broken bones and critical bleeding that could cut your journey short if you’re not well equipped to handle them.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s saving system. The titles system relies almost exclusively on autosaves when you are out and about in the world, and if you want to do manual saves you have to procure Saviour Schnapps by either brewing it yourself at an alchemy table or buying it from innkeepers. Be warned though; its a very pricey beverage that enables you to do a manual save. For all the attention to detail and emphasis on realism, it is a bit silly to have that included, but I suppose that it (along with a fast travel ability) is in there to help save the time for gamers who may not have a lot of time on their hands. Overall, it’s as realistic an experience as you can get in an RPG of this magnitude while still bending the knee a bit just to make it more accessible to the more casual crowd.
With the use of the CryEngine Kingdom Come: Deliverance is far from the most realistic looking game I’ve ever gotten my hands on, but that doesn’t make it look any less gorgeous. Traveling through the countryside, through the small villages and larger well protected cities is a treat on its own. To follow the streams in a soft rain shower, to stare from a hilltop over the horizon and seeing a cloud of black smoke from a battle marring an otherwise beautiful view, it’s every bit as enticing hours in as it is when you first start. But it’s not perfect. Up close, textures sometimes look low res and poor. It’s most apparent when you’re dealing with buildings that have light-colored walls, and if you’re right next to a water source.
Character models look detailed until you get to their faces where the detail graphically remains. Unfortunately, the facial animations break the immersion, looking more like animatronic humans speaking rather than living, breathing people. Thankfully, the voice acting helped me look past that most of the time. With a massive game such as this, surely there’s something wrong with it more than just some texture and animation issues right? well yes, but they are trivial issues like npc’s not being in the right place for speech scenes which breaks the immersion a little bit but its so infrequent you hardly notice it.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is not a landslide, a mix of game and reality. It may not capture the appeal of the overall mainstream gamer. Anyone willing to take a dive into the niche waters of this gaming world, and not afraid of games being unforgiving, should definitely check this out. I love this game with it’s blend of factual history with great storytelling. It makes me think that Warhorse Studios can in fact stick to the promises made in their Kickstarter. I’m hoping Warhorse Studios will bring more epic stories, and locations to the rich world with DLC, and other offerings. Open your eyes, give this game a try and see, who knows you may love it too.