Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an open world, first-person role-playing game set in Medieval Bohemia (today’s Czech Republic). Kingdom Come was developed by indie developer Warhorse Studios and published by a small publishing company named Deep Silver.
Comparisons to the massive Elder Scrolls series (Elder’s Scroll Special Edition is available now in the PSN Store) are unavoidable as there are many similarities, but the game manages to do enough different to really stand on its own.
The game is single player, much like elder scrolls, but the first big difference hits you right off the bat. There is no character customization. You play as Henry, an unassuming blacksmith’s son. His name, voice, and face are all set for you. This might be a missing element for some gamers used to elder scrolls or fallout for a first-person RPG, but I feel it helps to tell a deeper story much like more action oriented games like Secret of Mana Remake.
The game starts off with Henny just being a blacksmiths son in his town. He does some errands for his father, maybe gets in a bit of trouble, flirts with his girlfriend. The story kicks off once your town is attacked and your quiet life changed. You are cast into an open world that wants to kill you with no real combat skills, no gear, and few friends. Your character can not even read until you find someone to teach you. The only thing to guide you is a goal of revenge against the powerful people who attacked your home.
The storytelling in the game is very well done. The voice acting is good, and your character Henry is a likable, and relatable character. You can choose to play him as you like, but the choices and options for dialogue and actions make sense. Nothing to zany or out there, but still with many ways to play each encounter be it sly, straightforward or even violent. Characters you talk to also react to your clothes and general cleanliness making for some interesting dynamics.
When it comes to the setting for the game, it takes a more realistic approach. There are no magic, dragons or strange monsters to fight. You are a human in Bohemia in the 1500s, you will meet and deal with other humans and use weapons and items available at the time. The only bent into fantasy is that there is a potion system that will let you slightly increase your abilities or give you a bonus, but it is nowhere near as a fantastic or mythical setting as other games of this type. This does have the effect of keeping the story more grounded and relatable in many ways.
As for the gameplay and internal systems, Kingdom Come: Deliverance borrows a lot from what has come before while keeping things new. The game is in the first person with your character fully rendered. If you look down you see his feet, his arms etc. When you pick up an item, your character reaches out and grabs it. Speaking of items, there is an encumbrance system in the game. If you collect more gear, you lose the ability to run and eventually move at more than a crawl.
As you wander the world, you must keep track of your food, rest and other basic needs as your character will need to sleep and eat, or will suffer diminished effectiveness or even die. The game manages to keep this feeling important, but not so obtrusive that you should stop and make your character eat every 5 minutes. It feels like a good balance of need vs not getting in the players way too much.
Combat in the game is more complex than other games of this genre and is very deadly. It is possible that you will die several times in the tutorial. Unarmored characters can only take one or two well-placed sword strikes before they go down. The combat, it has a system of a guard and attacks directions that make for a more interesting and tension-filled fight than simply press button swing sword. This deadliness of combat makes speech skills for the character a must as avoiding conflict is as important or more important than having good gear, especially when first starting out as your character is virtually untrained in all aspects of fighting.
Key in the fact that your character will die is the save system in the game. The game will autosave at various points in the story, and you can sleep to save the game. The only other way to save is to have in your character’s possession and consume a particular and possibly addicting alcoholic drink. The idea of a more limited save system is to keep players from saving over and over to try and get the best possible outcome in encounters and simply let the game flow organically.
The character gains experience and skills by using them, or by visiting trainers. This system is similar to the Elder Scrolls games and has perks to pick for your skills as you level them. This is familiar territory for veteran players of Elder Scrolls or Fallout, but it is a good system done well so no need to really change what works.
The ascetic aspects of sound and graphics for the game are well done. Even on lower settings the characters and environment look good. You can see damage and injuries as they occur on yourself and others and equipment begin to look ratty and unkept if you do not maintain it. The music and sound work to keep you in the game without being distracting and the voice work is above average for most encounters.
All of this is not without problems, however. The game is hugely ambitious, and for a smaller game company, it is amazing this came out at all. Some bugs creep up for most sessions, usually little things like graphical anomalies, or a dip in performance for an apparently unknown reason to the rare crash. These bugs can really cause frustration due to the harsh save system can cause you to lose a decent amount of progress. Warhorse is working on bug fixes but it is still unfortunate that you have to deal with them.
In the end, even with the bugs, the charm and complexity of the game win out. The game keeps getting deeper with new things to do and new systems and ideas introduced as you play, interesting main quest line, as well as fun side quests and adventures, make this game a winner. If the thought of bugs put you off from playing this game right now, I would recommend you keep this on your radar and check back in a month or two. If they can squash some of the more annoying bugs, this could easily become one of the real stands out games of this year.
To see what other great games are coming out, see GamingFront.net’s list of game releases for 2018.