When Bohemian means living in the kingdom of Bohemia, not the rhapsody.
I almost didn’t buy Kingdom Come: Deliverance. It had been on my list of games that I had been looking forward to, and I had expressed interest in it long before that. After months of almost no new information, I figured that it would be doomed to development hell. So I just filed my interest away and forgot about it. Then the release date crept up, and with a week until launch, I bought a copy.
Why? I’ll tell you why…
Kingdom Come: Deliverance starts you off in the shoes of a blacksmith’s son. Henry is a typical young man, though with delusions of grandeur. Life in the town of Skalitz is simple, but Henry’s father and mother have made the most of it. Henry’s responsibilities revolve around helping his father with his smithing duties, though he occasionally finds time to hang out with his girlfriend and carouse with his buddies.
Don’t worry though, this isn’t a medieval villager simulator; though Kingdom Come: Deliverance has enough mechanics and depth to be exactly that if you wanted it to be. The monotony of medieval life is dispelled once war comes to Skalitz, and Henry is forced to flee. That’s where his journey begins.
Picture a game like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, but with a focus on realism and much deeper game mechanics. Kingdom Come: Deliverance definitely won’t win any awards for animation or its graphics (though it does feature some breathtaking visual on occasion), but that’s not what it’s about; it’s about depth.
You gain power from equipping better gear, which can influence how you fare in conversations. You can adopt an air of nobility or intimidation just by wearing different clothes, along with the appearance of said clothes as well. Are you clean and dressed nicely? Henry will get better reactions from folks. Wearing armor and covered in blood? You’re probably going to scare some folks. Covered in mud and smell like you rolled around with the hogs? You’re not going to be sneaking around anywhere.
Even combat itself is far from the precedent set by other RPGs. Set in the first-person perspective, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is most similar to For Honor in regards to combat, though with much more nuance. Fighting involves the need to block and attack from different angles, unlike the traditional RPG approaches which either take The Elder Scrolls or World of Warcraft approach (full hack-and-slash or RNG). It’s slower paced, but far more realistic, and that’s kinda refreshing. Furthermore, honor actually comes into play as you often will find yourself with the choice to either spare a combatant, or end lives without mercy. Of course, your skill in combat requires practice, because leveling up requires the use of the skills you want to specialize in. Experience isn’t a pooled resource, so killing folks with a sword won’t earn you any perks in Speech.
Interestingly, Warhorse Studios seems to have taken a page from the original Fallout (or Fallout: New Vegas even) titles, where your earned perks come at a cost. The Fast Striker perk means you use less stamina to swing Agility-based weapons, but they do less damage per strike as a result. Manly Odour makes it so you’re more charismatic when talking to women if you’re stinking a bit, but you’ll be about as stealthy as a bull in a china shop because everyone within 20 square miles can smell you.
I want to go into more detail if I can, though I don’t want to spend this entire post speaking about mechanics, since there’s another thing I want to point out.
History In Action
One of the things about the original Assassin’s Creed that I remember loving, was the attempt at historical accuracy. Of course, I’m fairly certain that there wasn’t a precursor civilization that created supernatural artifacts capable of pacifying the human race, but I’m not a history major, so I’m not exactly an authority on the matter. Still, Warhorse managed to do something that football coaches across the United States fail to do on a daily basis; they made history interesting.
Granted, Warhorse had to take some liberties with history in some areas. They conceded that 15th century Bohemia didn’t look the way it does in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, though a historically accurate Bohemia would like a hilly Kansas apparently, and surprisingly, folks back then in that area of the world didn’t speak modern English. Still, Warhorse did their best to ensure their game was as accurate as it could be without it being horrifically boring. The weapons, armor, attire, architecture, and culture of the time are all pretty spot on.
Let’s Play Some More
Generally, I limit my Impressions of games to my time with demos or betas, but in this case, I wanted to give some initial impressions before I rolled out the full review. I’m delighted with Kingdom Come: Deliverance so far, but I’m still pretty early in the game. It’s not perfect, that’s for sure. I’ve run into some pretty hilarious bugs, but they’ve been limited to conversations so far.
Stay posted for more, because a complete review is in the works!
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