Kingdom Come starts you off on your story in Bohemia, the year 1403. Emperor Charles IV has died, plunging the kingdom into dark times. Rife with pillaging, murder, and mayhem, you’re tasked with doing pretty much whatever you like. Welcome to the Skyrim of the Middle Ages! While there is a main story, which is estimated to be around 30~50 hours, there are enough sidequests to allot easily 100 hours of gameplay. Therefore you are able to do basically whatever you like without much negative impact on gameplay. This is a massive game, I’d wager even more in-depth than Skyrim itself. It’s an open world RPG where you play as a lad named Henry, being pulled by fate through the dark times of the era. Expect a similar experience to Skyrim while playing this game. It is indeed the most accurate description anyone can give.
The game is massive. Narrowing it down to a few features is difficult. However, some of the best features are also what makes the game what it is.
The game has a nice skill system in place. You use something, such as a Sword or Axe long enough and you level that skill tree. You successfully block an attack, you gain more skill experience in the defense tree. Basically the more you practice, the better you get. The cool part is there are ways to actually practice combat without actually getting hurt or hurting anyone. This allows you to immerse yourself in the game even further. You’re able to train your character the way you would train in real life for combat, by practicing, sparring with another person. Not many games that I can think of have used this method. It forces you to actually learn how to use a weapon and how to defend. You can’t simply pick a weapon up and go out and kill a bunch of bandits, you’ll get murdered instantly.
One of my favorite features in any game is being able to talk my way out of a situation, r haggle for a better price. The dialogue feature in this game is pretty good in my opinion. Generally, you get 3 options to choose from with your stats. Speech, Charisma, and Strength. Each of these have a stat associated with them from your gear and skill tree. Allowing you to pick which option you think best suits the situation, to be diplomatic, use your good looks, or brute force to intimidate your opponent. I choose to use my Speech a lot, learning the skill that allowed me to have a 20% higher chance to succeed when talking with nobility. This has helped me somewhat when dealing with the nobles, trying to get my way.
This world is one of the most alive worlds I’ve ever seen in a videogame. Not only is it vivid and beautiful, the creatures and people who live in it make it just that much more immersive. When I ride along the countryside, I just can’t help but gawk in awe of how beautiful and real the surrounding areas look. Combine that with a randomized, dynamic weather system, and it feels like you’re actually there. VR anyone?
Day and Night Cycles
The game has it’s own day and night cycles. Each town has its own “curfew” and being caught outside without a torch for instance in the wrong place can get you in trouble. However, you can use these cycles to your advantage. You can’t rightly pickpocket, lockpick, and steal your way through a city while they’re all awake, can you? Ensure you always have a torch handy! You won’t be seeing very well in the dark without one. The nights can get very dark, especially when the moon is gone.
As stated above, the way you level up combat is by practice and repetition. By actually being in combat, you gain more combat experience, allowing your character to grow more and more powerful with each fight. While in combat, your character will lock onto the nearest target. You get a little directional rose on your cursor that indicates where you hold your weapon. This is where you will attack or block from. You can use these directions to chain combos and feints to get through your opponent’s defenses. Be warned, however, it’s not so simple. It will take much practice to master a single combo, and you are limited to how many per weapon type. One cool feature is if you are exponentially more powerful than your opponent, they will either run away or surrender. If they surrender you have two choices; Mercy kill, or talk to them. I can’t say what happens much when you talk to them, only done that once and he ran away. But mercy killing, you just shove them down and push your sword into their throat! Hey, they’re bandits, they shouldn’t have attacked you!
Your appearance matters a lot. If you present yourself like a noble, you will be treated like a noble. If you present yourself like a peasant, you will be treated as one. The concept is pretty awesome. If you walk around town dirty and covered in blood, people actually take notice. If you go to a weapons vendor, for instance, and attempt to haggle, you’ll have a much better time haggling when you’re wearing nice clothes, all clean, than if you came in with tattered clothes and armor, filthy to the touch. I was ambushed once on the road, I slaughtered my attackers and continued on my way. I came across a guy looting a corpse. I hop off my horse and ask him why he murdered the poor guy. To my surprise, he started accusing me of killing the guy. He saw the blood on my clothes and sword and immediately came to the conclusion that I was the murderer. I had to talk my way out of it and explain that I had just got ambushed. I was really surprised by this feature. I knew the system was in place for vendors, but random strangers? I had no clue, and it’s awesome!
Let there be no mistake, at first you are a very weak person. A rabbit would probably kill you. This is what I have enjoyed about the game. You can’t simply start and just go to town murdering everyone because you suddenly have the best weapon ever. It takes time and dedication to learn a skill and properly deploying that skill to actually win in a fight.
The developers have stated that while the main story should take you between 30 and 50 hours, there are enough sidequests to keep you busy for well over 100 hours. This is a huge deal for an open world game. It’s not just about completing the story, it’s about longevity. How long will this game keep my attention? I can tell you that 30 hours into the game I’m still finding new things and still learning the whole way.
Not everything is all roses, however. The game has it’s fair share of bugs and performance issues. It’s nothing they can’t fix, but simple things like your character not being in focus, or being misplaced in a cutscene for example. I’ve had one cutscene completely black, could not see anything that was happening, and one quest that was completely silent of any voices, I had to rely on the subtitles. Performance is also an issue. I have a pretty beefy computer, an i7-6700k @ 4.6Ghz, a 1080ti FTW3 clocked @ 2023Mhz, and 32gb of ram. I maxed the graphics settings out and generally speaking ran between 50 and 80 FPS, depending on the time of day and location. It seems like lighting is poorly optimized, as it seems dusk/dawn play the largest performance impacts thus far. Strangely our other reviewer, Chris, from MMORPG.com, has had worse performance that I have with a very similar build, yet with SLI cards.
The combat directional rose I spoke of earlier has its quirks. To do combos, you have to quickly switch stances to different directions. It’s very sensitive in that regard. I’ve had a hard time getting used to it because I would use one direction and trying to get in another direction it ends up going up or down and I miss my combo. I think it needs a little improvement, shouldn’t be as sensitive to movement as it is.
The animations could use some work. While they aren’t bad, some would consider it Mass Effect Andromeda bad. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but for some, it very well might be.
As this game is so huge, we are doing a provisional score this week. We will continue to play and give our final verdict next week.
Provisional Score for Kingdom Come: Deliverance: 8/10
- Rich story
- Amazing graphics
- Immersive gameplay
- Some cutscenes and quests are bugged
- Weapon Direction Rose needs work
- Animations are lacking