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Review: Kingdom Come: Deliverance (PC)By Ofisil At 13.02.2018 08:19

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There's no save-the-world nonsense here. Henry's quest to vengeance will constantly remind him of his lowly status, as he won't ever become a King, a nobleman, or the Dovahkiin. This strives to be as historically accurate and realistic as possible, and that affects its every aspect, with everything, from the menus, maps, and so on, looking like a medieval painting. Plus, as this was made by history buffs, for history buffs, it includes a neat encyclopaedia that covers everything, from important events and characters, to details about how society worked back then.

The Crytek-powered plains, forests, and fortresses of Kingdom Come: Deliverance look beautiful, but they are also... mundane. Villages are just villages, castles are just castles, and tavern wenches are just tavern wenches. Walking during the night won't lead to any silver-clothed elves dancing deep in a surreal forest. It's just muddy roads, pitch-black darkness, and, if lucky, a fire-lit camp full of thieves - and that's exactly what makes this so charming, although it's definitely not everyone's cup of mead. Of course, this whole realism thing affects the gameplay, as well.

Similar to, say, Breath of the Wild, it is possible to simply choose a direction and follow it, yet just like in real life, there's not much to do "out there," at least not in the typical videogame fashion. Towns aren't filled with quest givers with question marks above their heads, and the wilderness is not overpopulated with bad guys to slay. As such, some will find the slow pace, and "lack" of objectives annoying, as, three-to-six hours into this the hero of this tale will still be a stinking nobody who has to struggle to survive, find work to do, or handle his sword and bow.

Instead of shaping the world, events unfold all around Henry, and he just happens to be there. Thus, you will always feel sort of vulnerable, as improving your skills won't turn you into a demigod. As with everything, equipment here is based on the real deal, and, as such, there's no "+15 Rare Legendary Godslayer's Katana of Manly Awesomeness" to be found (or is there?). This is a pretty challenging RPG that doesn't care about its protagonist. The good news is that the same goes for the rest of the people in here, meaning that enemies can bleed as fast as you.

Note that this heavy focus in realism means that each action has its consequence - no, it's not one of those titles that pretends to do that. Here there are actual consequences. You steal? You get behind bars, and people stop trusting you. You are filthy? They treat you like filth. You don't carry a torch when the sun sets? Guards get angry. Luckily, there's no "right" way to play this, as the beauty of Kingdom Come: Deliverance mostly lies in value as an RPG, as it's not about grinding EXP, finding the best gear, or doing all quests, but about getting immersed in it all.

This leads to the available skillset, which includes things like warfare, stealth, and alchemy, to the (rare for the time) art of reading, or the (not so rare) art of drinking - yup, getting stewed counts as an ability here. The thing that's great about all this is the amount of specialisation offered. While all it takes to upgrade a skill is to just use it, choosing buffs tied to those skills transforms Henry to your liking, but don't let him be a jack of all trades. In 'Speech,' for example, he can either choose a buff that improves his smooth-talking with commoners, or with nobles - not both.

In conclusion: this is a fantastic piece of software that's worth getting lost in it for hundreds of hours, as long as this attention to historical accuracy and zero use of fantasy elements isn't a problem. Correct? Unfortunately, while the concept is indeed wonderful, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Forget small flaws like the many glitches, bugs, and the general lack of optimisation and polish, as these can (and will) get fixed. In fact, while this is being written, a 20GB(?!) patch is being downloaded, which will probably deal with those issues.

No, the real problem here is how rough around the edges the gameplay section is. Firstly, while immersion is Kingdom Come: Deliverance's biggest strength, lots of - little - things tend to break it, like when you approach a bandit who was taking a midnight walk near in his "pyjamas," and he magically becomes a fully-armed warrior in an instant when he sees you, or when some missions are all about running towards the quest marker (when they shouldn't), while others leave you in the dark without "pointing" the way (when they should).

Saving is done by starting a quest, sleeping on your bed, or using a (somewhat pricey) consumable, which means that you can lose one hour of progress by getting ambushed by a team of bandits mid-travelling; everything, from opening a door, to picking up arrows (one by one) is animated, and very slowly at that; there's a lack of feedback for many actions; the menus and controls scheme could be way more user-friendly; and so on, and so forth. Sure, most of these are tiny nit-picks, but when combined together, they sort of drag the experience down quite a bit.

The most annoying aspect of this title, however, is its fighting system. Yes, it's definitely possible to solve many a problem either through talking or by some cloak-and-dagger tactics, but blades will eventually meet. On the one hand, this is nothing more than an innovative evolution of the great-but-simple system of For Honour, with Henry being able to hit or block a foe from six different directions, riposte by parrying and swinging a weapon at the same time, do combo moves, evasions, and many, many more - it's easy to "understand" all this and pull them off.

…It's hard to "feel" them, however. Simply put, fighting is a little too clunky and unresponsive, and a bit more challenging than usual, and for all the wrong reasons. Moreover, there's a certain lack of feedback that frequently leaves those in control clueless as to whether a slash or stab hit the correct part of the body, or why this or that block or evasion failed. Sure, when everything works as intended, appreciating the battle mechanics is far from hard, but more often than not, it leaves a sour taste - especially when dealing with more than one enemy at the same time… or two, or three, or four.

Luckily, it's hard to avoid coming back to this. Is there room for improvement? Oh, you simply can't imagine how much - and yet even at its current, extremely flawed state, it can be quite the addictive time sink. At the end of the day, though, all that needs to be taken into consideration about Kingdom Come: Deliverance is that it isn't another Far Cry/Assassin's Creed-esque checklist-filling "RPG." Some will hate it for it, and its lack of a couple of more… game-y bells and whistles, but the rest will love it exactly for that.

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Final Score
As realistic, historically accurate, unrelenting, casual-[i]un[/i]friendly, open-word RPG games go, [i]Kingdom Come: Deliverance[/i] is probably the best on offer right now. It's only worthy of the bronze medal, though, as it's very far from perfect, and the amount of flaws at hand mean that this is quite the dirty kind of bronze medal.



User Comments
#1 Adam Riley (News Editor) - on 14.02.2018 at 16:11

Massive 'Day One' patch... I heard it's 23GB Smilie Has it fixed a lot of issues?

#2 Ofisil - on 14.02.2018 at 19:51

Yes. From loading issues to bugs, this is much better

#3 Adam Riley (News Editor) - on 14.02.2018 at 23:35

Odd that this sort of thing happens so often nowadays, especially when it clearly impacts on review scores.

#4 ringlord71 - on 15.02.2018 at 11:08

That's nuts though! Not having access to Internet or having 50GB /month is a detriment to this game, and 23GB Day One updates really should not be the norm.

#5 Del_Duio (guest) - on 15.02.2018 at 17:53

Ah the days when a game shipped complete and didn't rely on the day one patch.
I tell you this way of thinking has changed the way devs think from here on out Smilie

#6 Adam Riley (News Editor) - on 15.02.2018 at 22:58

Josh makes a great point about people with limited Internet. As someone with unlimited downloads each month, I forget that some still have caps because they don't want to pay the extra for infinite data.

Could you imagine a kid buying this and wiping out their parents' data limit in one fell swoop thanks to a Day One patch like this?? Smilie Even worse, if it's one of those plans that doesn't cut you off, but charges a premium once the limit's reached on each MB used after that...?! Smilie

#7 ringlord71 - on 16.02.2018 at 01:06

Adam Riley said:
Could you imagine a kid buying this and wiping out their parents' data limit in one fell swoop thanks to a Day One patch like this?? Smilie Even worse, if it's one of those plans that doesn't cut you off, but charges a premium once the limit's reached on each MB used after that...?! Smilie

Those parents would get a hell of a shock on their next bill! But it's set a really bad precedent, especially if other devs get too comfortable with this idea that everyone who plays games lives in their sort of bubble. I too have unlimited internet, but it is still food for thought for the future, and why these sorts of patches just cannot be accepted as normal practices.

#8 devidise - on 16.02.2018 at 14:26

Out of curiousity, how big is the base download?

Edit: Disregard. I just read the answer for the PS4 release is at 46 GB. I mean, I know it's not the biggest, but the idea that it's so big because of a day one patch is just absurd.

( Edited 16.02.2018 14:32 by devidise )

#9 Ofisil - on 16.02.2018 at 19:21

One of the things I forgot to mention is that I was really happy to see that the developer gave SJWs the middle finger and didn't bend a knee to current... "trends" in order to avoid being called racist/sexist and so on...

Everyone in KCD, from men to women, and from peasants to lords, is exactly how they should be.

( Edited 16.02.2018 19:25 by Ofisil )

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