It is not often that I feel truly conflicted by a game. Usually, it is easy to describe how I feel about something, whether it is good, bad or even just mixed. I might feel apathetic towards something, but at least I know that I don’t care, and I pride myself in knowing how I feel about something and sticking to my convictions. This all changed for me when I started playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
You follow the story of Henry, a blacksmith’s son who is kind of a lazy, happy-go-lucky teenager who on one fateful day sees his entire village slaughtered before his very eyes and then barely escapes with his own life. From there he sets out for revenge and discovery, and eventually finds himself in the services of his lord, Sir Radzig. It might be a bit dramatic for a story about a simple peasant, but there’s got to be a reason for everything happening.
Peasant Simulator 2018
Kingdom Come: Deliverance takes place in the early 15th century Czech Republic, or as it was known back then, Bohemia. The game is effectively a medieval simulator, which will have you do a lot of normal, everyday medieval things, like eating, drinking, bathing, sleeping and so forth. There is no magic or wizards or dragons. There’s no chosen one, set out to save the world. No, it is a tale of a normal character that sets out on an adventure during a time of war in the kingdom. The mechanics are simple enough but take some getting used to. You need to eat and sleep in order to function since a lack of rest or nourishment will impact your ability to fight, talk or even walk properly. You also have to watch what you consume, since drinking too much will affect your co-ordination and eating too much can make you lethargic for instance. You even need to keep an eye on the quality of the food you eat, since it can go off and get spoiled, which in turn can make you sick. You even have to mind your appearance, since blood and muck on your clothes can actually have an effect on your conversation outcomes. Luckily you can wash yourself in a trough, or if you have a few coins, go to the bath house to have some of the bath maids take care of you. It takes some time getting into the rhythm of things, but once you get going, it kind of becomes second nature.
There is no magic or wizards or dragons. There’s no chosen one, set out to save the world. No, it is a tale of a normal character that sets out on an adventure during a time of war in the kingdom.
Combat in KCD is pretty brutal, and incredibly hard to get used to and master. You start out as a noob that doesn’t know anything about sword fighting, and need to learn how to do it. You actually need to spend a lot of time practicing with someone to understand the basics of it, and what to look out for. There is no easy option here and you won’t be good at it just because you’ve played other games with swords before. Often I found myself against an opponent that takes me out in a few blows, only to go back and practice and then be able to beat the person.
It works on a premise of stabs and slashes, with you having an option to strike from various directions. But anything you can do, they can do as well, and often they do it better. It becomes a deadly dance of skill and stamina between you and your opponent, looking for ways to tire him down and get an opening to strike. It is damn hard to do, but when you pull it off, it’s very satisfying and rewarding. It really is not a perfect system, but it works pretty well, and the more I played, the more I enjoyed it.
Removed from the oven a bit too early
The game really looks pretty, most of the time. It is clear that the developers put a lot of effort into recreating a believable medieval world. The country side is almost looks idyllic, and the villages looks believable and lived in. Attention to detail on some things like water and mud in the roads really does make the place look alive. But once again, it is not perfect. Character models can look a bit lifeless when moving around and doing what ever they’re doing. Voice acting is pretty decent as well, especially with the main characters, and you really start liking and caring about them and their relationships with each other.
The country side is almost looks idyllic, and the villages looks believable and lived in.
Overall, I enjoyed my first few hours playing the game, but my sense of joy and euphoria came crashing down very quickly, literally. I experienced quite a few issues as the game progressed, and it seemed to become worse as I go along, with it becoming almost unplayable at times. The game would crash, or hang on a few occasions, assets wouldn’t load in, making it hard to complete an objective, while there’s a lot of screen tearing and pop-ins. The long loading times also don’t help. I can forgive bugs, since it is understandable considering the size and scope of the game, while also taking into account that it is an indie studio that made this game. What I do find very frustrating is the horrible save system that goes with it.
You’re forced to either sleep or use a Saviour Schnapps, a consumable item that you allows you to save. There is no auto save system during normal exploration, and it only saves during certain events or missions. This resulted in me losing what feels like hours of gameplay every time a crash occurs, or the game became too buggy that I needed to quit the game and restart, and I forgot to buy a Schnapps at a tavern. It completely infuriated me and completely ruined the overall experience of the game. Explore the world to see what is to find? Get jumped by three bandits, get killed and lose the last hour of gameplay. THAT is how it works in this game, and it just doesn’t work for me. You might have gotten a cool new sword or armour piece, but no, you need to go through the trouble to get it again because you didn’t babysit your save. It would’ve been forgivable if the game worked properly, but it doesn’t and it cost me way too much time in the end.
Patches and updates were promised in the near future, but unfortunately, at the time of writing, none of those patches have been released yet.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is like a cake that was removed from the oven just a bit too early, it still tastes fine, but it looks a bit broken. That is what this game is, unfortunately: broken. It does so many things right, but because of a few bugs that completely ruin the experience, I end off being conflicted on my views about it.
I really really want to like this game, and want people to play it, but I find it very hard to recommend it at this stage based on my experience. The characters are lovable and believable, the world is beautifully and lovingly crafted, the systems were given some thought, but overall it just falls flat because of the incompleteness of the game. It was released too early, and should have been given a bit more spit and shine before being released. Hopefully those patches came be released soon, because man, this game deserves to be loved by all.