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Review: Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an example of a successful crowd funding campaign where over two million dollars was raised via Kickstarter and their website. Showcasing their product to the world warranted immediate attention and proved to their investor that an audience did, in fact, exist for the game they set out to develop. Almost exactly four years after the conclusion of their successful Kickstarter campaign, Kingdom Come welcomes players to the kingdom of Bohemia through the eyes of Henry, a blacksmith from the town of Skalitz.

Kingdom Come is an open-world RPG that enables players to choose their path throughout the game’s entirety. Every quest and encounter will present several options on how to complete it, giving players full authority on how they wish to approach each sequence. The entire game is a customizable feature of the choices, actions, and playstyles create a unique character experience that defines the name and reputation Henry creates for himself throughout the kingdom. Every action carried out has an everlasting effect on your reputation within the townships you enter. Following a just and righteous path will have you being welcomed while straying from that path leads to resistance and most likely a trip to a jail cell for crimes committed.

You learn and grow alongside Henry as he is forced out of the peaceful confines of being a blacksmith to lifting a sword instead of a hammer and becoming a soldier to fight against the enemy that destroyed his village. The initial steps taken into this unfamiliar territory are firmly represented by the fear due to a lack of confidence in combat, sourcing nourishment, and acquiring currency. The realization of being alone will begin a trial and error experience that will see several bouts of failure, but the inevitable success and acquisition of confidence are acquired as you progress and get better through the act of performing.

Every action that takes place in Kingdom Come will grant experience points that will unlock new skills that Henry can then utilize. Engaging in combat will raise the experience of the weapons being used, hunting for wildlife will increase your bow skills, opening locks will improve lock picking, enjoying the countryside while you pick herbs will increase herbalism, and interactions with NPCs will improve your speech ability, to name only a few. It’s through these acts that Henry will become stronger, confident, and more influential throughout his journey. Practice will eventually lead to perfection-lots of practice.

The in-depth combat system’s difficulty level will be alleviated as you unsheathe your sword while exploring and engaging in combat with bandits and ruffians along the road. The two main attacks are stabbing and slashing and they can be aimed at different directions to find an opening. Combos can also be chained together while attacking to break an opponent’s guard, giving you an edge in combat. It’s important to note that a defensive stance versus an offensive approach will help ensure survival, especially when a sense of being overwhelmed occurs at the onset of being outnumbered. Defensive movement while blocking, parrying, and dodging must be relied upon in combat, but pay close attention to your stamina as each action depletes it.

The importance of balance throughout Kingdom Come is easily recognizable through keeping Henry well nourished. Paying no attention to his level of hunger can result in starvation, but over-eating results in slowed movement. Eating spoiled food can also lead to food poisoning, which reduces health over time. Finding a place to sleep will replenish health and energy and, most importantly, save your game. You can also drink a Saviour Schnapps to save, but the price is steep and can lead to Henry being addicted to alcohol. Power napping can be utilized to save before you embark upon risky adventures. It’s important to note that progress is automatically saved during main storyline missions, but be warned that exploring the countryside for countless hours without saving can lead to losing all acquired items in seconds.

Your most trusted weapon isn’t your sword, but rather your tongue. Your speech ability will be called upon in almost all interactions in the kingdom and your success is heavily impacted by numerous different factors. Your clothing, smell, cleanliness, energy, and whether there is blood on your weapon, are some of the factors that will be looked upon when engaging in conversation.  If you are trying to persuade nobility, it goes without saying that you should dress the part. Wearing ragged and dirty attire will get you nowhere.

Kingdom Come has a learning curve which is handled brilliantly as time progresses, but it’s the sense of accomplishment that is made very apparent early on and throughout the game’s entirety. Unlike other games, completing simple tasks feels very rewarding. Overcoming single combatants will make you feel as if you were a knight, waiting for the next conflict to arise. You will also encounter several missions in each town where you are able to aid the local inhabitants with any struggles they may be enduring. Feeling as part of a community goes a long way when your status is heightened in specific areas and they welcome your presence upon arrival. Learning how to use the bow effectively during a hunting mission and the excitement that arises when successfully striking a hare or deer is a clear example of how every small little detail increases the overall immersive experience that Kingdom Come sets out to deliver. Nothing is ever given to you, every rewarding experience is earned through toils and perseverance.

You never truly know what will happen next on your journey in and it’s this fear of failure that will continually have players trying to locate inns to sleep in or throwing back a Saviour Schnapps to ensure a retry if things take a turn for the worse. However, failure is treated completely different in Kingdom Come as it opens up other doors instead of closing one altogether. Failing simply means to locate another way to achieve success. Here is where players are rewarded for creative thinking. That being said, without risk there is no reward, so players should concentrate more on the experience in front of them instead of always worrying about their next move.

Kingdom Come’s combat difficulty is determined by your playstyle and how you approach each situation. Running head-on against a heavily armoured opponent will most likely lead to your death early on, so it is best to use caution and seek out alternative options to achieve success. Crouching and approaching an individual from behind gives you the option to perform a stealth takedown, granting you access to rob them without any resistance. This method does not guarantee success, so a reliance on your skill in combat will have a role to play at times. Players can also rob individuals as they sleep, but be extra careful not to raise them from their slumber as a jail cell will await your arrival. Possession of stolen goods is also risky business as you can randomly be selected by guards to have your inventory searched and any stolen goods will be confiscated. It’s best to hide any stolen items in your trunk until the stolen indicator disappears and you can continue on your journey with an improved arsenal.

Your journey will have you traversing the kingdom of Bohemia and the medieval atmospheric presence easily immerses the player in the role due to the sounds and visual representation. Travelling through the countryside is simply stunning as you see the lush grass and foliage encompass the majority of the area with a town and castle lingering in the distance. There are many beautiful areas to behold in Kingdom Come and it succeeds at making the player feel small in an expansive world that is brought to life through the dynamic aspects such as the ever-changing weather and how every citizen has their role to play in society. There are, however, several visual bugs that do occur from time to time, but they only momentarily detract from the overall experience that Warhorse Studios delivers.

Kingdom Come is an ambitious title that is a direct result of hard work and determination from the team at Warhorse Studios. It offers up a realistic and unique gameplay experience unlike any other. Without Kickstarter and the public reveal, Kingdom Come: Deliverance might not have ever seen the light of day. Without risk, there is no reward.

[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]

Feel free to follow Dave Molinski on Twitter @DaveMolinski

8.5
The Good
  • Unique gameplay mechanics
  • Addictive gameplay
  • Realistic and immersive experience
  • Visually stunning
  • In-depth combat system
The Bad
  • Minor visual glitches and bugs
  • 8.5
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