A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to stay at a medieval castle, in order to celebrate the latest look at a brand new role-playing game called Kingdom Come: Deliverance (KCD). In the interest of full disclosure, all of my expenses – except for travel to the venue – were fulfilled by Koch Media, the PR company handling the event.
Before siding with video game publisher Deep Silver, Kingdom Come: Deliverance started life as an ambitious Kickstarter campaign started by Warhorse Studios that ended up raising over one million pounds in funds. Set in the medieval Kingdom of Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic to you and me), Kingdom Come is a story-driven, single-player experience that follows the son of a blacksmith after his family are killed via a series of tragic events. In a similar fashion to the ever-popular Skyrim, KCD features branching quest lines and an emphasis on exploration and experimenting with different play styles.
The narrative in Deliverance is the focal point of your journey as you travel across Bohemia and alongside the promise of in-depth quests to complete, Warhorse has been keen to present a realistic combat mechanic, something I spent most of my time getting stuck into.
Don’t go expecting to jump into a fight with a couple of button presses to hit, block and counter, this isn’t a Rocksteady Batman game. Firstly, you must prepare and decide which armour you’re going to wear, as well as which weapons you’re going to equip. Plus, will you don a full set of armour? If you do, then expect your vision to be greatly impaired as you squint to look through the tiny holes on your helmet’s visor. This game may not be wholly realistic, but there are many aspects that keep this title a grounded experience.
When you do eventually gear up (because there ain’t no pausing during combat to change your loadout), you must then carefully navigate the complexities of landing a successful blow against an enemy. You don’t just hold up a sword and swing it, instead you must choose which angle you want to swing your sword from (there are six points), as well as anticipating where your enemy will attack from as well. Taking all of this into consideration is vital if you also want to counter and incoming attack.
In Kingdom Come you have to use your brain more than your muscles to overcome an impending threat.
Alternatively, you could give up during a fight. There were a couple of times during which I got caught lock picking a door, or stealing from a guard whilst I stood directly in front of him. As you’d expect this results in a bit of a scuffle, but if the thought of combat gets a bit much then you can take the chance to talk your way out of fighting, accept a bit of jail time or, as a last resort, can attempt to flee the scene. The ability to do this isn’t something I’ve ever come across before in a video game, so it was a nice surprise to get a fresh option to avoid combat.
After spending more than three hours playing the game (mostly punching cows and getting into trouble), one thing is crystal clear: Kingdom Come: Deliverance is essentially a B-movie version of Skyrim. It doesn’t feature the same script writing and overall production value of Bethesda’s fantasy RPG epic, but it does present a detailed world filled with tasks to complete, people to meet and mysteries to uncover.
Stick tuned for more info on KCD when it releases in early 2018.