What is it?
A first-person, open-world medieval RPG built with a fair amount of historical accuracy and grounded in a sense of realism; eat, sleep and don’t go expecting any fire breathing dragons.
Is it any good?
That depends, do you like games that place realism ahead of unadulterated fun? Kingdom Come Deliverance (KCD) aims to bring a high level of authenticity to its setting of Bohemia and whilst I’ve never visited that location in real life, I do agree that both the atmosphere and design is impressive. Its story, too, is engrossing and there are plenty of characters waiting to give you odd side-quests, one of which includes hunting down a ring and digging up an old grave to try and obtain it.
It’s just a shame that I can’t go off exploring and getting into fist fights without diving into its steep, and often bewildering, learning curve. Aside from the need to keep your character fed and well-rested, training in the art of combat requires a lot of time to master and will likely test even the most seasoned gamer. Most of the time I found fighting enemies to be a clunky and frustrating experience, especially after getting used to the likes of Skyrim which is easy to pick up n’ play.
What I did find enjoyable is the fact that I wasn’t playing as a character who felt like a superhero from the very beginning. Instead, I was cast as the son of a blacksmith on a journey to avenge the death of my parents. I also had to learn everything from scratch, including: how to heal any wounds, how to lock pick and trying not to get killed by a mere peasant. I also loved the amount of options available if I got caught by a nearby guard after causing mischief. I could talk my way out of a situation, bribe whoever caught me, flee, or accept jail time. Once, I accepted time in a cell and ended up dying after a fire broke out. I didn’t expect that to happen. Plus, in a cool nod to its more grounded approach, when you don a set of armour and have your face covered, you’ll only be able to see through the small metal holes in its design. Weigh up your options carefully, because everything comes at a cost.
KCD’s journey from successful Kickstarter to launch is admirable. Its developers at Warhorse Studios have clearly poured their hearts and souls into crafting a hugely ambitious adventure. Only trouble is, Kingdom Come Deliverance feels under baked for a majority of the time.
Anything bad to report?
Sadly, there’s quite a lot. Whilst a ton of content is packed into KCD, at almost every turn it’s bursting at the seems and, on PS4 at least, seems to have trouble keeping its stitches in place. Whether it’s overly-clunky animations, broken quest lines or the archaic save system that forces you to find a special drink to lockdown your progress, there are things that need fixing and other bits that need outright removing.
Should you buy it?
If you’re looking for a relatively accurate medieval game that takes cues from Skyrim but place an emphasis on realism, then perhaps you’ll have a good time. If, however, you want an experience that features combat that’s easy to pick up and doesn’t regularly remind you to keep rested and well fed, then save those pennies or buy Skyrim (if you haven’t already).