Role Playing Games can live and die off of that first word – your Role. There is a lot of flexibility that comes with how you develop your role in a specific universe. Are you a thief who works stealthily in the night? Are you an armored warrior who dual-welds his or her way to victory? Or do you charm your way to riches and fame? We have had plenty of RPGs that allow you to become all powerful. But when was the last time you took on the role of a commoner in a historically accurate setting? In Kingdom Come: Deliverance, your role may not let you become all-powerful, but it will reward you as you accomplish difficult things.
A lot can be said about the ambitious nature surrounding Kingdom Come: Deliverance. KCD is a medieval RPG with approximately 100 hours worth of content. It gives you countless ways to accomplish an objective. Great care was taken with its historical accuracy and realistic features. There are thousands of lines of dialogue. The ambition pays off as you start getting lost in the story and time period.
You notice the ambitious nature from the very beginning. In one of the first cutscenes (and there are many, many more throughout the game), you will be treated to tons of information about the time period – noteworthy kings and nobles of during that time period, town names and geographical locations, wars and rumors of wars, just to name a few. This vast amount of information leads to some pretty heavy exposition from some characters. But I believe this exposition is necessary. You can’t have a historically accurate representation of a time period with being told the facts and things of interest. I was worried about the number of notes needed to understand the entire story, but there is a convenient place in the menus to review the rich history of Bohemia.
Now, let’s talk a little about the story. In KCD, you don’t start off as some lone warrior. You begin as the son of a humble blacksmith. Sure, you have dreams and ambitions of your own. But there are plenty of people, including your father, who remind you of your place in this world. You are in a lower class. You can’t do anything you want without consequences. You also are a terrible fighter. Don’t expect your years of video game training to help you out at the start of KCD. You will get hurt (and possibly killed) many times.
But your weak beginning drives you to become better. And there are multiple ways to accomplish this. One of my absolute favorite parts of KCD is the ability to get better by doing. You won’t earn XP on any of your missions, which means you can’t pick and choose what you level up. You get better by doing the activity that you want to improve. Do you suck at sword fighting? I sure did!! I had to find people to train me and I had to get into plenty of fights in order to get better. Do you need to improve your speech or work on bartering skills? Then do it! There are plenty of opportunities in a 100-hour game to practice and become the character you want to be.
Warhorse Studios made a tremendous effort, not only in historical accuracy but in the gameplay. Your life in KCD is, in my opinion, some of the most realistic RPG elements that I have ever seen. Take sword fighting for example. Your movements can be precise, with a wonderful blend of defense and offense execution. You have 5 sword positions to choose from, and observing your opponent with help you determine where to block and where to strike. More movements can be added through training, so always be on the lookout for someone to teach you new skills. In a world full of hack and slash, it is nice to see some thought put into the combat.
And this type of realism can also be seen in other activities. You must eat to survive, but eating too much (or eating bad food) can harm you. You can trade and barter for things you need. You need actual sleep to keep yourself healthy. There are also real consequences to your actions. Not only will you be thrown in jail for nefarious activities, but your reputation takes a dramatic hit. It may not be possible to barter if you are known in town as a thief. Guards will put you in your place if you decided to get violent. I understand that it is a little silly to talk about the ‘realism’ of a video game, but Warhorse Studios should be praised for the amount of time and thought that was put into the gameplay elements.
Some things can be very challenging for some gamers. There is an autosave feature, but you need a special concotion to save at random times. These can be found or made with Alchemy. Be warned – I find that alchemy is extremely hard to get right, and you can do more damage to yourself if you brew the wrong thing. I recommend looking up some tutorials before you try. Lockpicking has been addressed in a recent patch, but it is still challenging. Be patient as you go through this game. And make sure to play again. There are several ways to get past certain challenges, so you can replay quite often.
As you may or may not know, there are some bugs that need to be worked out. But these bugs are common in massive RPGs like this one. I personally will not lower a score because of these types of bugs. Hell, remember all the bugs that New Vegas had at the beginning? And it still was rated pretty favorably on Metacritic. I would say that you should expect your typical bugs that come with huge open world games (clipping, getting stuck on things, etc). So far since launch, Warhorse has put out a few patches, so I am confident that the team will continue to address bugs that come up.
KCD is a visually stunning game. I have a pretty decent graphics card, and the world looks amazing. There are a lot of detail that is put into the nature scenes, as well as lighting throughout the day and night. My PC is pretty standard, so I can imagine the game looking even better with a top of the line card and specs. The facial expressions and mouth movements are matched very closely to the dialogue. I did see a few instances where mouth movements were a bit off, but nothing that took away from my gaming experience.
I encourage you to take a chance on Kingdom Come: Deliverance. The amount of content is staggering, so you are getting your money’s worth. This is not the game for someone who wants to be an unbeatable warrior and hack their way to victory. Kingdom Come is for those who want to be fully immersed in a critical time in world history. It was not easy in the 1400’s, and Kingdom Come shows off that violent and difficult world with a rich story and immersive gameplay elements. Kingdom Come gives you the best opportunity to take the role of a nobody and transform them into the character you truly want to be.
Note: GameOctane Editor Ryan Welch received a code for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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Rich historical story
Hours of content
True RPG elements
Typical bugs for an open world RPG
Can be too challenging for some
Bit of a poor save system