Kingdom Come Deliverance Review: Blast From the Past

Kingdom Come Deliverance

Game: Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Consoles: PS4, Xbox One, PC (Reviewed)
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Warhorse Studios

(Review copy was supplied by the publisher.)

After meticulously sneaking my way through a bandit camp I finally killed the last of my enemies without being detected. As a sense of relief washed over, the sun finally began to break through the tall trees around me. I was awestruck by the still beauty of the forest and for a moment, however small, I forgot this was a video game. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is the rare type of video game that you can become utterly engrossed in. Whether it’s the richly detailed environment, beautiful visuals, or surprisingly complex combat, this RPG will grab ahold of you and never let go. While Kingdom Come: Deliverance isn’t a perfect game, there is a ton of enjoyment to be had for those looking for a truly rich RPG.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is set during the early 15th century in the war-torn Kingdom of Bohemia. You assume the role of a blacksmith’s son named Henry who loses everything after an army attacks his village and slaughters his family. This spurs Henry on a long and winding quest that sees him dealing with dangerous packs of bandits, warring nations, and selfish nobility. There’s a nice depth to the main story even if the rags to riches tale is nothing new. A lot of the cliches are alleviated by intriguing supporting characters that break past typical fantasy archetype like the spoiled heir.

Sadly the story gets largely weighed down by Henry, who is a rather dull protagonist. While you do have some influence in how he acts via dialogue options, his overall story gets lost in the chaos. That’s not to say Henry doesn’t have his moments, but when compared to some of the supporting characters he’s simply not as interesting. Thankfully, his voice actor saves a lot of the cheesy lines and breathes some life into Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s main character.

Kingdom Come Deliverance

That being said, the real star of the show is the fantastic gameplay and world that developer Warhorse Studios have brought to life. Every aspect feels like it has a loving touch and it’s hard not to admire the passion of the developers. Cities bustle with life, forests are quiet retreats for the hunters, and battlefields are chaotic madness. All of this blends together organically thanks to a lack of loading screens and random events that pop up all over the country. You may be riding down a road only to discover a dead body with a merchant who attempts to blame you for the corpse. This helps sell the sense of realism and immersion that Kingdom Come: Deliverance so desperately strives for.

Combat is also far more realistic than players may be ready for. This isn’t Skyrim and swinging your blade wildly is a good way to deplete yourself of stamina or outright die. Players can slash from one of five different directions or stab someone directly in the center. Attacks can be chained and using the momentum of your blade lets you quickly strike multiple areas on a foe. However, enemies can block just like you and won’t go down without a fight. In fact, most battles – especially early on – are quite difficult and demanding. Enemies don’t stand around waiting to get hit and they will actively counter or pursue you in combat. There were several instances when a foe literally beat me back into a corner and left me defenseless.

Complimenting this is a nice roster of weapons including maces, axes, and pole weapons, all of which have their own pros and cons. For those looking to use a bow, Kingdom Come: Deliverance removes any crosshairs and teaches players to determine where an arrow will go by sight. This difficulty defines a lot of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, as players will have a lot to consider. Not only do users have to contend with hunger and sleep, but there are a plethora of stats, skills, and status effects that can afflict Henry. Balancing and learning them all is key to your success and there is a nice level of customization for how you want to thrive in this world.

Kingdom Come Deliverance

However, this complexity is also a double-edged sword as Warhorse Studios does a fairly poor job of explaining a lot of these mechanics. Polishing off some soup only to discover you’ve overeaten and now have temporarily decreased stamina is quite frustrating. The game also has a very bad habit of dumping a ton of information on the player at once. There is a lot to consider and it can be completely overwhelming if you’re not used to this type of RPG. Now that’s not a fault of the game, but it would have been nice to see some aspects or tutorials built upon in meaningful ways.

Saving is also a burden and perhaps the biggest issue with Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Currently, the only way to save a user’s game is via very scattered Auto Saves or using one of three special alcoholic beverages. Players are restricted to three of these drinks, meaning you can only have three manual saves on you at any time. To get more Saving Schnaps, players either have to pay for new bottles in towns or get lucky enough to find them in the wild. Users can also craft them, but that can be tricky if you don’t focus on alchemy. Given almost every action in Kingdom Come: Deliverance can have radical effects on your story, the lack of saves removes any real experimentation. It’s punishing in the worst way and losing a ton of progress because you got caught in an ambush isn’t fun. Users should never have to choose between getting supplies for a journey or determining if they’ll need to save their game.

Visually, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is absolutely stunning on PC and the game ran at a smooth 60 FPS for most of my time. There were only occasional dips when there was a lot of action on screen, but it was never enough to deter my enjoyment of the game. Bugs were fairly minimal with the exception of one that cut all of the audio out of the game. However, I only experienced this once and it was before the hefty Day One Patch was installed. It’s remarkable how polished this game is on a visual level.


Bottom Line

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is one of the most engrossing and captivating RPGs I’ve ever played. Despite a lackluster lead, the story is entertaining and adds some fun twists to worn out medieval cliches. If you can get past the cumbersome information dumps and questionable save system you’ll find one of the most rewarding games of the generation. It’s easy to get lost for hours as you explore the countryside or attempt to increase Henry’s stats. Even the act of learning how to read is surprisingly fun and engaging. If you are looking for a new RPG to play then do not miss out on Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

Score 9/10

Pros:

  • Gorgeous World
  • Challenging and Fulfilling Combat
  • Great Supporting Characters
  • Tons of Customization

Cons:

  • Frustrating Save System
  • Henry Is Dull and Comically Earnest
  • Information, Stats, and Effects Need More Streamlining

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