Friday 30 March 2018

Kingdom Come: Deliverance ★★★☆☆

It’s got swords and sandals, but is it too much to handle?

It’s fair to say that Kingdom Come: Deliverance was released in the wake of quite a substantial hype train, with over a million pounds pledged on Kickstarter by fans hungry for a medieval adventure on the scale of Skyrim but not crap like For Honor (sorry, Honor Hombres). The game promised a lot: a combat system based on real swordplay techniques, an organic world that lives and breathes with or without the player and the prospect of a realism driven gameplay experience, with diseases, fatigue and even washing yourself (a foreign concept to many, I know).

But would this realistic take on medieval hack and slash tropes pay off? Let’s all do our best to avoid the Black Death as we dive in to find out.

The Good

The first thing you’ll find when you jump into Kingdom Come: Deliverance is that the developers at Warhorse have created a fleshed out, well realised depiction of late Medieval Europe. Everything feels visceral, often brutal and everything you’d want from a period RPG. The unparalleled attention to detail is so meticulous that a day foraging in the woods will leave dirt on your clothes, meaning NPCs (non-playable characters to you normies out there) will look less favourably upon you and your shabby apparel.  

What’s more, the strive for realism extends to the game’s polished, well crafted combat system that has a steep but thoroughly rewarding learning curve. You start off more likely to injure yourself with a sword than any would-be assailant, and work your way until you’re a force to be reckoned with who can take on the toughest knights in the realm. What’s unique and refreshing is that this is done without the necessity for increased stats, magic potions or spells, but rather your own real world intuition and ability to adapt. Just don’t expect an easy ride!

The Bad 

With that being said, what’s not so polished is the graphics and overall engine. Unless you’re rocking the most elite systems, textures dropping in and out can somewhat spoil the immersion and the further you delve into KC:D, the more you’ll become aware of its criminally obtrusive glitches. With no autosave function, getting stuck in a broken texture is enough to see many a controller broken.

Finally, it’s worth noting that there’s a worrying lack of diversity amongst the character models within the game. The argument that this was a decision made in the name of historical accuracy is rendered suspect when one considers that Asian merchants were known to be travelling throughout Europe during this period. Hence, this supposed whitewashing can be attributed to at be lazy character design, and at worst racism. Even when the benefit of doubt is liberally applied, this is still a huge notch against the game, and one that is hard to ignore as you play.

The Verdict

Kingdom Come: Deliverance isn’t Skyrim 2.0, if that’s what you want, don’t get it. It doesn’t have the engine, the graphics or the accessibility - but that’s OK. To give credit to Warhorse on this one, they are trying to bring something to the game market that really hasn’t been executed before - a historical simulation in a story and action driven game. 

A flawed masterpiece that will hopefully be improved, in terms of inclusivity as well as mechanically, with future patches.

Sir Thomas Baker

Kingdom Come: Deliverance at CeX

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