The announcement of Kingdom Come: Deliverance caused an expectation for its rough and brutal approach to realism with the premise of historically portraying the Middle Ages in a narrative game, vast, with customizable options and an open and dynamic world where actions have consequences. In this way, the presentation of the game gained traction among CRPG fans who were weary of heroic feats and fire breathing dragons and, above all, super simplified gaming systems. After almost 4 years of development, Kingdom Come: Deliverance debuts and the result is a mixture of satisfaction with the promises fulfilled and discomfort inherent in his ambition.
Kingdom Come: Deliveranceis a first person open cut game that belongs to the genre CRPG. Here you control Henry, an apprentice blacksmith who is stripped of his future when a mercenary force attacks his village. Our character will find his place in the world under the command of a nobleman and will be heroically involved in a drama that will change the geography of the place where he lives. The plot is a historical representation of the period that lived the kingdom of Bohemia – now Czech Republic – in 1403. According to the game, the eldest son of King Wenceslas IV is kidnapped by his half brother Sigismund and forced to renounce the throne, besides launching a terrible campaign against the king’s allies. If you look for these names in the encyclopedia, you may have a surprise that will ruin some moments of the game because it pretends to be historically accurate.
Like any good exponent of the genre CRPG, Kingdom Come: DeliveranceIt allows you to develop your character’s abilities in different areas. Henry gains experience and raises levels completing missions and unlocks passive benefits to modify his attributes. This also happens with the rest of his abilities that grow with the repetition of actions. To increase your literacy you need to read; to be stronger and more agile he exercises running and jumping or fighting behind the taverns; his knowledge about war increases when he fights with the sword and when hunting becomes a better archery shooter. This system of progression is highly organic and credible given the humble nature of the character, which, to some extent, is a breath of fresh air for the genre because sometimes it’s just fun to be a nobody who even aspires to be a better alcoholic .
“This system of progression is highly organic and credible given the humble nature of the character”
When Henry gets enough ranges in his abilities he gets passive bonuses, perks, however, rather than unconditional aids, they tend to have adverse effects to specialize according to the fantasy you have of him. In short, this system is always one step ahead and forces you to think seriously about how you want your growth to be.
Behind the development of Henry there are other systems that print touches of realism, as mechanics that intertwine to give the impression that the character has physical needs. In Kingdom Come: Deliverance Henry must eat and sleep to maintain good health, which is introduced through a wellness system with values of Energy, Food and Health. Energy represents Henry’s well-being and is related to food and rest; when Henry eats insufficiently he goes into a state of famine and when he does not sleep he simply tires. The effects can get stacked and affect Henry’s abilities to the point where he gets to nod for fatigue and close the eyelids during the middle of the game.
There are other values such as health, although they are not as severe as the previous ones. This section affects Henry’s relationship with the world around him. For example, the characters react to their appearance, so they will have a different response when presented with muddy garments. This problem is solved by quickly washing your clothes with water or by contracting the services of public toilets that also heal. On the other hand, these factors are used as forms of intimidation: with the blood of the fighting that remains on his clothes, Henry looks menacing and is less likely to doubt his word when he says he will blow someone up. This system has a variable balance that you should use according to the context where you are; The same applies to other clothes that follow a status rule: the more expensive it is, the appearance and presence in the game world increases. This way you will not be successful in high society with a vagabond appearance and fine clothes will not work in the underworld either.
Regarding the structure of the game, we find that it follows the proven and perfected formula of the open-world genre. Here you will find main missions that advance the history and secondary missions and tasks that the inhabitants entrust to you. It is important to note that the dynamics of time go beyond sending NPCs to sleep when it is night; here you have to be at the right time and place when they ask you to help the inhabitants to prevent them from undertaking missions without support – which is bad news. The story of Henry has epic moments that are full of satisfaction, from reconnaissance missions, fortification attacks and hunting trips to detective sequences in serious situations and other really comical ones, like a fun evening with a priest of questionable morals. Nevertheless,
“Follow the proven and perfected formula of the open-world genre”
The element of experience that we enjoyed the most was the power of choice over the game world and we celebrate that Warhorse Studios does not take you by the hand to the pieces of content with a marker in the middle of the screen. No, here you must find the place where the action happens, which generates a powerful feeling of exploration and discovery, especially when you find an enemy camp after sweeping an entire forest for almost 30 minutes. In this way you really feel that your character grows and is admirable when you realize that he is more agile, strong and intelligent than when he started, and that feeds the fantasy that Henry is in the midst of a heroic adventure and that his days as simple blacksmith finished.
The previous systems tell us that the character develops in a dynamic world that reacts not only with his presence and physical appearance, but also with his actions. If you act like a rascal, it is natural for the inhabitants to see you as a dross and that attracts the attention of the guards, while well-intentioned actions change the attitude of the inhabitants until they shout your name and thank you when you enlighten their existence with your presence.
The next thing to deal with is action and blood. In Kingdom Come: Deliverancea combat system awaits you with light touches of depth and high doses of brutality. When you bat to duel you assume a stay where you choose the direction of your blows thanks to a grid that indicates up to 9 different trajectories. Thus, you can hit the opponent’s flanks, attack from above, below and to the center with lunges. On the other hand, to defend yourself you deflect the enemy weapon by pressing a command and, when you synchronize the defense in time, you unleash what is called a perfect blockade. This system is complemented by a section of combos where the consecutive hits from different trajectories to execute special movements with alternate effects, such as hitting the head of the opponent with the sword knob. This system is based on Stamina, indicated by a yellow bar,
The combat is complemented by a system of localized damage that affects the parts of Henry’s body. After receiving punishments in the torso will be injured and that affects their abilities and if the damage is acute will begin to bleed, which drains your maximum health points until you reach your final destination if you do not address their wounds properly. The same happens with the extremities; an injury in the arms consumes greater amounts of endurance with each blow and the feet force you to move slowly.
“The maximum point you find when all systems are combined”
To mitigate the damage you must wear armor that has attributes according to the material with which it is made. For example, pieces with steel plates are great protections for their resistance to thrusts and cuts – own of swords – but tend to be weak against blunt attacks of clubs and axes. However, the protection has a cost: it is heavy and noisy, which affects some tasks related to stealth, not to mention that they are extremely expensive. On the other hand, these defensive garments are dressed in layers beginning with the inner garments -like nightgowns-, passing to intermediate layers where the steel mesh and coat cuffs in the outer parts are accommodated.
Combat is a very brutal experience, especially when you face groups of opponents who show no mercy; It is demanding and requires concentration. The maximum point you find when all systems are combined and you insist on being victorious; It is sensational to watch and listen to the steels collide, while you wait for the enemy attack to defend yourself and take advantage of the tiny openings in the defense of the aggressor.
Another point to emphasize about the experience is showy and we do not doubt that it will leave you surprised. We refer to the cinematography where the high levels of production of the game come out, with excellent frames and transitions of angles that capture the essence of each shot to communicate the message in the best possible way. Unfortunately, this work is relegated to certain dramatic cinematic sequences, where the essential and most important points of the story are developed; the bulk of the shots are simple compositions where the characters pose in the first frame to exchange dialogues similar to deliveries like Mass Effect .
“the storage system fails to understand that significant actions take place”
In its current state, Kingdom Come: Deliverance employs a storage system that is not very strange to the extreme that causes the odd headache because it is dark and unorthodox, since it saves your progress arbitrarily and lends itself to losing valuable hours. progression, because it is activated when you interact in dialogues related to a mission. In the worst case, you may have an urgency that requires your attention and force you to end your game session, which will leave you without your valuable progress.
The alternative is a special potion that is finite in your inventory and allows you to save whenever you want … however, it costs high amounts of resources that are scarce in the early stages and, if you decide to create them, you will find that the task is delayed. This gives us to understand that the storage system fails to understand that significant actions, typical of an open scale game, occur outside the primary and secondary missions. By the way, the developer has commented that this system will be modified with patches that modify its behavior.
Now, as you can tell, in eagerness to reach certain levels of realism, Kingdom Come: Deliverancethe existence is too complicated. While in other games of the same court you get a result by pressing a command, here the effect is achieved -in the best case- by executing 2 or more actions. For example, the alchemy: in other deliveries it is enough to approach the alchemist station and prepare the formulas, as long as you have the necessary materials. Instead, the steps within this game are many and complex: to begin with, you need to learn a couple of alchemy recipes that you buy with the apothecary, that is, read the ingredients and the preparation in a book, and with this is implied that you need to know how to read; Right away, you have to follow the preparation instructions that can be actions such as boiling water, grinding ingredients, distilling them and mixing them in a strict sequence of steps.
Other complications have to do with stealth systems. In other deliveries it is only necessary to have the necessary ranges and assume a low position, press a button and choose the items to steal to obtain the desired results. In Kingdom Come: Deliverance to succeed in the arts of other people requires light and dark clothes to emit as little noise as possible and increase your chances of success in night scenes … in addition to a lot of patience, especially when you steal objects from other characters.
The ability to poke pockets works in 2 stages: first, when you “feel” the bags of the characters and then the action of stealing. When you initiate a robbery a counter marks the seconds that you insist on performing the action, which will help you in the next stage. Afterwards, the counter retracts and it is time to steal an item that will appear hidden initially and that requires that you position a cursor on the object to reveal what it is and then take the cursor to the exit button before the end of time.
Opening locks is another type of luck that requires the same investment of time and happens through a small minigame similar to other deliveries of the same cut. To be successful you must move the bolt and apply force with your tools at the same time, that is, press a button and continuously move the mouse or stick at a specific point. At the beginning, as you are inexperienced, you will break dozens of tools that are very expensive in the early stages.
Although the above may give the impression that the game has flaws in its design, the truth is that they are systems implemented to increase immersion. Everything indicates that Kingdom Come: Deliverance emulates the requirements and needs of diverse actions in a logical and entertaining way, without becoming too complicated. Yes, they take time and sometimes they are a nuisance, like the little minigame where you sharpen your sword, but we talk about a game that aims to be different. In this way, we enjoy interacting with the multitude of activities because we see them as challenges that hide great rewards for those who dedicate the time necessary to be proficient.
On the other hand, Kingdom Come: Deliveranceit is too ambitious a delivery for its benefit, so it suffers considerably in technical departments. Needless to say, the optimization of the game is mediocre and that the falls of frames per second are severe when several actors converge in a closed shot, but that is the least of the evils because you will find other technical problems that translate into soapy worlds when You travel quickly with your mount from one town to another, where nightmare NPCs without faces and limbs await you and you can also see them with their neutral values of animation as if they were the Vitruvian Man of da Vinci. Also, long and annoying load screens are common between dialogues and, on one occasion, we unleashed 2 infinite screens that forced us to restart the game (and lose all progress). Nor should you miss that some animations of the character do not feel right; For example, it is common to teleport in front of ladders and see a poor job of facial animations. Finally, artificial intelligence is extremely mediocre with epic battle scenes that are spoiled by warriors in a firm position without any trace of intelligence.
“It is too ambitious a delivery for your benefit”
In conclusion, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a difficult title and maybe many who usually prefer rewarding and simple systems will take time to enjoy the experience … but when all the gears of the system click is when you really get to enjoy all the eccentricities and decisions of unorthodox design for the current mainstream standard. It is a delight to get lost in the woods to hunt, gallop in the meadows, get caught between the geometry of the bushes and lose hours of progress when bandits assault you by surprise. Play Kingdom Come: Deliverance evokes deliveries from the old school: the great immersion in the world is the level of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowindand when you manipulate the environment and undertake stealth avenues you realize that you have played something similar within the same lines of games as Hitman and Thief . The title is a learning experience in many ways because it teaches you some history and it is a great lesson that in the market there is enough space and need games with complex mechanics. In short, our experience is positive and we are completely satisfied with Kingdom Come: Deliverance . We recommend it without problems, although with care for its numerous rough edges.