Kingdom Come Deliverance doesn’t seem like a game created by an indie developer. In writing a Kingdom Come Deliverance review, it’s hard not to compare it to AAA titles.
Especially one in particular; Skyrim.
Initially, it’s hard not to compare Kingdom Come Deliverance to Skyrim. After playing Kingdom Come Deliverance for only half an hour or so, those comparisons fade away and it starts to stand on its own.
Sure, it’s played from the first-person perspective and it’s got a medieval setting, but that’s where the similarities end. Skyrim is about legend, myth and magic. Kingdom Come Deliverance is about hardships, royal feuds and life as a peasant in 15th-century Bohemia.
Kingdom Come Delivrance neither looks nor plays like an indie game. It’s a stunning achievement for a small team and a crowd-funded title.
Kingdom Come Deliverance Review
From the paragraph above, it may seem that Skyrim has it all and Kingdom Come Deliverance doesn’t. To a degree that’s true, but not in a way that detracts from its worth.
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Playing Kingdom Come Deliverance is a very different experience to almost any other RPG. Rather than focus on the fantastical, it’s grounded in human history.
Kingdom Come Deliverance has a slavish devotion to realism, in a way we don’t often see in video games. Survival games tend to force players to manage stats aggressively and so too does Kingdom Come Deliverance, but not quite so heavy-handedly.
Its closest compatriot would be Fallout: New Vegas. You need to managed sleep, hunger, thirst on top of cleanliness, the condition of equipment and clothing, injuries, sickness and more.
While it’s not onerous to do so, it does tend to constantly weigh on your mind while playing. It lends an air of desperation to proceedings, which is fitting given the setting and the narrative.
Good King Wenceslaus
Kingdom Come Deliverance is set during the early 15h-century as war is brewing between Hungarian king Sigismund and his half-brother, the rightful king, Wenceslaus IV.
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Cast in the role of Henry, a young blacksmith’s son, players will be thrown into the conflict against their will. During War, tragedy falls to those who least deserve it and this rings true for Henry.
Serving as the conduit and avatar for the player, Henry, his vulnerability and his likability make for a great protagonist. His changed attitude, feelings towards authority and questioning of the status quo helps ease the player into this incredibly foreign world.
Players can explore 16 square kilometres of Bohemia which is now part of the Czech Republic. This may seem like a small map compared to other open-world titles and it is, but it won’t feel like it when you’re playing.
Traversing the world is slow-going. On horseback, things are sped up a little, but when you go off-road the speed is dramatically reduced. You’re also much more likely to miss things. Missing things is almost a guarantee with how packed with activities, missions and content Kingdom Come Deliverance is.
The Holy Roman Empire
A lot of time in Kingdom Come Deliverance is going to be spent travelling between points A and B. Fetch quests are a reality of open-world games, but thankfully the window dressing makes playing more interesting.
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The gameplay systems, when they work together, make for an incredibly complex, yet satisfying experience. Combat, in particular, is a standout.
Swordfighting is a much more intricate version of the system found in For Honor. It’s all about timing, precision and knowing when and where to strike. Unfortunately, sometimes it all feels like simply mashing the buttons works best.
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When it does come together, it’s sublime, it’s just not altogether consistent. By far the least functional system in Kingdom Come Deliverance is the lockpicking mini-game. Playing it on console is nigh on impossible, so picking locks is best avoided.
At least until a patch is released.
In a system reminiscent of older Elder Scrolls games, the more Henry performs an action the better his stats will be. As a lowly peasant, he’s pretty unskilled, to begin with. Gradually over time, he becomes half decent at most things.
In true open-world RPG fashion, these stats play an important role as they inform how you’ll play and complete missions. There are always multiple ways to complete missions and different outcomes depending on how you do so. The way you play will shape the way you move forward. Your abilities are shaped by your actions.
Kingdom Come Deliverance isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely charming in its way. It’s slow going in the beginning, especially as you learn how to manage Henry’s needs, equipment, quests and more.
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There’s a lot to remember and there’s a lot to do. Not all of it’s interesting or even fun, but something about it just clicks. I never found myself bored or annoyed while playing Kingdom Come Deliverance.
Bemused yes and perplexed too, but never bored. Not many games allow you to explore our past in such detail and so realistically. Assassin’s Creed may transport players to the past, but nothing about it is realistic.
Kingdom Come Deliverance isn’t quite a sim, but it’s sim-ish. If stat management isn’t your thing, then probably steer clear. If RPGs are your jam and you’re a history buff, Kingdom Come Deliverance may scratch an itch you never knew you had.
It’s not perfect by any stretch, but there really is something about it that makes it a game you’ll have a hard time putting down.
Kingdom Come Deliverance was reviewed on PS4 using a digital copy provided to PowerUp! by the publisher.
Game Title: Kingdom Come Deliverance
Immersion in Medieval Bohemia - 9/10
Obstinate adherence to realism - 5/10
The meshing of systems, when they work - 7/10