Kingdom Come: Deliverance Delivers an Innovative RPG Experience

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High-profile games aren’t exactly innovative these days. Because of that, Warhorse Studios’ Kingdom Come: Deliverance comes as a revelation. Originally conceived as a crowd-funded project, Deliverance seeks to reinvent the RPG genre in a number of ways. Its adherence to historical accuracy and overall attention to detail is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Folks looking for something exceptional will find a lot to appreciate here.

I checked out Kingdom Come: Deliverance for the first time during last year’s PlayStation Experience event. This hands-off demonstration gave me a good understanding of what it had to offer. In particular, I found the team’s recreation of the Middle Ages truly impressive. I love Assassin’s Creed for the way it presents history, so Deliverance was right up my alley. Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy last week and finally played it myself. Despite being somewhat overwhelming, it offers one of the most unique gaming experiences I’ve had in a while.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance takes place in 1403 in the Kingdom of Bohemia. You play as Henry, who is the son of a blacksmith in the town of Skalitz. Henry’s easy-going life is disrupted when the kingdom’s civil war arrives at his doorstep. After surviving the massacre, Henry joins the service of his Lord, Radzig Kobyla. The nobleman is building a resistance against King Sigismund and his army of foreign mercenaries. Henry has much to learn before he can exact vengeance on those responsible for destroying his world.

Kingdom Come Deliverance - Henry

While Kingdom Come: Deliverance is unique, it features tropes familiar to RPG fans. These include a leveling system, dialogue trees, an explorable open world, items to equip, potions to brew, and more. Thanks to the focus on realism, these elements feel fresh. There are a ton of menus to sift through, and many gameplay systems to keep in mind. As players progress, the game’s deep mechanics start to click. This title demands a player’s full attention if they wish to get the most out of it. Rushing through things is not advised. In this case, patience truly is a virtue.

An early mission perfectly demonstrates the game’s dynamic nature. I had to sneak out of a castle. In order to do that, I needed to disguise myself as a soldier. After finding the armory, I attempted to break into a locker containing armor. A guard discovered me because I made too much noise during my attempted robbery. Lacking money to bribe the guard, I accepted jail time. After my stint in the slammer ended, they threw me out of the castle. I didn’t exactly complete my quest in an eloquent fashion, but I succeeded regardless.

If I was a better lock-picker, I could have walked out of the castle and ridden a horse to my objective. Instead, I had to walk and risk becoming victim to bandits. Not to mention the fact walking such a great distance took a toll on my stamina and overall energy. After every subsequent decision, I wondered how things would have transpired had I chosen a different path. This is true for titles with branching narratives, but it felt more pronounced here. The game makes you feel the weight of your actions in a meaningful way.

Kingdom Come Deliverance - battle

This isn’t a simulation game, but it’s very close. You’ll need to eat and sleep regularly. When wounded, you must take medicine and bandage wounds. Stamina depletes when running or engaging in combat. If Henry isn’t in tip-top shape, it will adversely affect actions. Combat becomes more difficult, and it’ll be easier to fail during conversations. If you don’t clean Henry up, he’ll look (and smell) like an absolute mess. Micromanaging can be tedious at times. However, given the realistic nature of Deliverance, this aspect felt proper. This isn’t to say I was a big fan of such micromanaging, but it does add to the game’s immersion.

Like most everything in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, one cannot simply master swordplay and archery. Considerable work must be put in before mastering the art of fighting. Players have to read an opponent’s movements carefully. This way, they’ll know when to strike, block, parry, or dodge. Movement is done with the left analog stick, while selecting a direction to strike is performed with the right analog. Slashing, stabbing, and blocking are done with the shoulder buttons. This is a bit much to understand at first, but it eventually makes sense. Once you get into the swing of things, combat becomes extremely enjoyable (and downright brutal).

Though combat is important in Deliverance, it isn’t the only means to progress through the story. Using skill points, players can create a character who uses words as his weapon. While some characters cannot be swayed, most can be convinced to go along with whatever you’re proposing. In truth, I found persuading folks to aid me much more satisfying than running them through with a sword. Having a silver tongue also comes in helpful if you aren’t particularly adept at combat.

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