Kingdom Come: Deliverance is not your friendly neighborhood RPG. There is no hand holding and there are no epic missions to save the world, but there are lots of people who want you dead and have the means to see it done. There is also a warmongering tyrant who has taken away everything that you know and love and then.. there is you and how awful you are at everything. It’s wonderful.
Players begin the game as protagonist Henry, who after a brief introduction, is given a list of errands to complete for his father (the town blacksmith). The list contains tasks like picking up supplies in town, collecting money from a town drunk and bringing your father a mug of cold ale, all working towards the end goal of completing the forging of a sword for your local Manor Lord. “Simple enough” I thought to myself and went about my various tasks. After some brawling and some feces-throwing, I managed to turn in all of the requested items except one… the ale that I delivered was too warm because I had taken too long to deliver it. I grinned at the small but exciting mechanic and the implication it brought with it: what I do and more importantly how I do it, matters.
From the start, Kingdom Come: Deliverance begins to teach you important lessons about how to interact with the world that is war-torn Bohemia. These lessons include prioritizing tasks, considering all of the options before you act, not practicing with lock picks while there are guards around and that Henry is not a natural sword fighter. Really, Henry is not a natural anything, to begin with, and that is part of this game’s charm. It’s a mechanic that forces you to learn a given skill, both on screen and with your controller. Henry not only earns skill points for sword fighting by fighting with a sword, but you as the player become more proficient and comfortable with the intricate combat system as you test out combos and different styles of fighting.
The environment itself is well detailed and feels alive, both in cities and the surrounding countryside. Within the artfully reconstructed walls of a given city, NPCs engage in arguments and brawls or gamble and drink with one another. Out in the wild, bandits will set up ambushes on the road or beggars will murder nobles for the chance at a few coins. As Henry, you can decide to engage in as many or as few of these encounters as you wish. My recommendation? Make sure you get yourself a horse before you try and outrun any bandits.
There are elements that don’t work as well and are not as polished, though in my opinion they are not anywhere near game breaking and are largely overshadowed by the sheer amount of fun this game has proven to be. Some issues of note include character and environment glitches, like NPCs dissapearing into walls, graphical clipping and voice acting that leaves much to be desired; some old looking NPCs sound young and most NPCs voices do not sync well with their lips. Keeping on with the NPCs: many character models and emotes are tired, bland and reused.
Overall: The story is engaging, the world is expansive, the combat is exciting and rewards attention and patience. The dashes of realism are just enough to make one worry about if Henry has gone too long without eating or how his progress with learning to read is coming and the sheer amount of ways you can choose to play through the various quests and scenarios make this an immersive open world experience that I would recommend to anyone looking for something different.
I am very much looking forward to continuing my play through of the game and exploring each and every nook and cranny.