Since the announcement of Kingdom Come: Deliverance I was enamoured with the concept, medieval settings call out to me with a soothing lullaby. This not only aims to send players back to the olden days, but in a more grounded manner than your typical fantasy style adventure, sign me up! Don’t get me wrong, I love the fantasy genre, but for a long time I have been craving a medieval RPG without the magic that usually gets thrown in. Historical accuracy more than voodoo, but can this deliver-ance the goods? (I’m proud of this.)
Henry is a son of a… blacksmith, and serves as the main protagonist who experiences his fair share of trials and tribulations. What I love about this character is that he his flawed in so many ways, by no means is he perfect, this makes it easier to relate to him. There will be players that can form that connection based on either his flaws or the horrible things he encounters on his journey.
The story sends you on an emotional rollercoaster, it’s rough at times, your morale is destroyed and then others are moments of pure elation. I was fully invested, so much so that I would take my time and listen to the dialogue in every cutscene and interaction, which there is a ton of. My favourite scene involved a certain blacksmith’s son, a priest and whole lot of alcohol, it blew my mind and it wasn’t even just a scene to watch, there were interactive portions which has you stumble around with very little grace. It was at this moment I stopped and was like, wow, such a contrast from some of the more soul-destroying scenes from earlier on, it’s refreshing.
Aside from that, I feel that I was constantly on my toes in terms of being surprised with the turn of events, I couldn’t accurately predict where a certain quest was going to end up or what would happen. This is incredibly important because come on, if you know what’s going to happen, where is the fun right?
The dialogue does leave something to be desired, it comes across as mostly cheesy which is only accentuated with some poor voice acting. Not every voice is bad, there are many characters that provide some quality performances but sometimes it feels like they get lost in the shuffle, or are just given some bad lines to read. Once again, not all of it, there are some expertly written scenes that invoke emotions in the player, in fact some of the cheese is what makes many of the scenes for me and caused laughter numerous times throughout.
I would recommend you prepare yourselves for a steep learning curve when it comes to both the gameplay and even more so, the combat. Starting out, the controls feel clunky and cumbersome with some button mapping decisions that I think are quite, out there. This lead to a lot of mishaps early on, but at some point, approximately five hours in, it just clicked and allowed me to enjoy the rest of this massive adventure relatively hiccup free.
The combat however, is tough and merciless, forcing players to take it slow and bide their time instead of going all out from the get go. Rushing a fight will likely end in the players demise which was a tough pill to swallow for me, due to my love of fast-paced action. That being said, it was refreshing to see this more thought-out defensive based approach, where defence is in fact the best offence. Chipping away at your opponent’s by blocking their hits and responding with a few attacks each time gets the job done, but the fights are longer, a huge chunk of overall playtime will be spent in these drawn out battles. Feels a little like unnecessary padding which got repetitive after a while.
Depth is something this game has in spades, in all aspects, from the quests, to the levelling and stats system, and from the dialogue to the minigame-like features. Looking at the stats pages you can see every skill you can level and what perks you can gain by doing so. The general areas like strength, agility and vitality are present but are joined by combat based stats such as defence, warfare and the weapon specific ones as well as miscellaneous skills like alchemy, drinking and horsemanship. There is plenty to really sink your teeth into and work on throughout your playthrough which I appreciated, there’s nothing worse than going through a massive open world and not have any side activities that you can spend some time doing, away from just questing.
One feature that I love when implemented correctly is the lock-picking mechanic, unfortunately it just comes across as a chore in its execution here. Not to say it’s bad, but I just don’t like how finicky it gets particularly in the harder difficulties. High skill, high reward is certainly right, but it just isn’t for me and maybe not worth doing to a lot of people.
There are plenty of quality of life features that I think make the overall experience more enjoyable and at times just more bearable. Fast travel is included and certainly needed unless you like riding on your horse back and forth over long distances constantly. Being able to move items from your inventory to your horse from anywhere, whenever you want is incredibly useful. The sleep and wait systems allow you to skip to whichever time you choose, for those quests that require you to perhaps meet someone at a specific time period of the day such as noon, dawn etc, this just helps smooth things along.
Bohemia is an absolutely stunning world that fills me with awe wherever my travels take me. Be it the run down formerly abandoned town of Pribyslavitz or the vast farming fields of Neuhof, it feels like you’ve been transported back in time, to discover this land for yourself. Beautiful scenery is both abundant and varied. Looking around you can’t help but marvel at the rich, vibrant colours being forced right into your eyeballs, trees look like actual trees, none of this super bright coloured fake game tree stuff I’m used to seeing. Also, tree physics, there is something soothing about watching the world around you sway with the wind, it really goes above and beyond to immerse the player.
The soundtrack is successful in adding another layer to the immersion and world-building, great moments feel all that greater because of the music that’s been carefully selected to play in the background at specific moments. Action sequences go from good to epic and emotional scenes feel heavier on the soul. Every sound effect is authentic to the era that Warhorse endeavoured to deliver, the clash of metal, thud of wood and the horse hooves meeting stone, it all sounds natural.
For the nuisances and personal issues that I have with the game, it more than makes up for it in sheer beauty and storytelling. The gameplay can feel like a bit of a slog, in combat and in general. However, I still enjoyed my time roaming Bohemia on my trusty steed and serving justice across the region. By serving justice, I mean stealing and profiting wherever possible, but hey, same thing right. This is certainly a game to witness for yourself. Thy Kingdom Come, this review is done.
OVERALL: 8.2/10 – GREAT
Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)