Kingdom Come: Deliverance thrills players with realistic, immersive world
February 21, 2018
Warhorse Studio’s “Kingdom Come: Deliverance” hit physical and digital shelves Tuesday, Feb. 13 across the world. On my way home from school, I rushed to buy the store’s last copy, ran home, and put the disc in my PS4. A game I had been anticipating for years, I was terrified it wouldn’t live up to my expectations.
I was entertained with some contextual background information while the game loaded and was dropped into the shoes of young Henry, the son of a blacksmith in Skalitz, a small village in early fifteenth century Bohemia, a region in the Holy Roman Empire. Lush forests, pristine rolling hills, and a world teeming with adventure surrounded me.
The first of the many things that sets “Deliverance” apart from other role-playing games is the player’s pre-made character. He’s no mighty, supernatural hero- he’s a nobody, regularly running errands for his parents and helping his father at the forge. The player is introduced to the game’s mechanics in a few of these errands that, while a bit dull, are necessary for a tutorial in a game that prides itself on realism.
“Deliverance” is no simple game. Players must ensure that Henry remembers to eat food before it rots, sleep before he collapses, and wash his clothes from time to time, unless, of course, he wants to use his bloody gambeson to intimidate his foes. Players can explore the real towns and settings of the world on foot or on a horse Henry must take care of and drink alcohol, pick locks, trade with merchants, flirt with women, hunt game, gamble at taverns, help villagers with daily affairs, and various other things that even I haven’t yet come across. But perhaps the most realistic aspect of the game is its combat system. Henry can wield a variety of weapons, including different types of swords, clubs and axes. Based on medieval fencing manuals, combat includes attacking from different player-chosen angles, jabbing, blocking, parrying and feinting. In addition, shooting a bow is much more challenging than in other titles; “Deliverance’s” HUD does not include a crosshairs, making aiming difficult.
The game’s main quest can be a bit dull at times, and restricts the player’s possible desire to explore other aspects of the game, but also takes Henry on plenty of unexpected turns. For example, I found myself spending a wild night with a priest who talked of the church’s corruption by day but turned out to be, well, a grave sinner at night. He was in such a bad state by the next morning that I filled in for him at Mass, and was legitimately worried I’d prematurely start the Protestant reformation.
“Deliverance”, however, is not without its problems. Graphics take a while to render, depending on the player’s settings. Character’s movements, especially when chatting, can seem a bit bizarre at times, and, while realistic, the fighting system is a bit clunky. Other than cosmetic issues, the game suffers from a few playability issues as well. Lockpicking is ridiculously difficult, for example, and after my sixth or seventh broken pick I yelled some things at my television that I regret. The bartering system is a bit difficult to wrap one’s head around, and objectives that should be simple, like finding a town’s bailiff to have a chat about joining the guard, can become half-hour-long searches for where in the vicinity he might spend the day. If the player dies the loading screens to respawn take too long, and “Deliverance’s” insistence on allowing the player to save his or her game only after completing major objectives (or by drinking an ale called ‘Saviour Schnapps’) is more frustrating than it is compelling.
The frustrations of “Deliverance’s” large scale and focus on realism are overcome by its massive scale, unique nature, beautiful world and engaging quest. Complimenting these are an extraordinary soundtrack and excellent historical accuracy. Overall, the title is one of the gaming community’s finest, and is well worth even a veteran role-playing gamer’s cash.
Notice: “Kingdom Come: Deliverance” is rated M for mature.