Kingdom Come Deliverance is an open world RPG, but unlike most of the genre it’s set in a real time/place (Bohemia [roughly, the Czech Republic], 1403) and has a heavy emphasis on realism. So, no magic, no dragons, the buildings actually visited, photographed and presented in game as close to reality as possible, etc.
Now, the realism slant has intrigued a lot of people but also divided them. Some think of historical immersion and want to throw themselves into the early 15th century. Others think it’s going to mean a lot of micromanagement.
The game is out for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and the version I’m playing is for the PS4.
I’ve been following this game’s development for a long time, and here are my early thoughts on Kingdom Come Deliverance, specifically focusing on the realism aspect. For comparisons, I’ll largely reference Fallout 4’s survival mode, because a huge number of people have played that and, as an open world RPG, it’s broadly similar.
There are only three ways to save: automatic checkpoints, drinking a Saviour Schnapps (you get given some of these early on), and sleeping in a bed. I like most aspects of realism in the game, but this one needs a small tweak. As with the Fallout 4 survival mode, the addition of an exit save would be immensely beneficial because if you’ve played through a tough half hour but you know the nearest save point is some way off it’s not great to be faced with a choice of giving up all that progress *or* slogging through when you have other things to do. Until/unless they had the exit save feature, I’d recommend being cunning and always having Saviour Schnapps on you, and use them as an emergency exit save option. The alternative is to power nap. You can just sleep for an hour in the middle of the day to save it.
Nourishment happens much more on a graded curve than Fallout 4, which had a smaller number of more severe steps. In addition, it’s possible to over-eat (as I discovered after consuming my bodyweight in cheese and apples) but that’s also entirely avoidable (you just need to keep an eye on your Nourishment number. Food is commonplace, inexpensive, and whilst most of it goes off (meat lasts a couple of days, fruit the best part of a week) it’s never been a problem. It’s also less urgent than in Fallout 4, in which hunger worsened a lot faster. Indeed, the main problem I’ve had with food is being paranoid about having enough and then collecting so much it weighs a ton.
It turns out jumping off a bridge will hurt your feet. Fortunately, not enough to break them (in my case) but I had two wounded foot symbols appear, with a slowly shrinking yellow indicator of malady. You can break feet (I’ve read) and you can certainly bleed. This can be staunched with bandaging, a skill you learn early on. Health does not automatically regenerate. Sleeping, eating food and drinking potions can restore it. You cannot heal mid-combat.
Even knowing how the combat worked, it still took me a little while to get the hang of it, with attacks coming from one of six directions, consuming stamina, chaining attacks and blocking. There was a very fun moment when someone started a fist fight with me and I whipped out my sword (he ran off, screaming). Having more men on your side is a massive advantage. Even with the weirdness of the system, a few fights in I felt a lot more comfortable with it. There’s also an interesting trade-off with armour, as it weighs a lot. So you can be a shiny steel tank of a man but have little carrying capacity, or go in more lightly armoured but capable of carrying a lot.
One unusual option available is to play an almost pacifist game. There is only one character you have to kill in the entire game. Obviously, most people will kill more, but you can spare enemies and/or avoid combat so if you want to play the game as Henry Pax and have almost no bloodshed, you can. This was my initial intention, but then some bandit attacked me on the road and I instead played as Henry Malleus Bandittorum (and got some nicer clothing from looting the corpse).
I’ve only tried archery once, and shamed England with my ineptitude with a bow.
This option does exist but it’s a bit different to other games. In most RPGs, it’s effectively a teleport. In this game, you see your character making his way across the map, energy and nourishment slowly going down. I think it’s possible for encounters to occur during fast travel (although this hasn’t happened to me in my limited play time). It’s quite a nice halfway house because it fits with the realism slant of the game without forcing the player to literally walk (or ride) everywhere.
Obviously this is subjective to a large extent. Personally, I think the approach taken is generally a good one. It offers something new, and, as someone who likes history, the setting also appeals to me a lot. There are other things to be considered when I get round to a full review (graphics, bugs etc) but, for the most part I like the realism. If you enjoyed the Fallout 4 survival mode you won’t have many problems with this.
I wasn’t going to mention anything other than the realism, but it would be remiss of me not to mention the enormous day 1 patch, which is 23GB. For years I had no internet connection for my console, and I’m really not fond of this practice of having such massive patches.