Why Kingdom Come: Deliverance Is The Best RPG I’ve Ever Played

For those unfamiliar, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a medieval RPG developed by Warhorse Studios, a Czech video game developer based in Prague (now owned by Koch Media since 2019). Set in 1403, during a war in Bohemia, players control a protagonist named Henry. Henry is a blacksmith who lives in the silver-mining town of Skalitz with his father, Martin. Praised for its story, realism, and detail, KC:D was a winner of numerous GOTY awards. It was unfortunately plagued by some rather game-breaking bugs at the time of release. As a result, it put some gamers off when it launched in 2018.

Chances are, if you were to look up Kingdom Come: Deliverance right now, you’d find numerous comments from angry people in 2018, rage-quitting because the game was a ‘buggy mess’ and you should avoid it at all costs. Even today, as a result of this reputation, you’re likely to find cautious gamers in the Kingdom Come Subreddit asking if the game is ‘safe to play now” and whether Warhorse patched all the bugs.

While it is true that the game did launch with some rather nasty bugs, Warhorse Studios stood by their creation and worked hard to correct the flaws, paying attention to people’s concerns only to turn the game into the near-masterpiece it is today. Please allow me to tell you why you should now give it a second chance.

The Best Deal Ever

My journey with Kingdom Come first began out of a terrific deal at Target. The game was marked down (perhaps erroneously) to five dollars, and it attracted me with its beautifully designed cover art; the fantastic price made me pick up the game and read the description on the back. After virtually no deliberation at all, and considering I had no Medieval era video games on my PS4 (save for Witcher 3, if that counts), I thought I couldn’t go wrong with a five-dollar video game.

 

“I’m feeling kind of hungry…”

The first thing that impressed me was the graphics. I remember playing this with my girlfriend next to me and thinking, ‘damn, this is like an indie studio Skyrim’ – a slightly ignorant comparison in hindsight, considering how off-base I came to be.

Firstly, in Skyrim, I feel like from the start, you are a capable fighter. You’re the damn Dragonborn! In Skyrim, you have strong magic that you learn pretty early on. After a few hours of grinding, you’re OP. With Kingdom Come, it couldn’t be any more different. From the very beginning, Kingdom Come challenged my typical video game thinking. The developers forced me to uncover different ways to confront the challenges I faced.

Much like others who played this game fresh, I nearly rage quit during the prologue. I couldn’t kill a Cuman (the game’s primary enemy type) to save my life. Within the first hour, I was being surrounded by several of them as I was trying to defend the life of Theresa, a mill-worker and friend of Henry. After some thought, I discovered that the idea was not to fight them but to run, distract them so Theresa could get away, and then get the hell out of dodge.

A Different Kind of Game

It was then that I realized this game was different. Unlike the traditional everyman in most video games, who still manages to be robust despite being an average Joe, this game forces you to throw out your typical video game logic and way of thinking. You suck at combat and will die despite your best efforts because you’re entirely skill-less. You’ve never had to fight before. You fail at things other games would let you excel in from the start because you’re an illiterate peasant who spent more time throwing shit at houses with your friends than learning to read and make a man out of yourself. In essence, you play the village idiot, and this game penalizes you if you don’t take the time to ‘git gud’ and level up.

It forces you to generate different ways to complete a mission than what’s often initially presented. For example, when it came time to prove to Miller Peschek that I could be a decent thief, the lock-picking mechanic made me curse the developers and their firstborns. I broke all the training lock picks before realizing I could strip my armor off, reduce my noise to zero and knock the executioner out during the night. Once I leveled up my lock-picking, I was able to do it with my eyes closed. In another example, the game tasks you with saving a main character who the Cumans have captured. Typically, this would result in a swordfight in most games. Instead, this game encouraged you to wait till nightfall and sneak away undetected. Stealth is optional in many games, but it’s a matter of life or death with this game.

 

Kingdom Come: Deliverance Is The Best RPG I've Ever Played

Tournaments, while at first difficult and rather frustrating, are some of the most entertaining ways to increase your combat skills.

A Rich, Lived-In World

There are so many parts of this game that you can tell were well thought out and considered down to the finest detail. Roads have desire paths cut into the grass. Graves you disturb have different bodies in them for each grave instead of a stock skeleton. Roads pool with water when it’s raining (seemingly in real-time), and the setting genuinely feels lived-in. It’s a gorgeous game world, filled with so much detail and so many areas to explore. It’s possible to ride around for hours and find new caves, ruins, or unusual sites that you never saw during your main playthrough. As you find treasure and immerse yourself in the game’s beautiful world, the area seems to come alive. I’ve played a few RPGs, and Bohemia is honestly one of my favorite settings of those I’ve explored to date.

But it’s not just the graphics that impress: the game mechanics do as well. Combat is highly steeped in realism and becomes so satisfying when you finally land that fatal blow after getting your ass kicked (before leveling up). Henry gets tired; Henry gets hungry. If you don’t go to bed, he’ll pass out. If you ignore his hunger, he’ll die, potentially killing hours of progress. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t auto-save except for completed missions. It’s up to you to remember to use ‘Saviour Schnapps’ (the game’s way of manual saving) if you want to avoid replaying mass sections.

If you take the time to teach Henry how to read, countless books within the game’s world teach you Bohemia’s history. Including some real-life history that took place in the game’s not only realistic but natural setting. If you are a medieval history buff, you’ll be extremely excited about how much work went into researching 15th century Bohemia and the conflicts that tore the kingdom apart.

Why Haven’t You Bought This Game Yet?

Astonishingly, many of the people who developed on this game had never worked on a game before. Even more impressive, it came from such a small studio that obtained a good portion of the funding through Kickstarter. This game glows with major studio professionalism in places. It’s exciting to think of how the team might perform in the future; now they can work with the far bigger teams and far bigger budgets of Koch Media.

Unfortunately, it’s still somewhat buggy and flawed in spots. For example, take the issues if you play on consoles. You may occasionally become frustrated with the texture pop-in that happens in heavily populated areas. The game’s engine struggles to render some of the highly detailed environment on the aging current-gen consoles. These issues are likely due to inexperience on the team with console engine optimization.

Even if the game isn’t always perfect, there’s just so much about Kingdom Come: Deliverance to love. If you can ignore the occasional texture issues and minor (but not game-breaking) bugs, you cannot find a better experience for the price. The current average retail cost is around 20 dollars. I’ve already sunk over 100 hours into this game. I never would’ve thought my five-dollar chance purchase would bring me such an incredible experience.

 

Readers Comments (10)

  1. This game has got me back into gaming after years away. Right now I’m playing some classics with my daughter’s on the Xbox as a result of my love for having being revived! It’s one of my favourite all time games definitely uip there in my top 5

    Reply
  2. Bought it yesterday, only £13 for the royal edition, wow, it has blown me away the level of detail that has gone into this is breathtaking at times, I can see myself putting 100 plus hours into this no problem.

    Reply
  3. I am so happy I found this game. I was so pleased. It reminded me of an old Genesis game. Cannot wait for the sequel.

    Reply
  4. Christopher OQuin March 10, 2020 @ 3:57 PM

    I downloaded it on a whim because it was in gamepass… And WOW!! I can’t BELIEVE how much I’ve enjoyed it. It’s absolutely sucked me in, and is now probably one of my top 5 favorite games. I can’t wait to see the next installment from Warhorse. Oh, and btw, is your haven’t checked out the DLC, you’re missing out. They’re all fantastic additions in and if themselves, and A Woman’s Lot is just great storytelling.

    Reply
  5. I’m disappointed you didn’t even mention the characters or narratives. You’re treated as the village idiot by everyone around you and when you finally prove yourself, it’s so satisfying.

    Reply
    • Honestly that’s something that’s been mentioned a few times and I definitely appreciate the constructive criticism. I was trying to avoid too many spoilers but I will definitely focus on characters in future reviews more 🙂

      Reply
  6. Stephen Gibson Wade March 13, 2020 @ 12:34 PM

    Found this game so brutal and tough to start with but sticking with it and taking your time rewards the player and makes you want to keep going and see more of what it has hidden. A great gaming experience but not one for a casual player as this gets better with effort.

    Reply

Discuss This Story