For some reason, Kingdom Come: Deliverance was one of those games that slipped past my radar when it was first released. I’m not entirely sure why, but maybe because it was made by Warhorse Studio’s, a relevantly new and unknown entry into game development teams or maybe at the time I just wasn’t looking for an RPG to get my hands on.
Now, considering I have amassed countless hours in Skyrim on the PS3, PS4 and also the VR I can class myself as a fan of the RPG format, especially when it is set in older times. Thanks to Deep Silver Games / Koch Media, I was sent an invitation to try the latest DLC for the game, Band of Bastards, but obviously didn’t have the base game at the time. I will get on to Band of Bastards further on, but for the moment I want to concentrate on a review of the base game and then the new DLC.
I remember sitting in my History classes at school going back over the ages and being told about certain moments of time that have always stood out, the problem with that is that teachers can’t really sit and describe how brutal times were, especially the medieval times, to a bunch of 12-16 year old kids. It was only after I left school that I truly took an interest in History in all its true gore. The good thing about Warhorse Studio’s is that they haven’t watered down the reality of days gone by. From the very start of the game where you and your friends cover a house in horse shit fresh on the road after the owner bad mouthed the King to swinging swords against the enemy sending blood and guts flying, this game has it all. The other great thing for History buffs is the codex within the game. Pretty much anything that you do encounter within the game you can read up on in great detail from a day in the life of a priest to information on medieval churches.
The good thing about the game is that you really can’t compare it to the likes of Skyrim. This is much much more realistic in terms of no dragons or sorcerers casting spells in battle. Its you, your armour and your sword to keep it as realistic as possibly can be. You play the part of Henry, a lazy son of a Blacksmith. All you really want to do is mess about with your friends and also mess about with the local maiden. You were born in a small village known as Bohemia which is the region now known as the Czech Republic. During the time the game is set, the region was in a fierce battle with Hungary. It isn’t long before the war reaches Skalitz which is where your adventure begins. Your overall goal is to retrieve a sword you lost during the battle at Skalitz but to do that you will have to cover a lot of ground and obviously level up by working for various Lords across the lands and build up your armoury.
From the start of the game you are tasked with a few simple objectives to help you get a feel for the game overall. One of which is obviously the fight controls and technique. The combat within the game is rather realistic; you can stab the head or chest with your sword as well as various slashes, block, parry etc, but the position you take in a 1 to 1 battle is also important. Its not always as simple as attacking head on knowing you will come out on top. My issue with the fighting physics in the game is that taking on one person is relatively easy, its when you have to deal with multiple enemies all at once that it becomes really difficult as you can only focus on one person at a time so whilst you are battling them, his mates have surrounded you and are kicking the crap out of you from multiple angles. Yet this approach does allow the fighting to be satisfyingly brutal.
Realism factors into the game quite highly to the point of possibly going a little too far at times. For instance, your overall appearance. Its not just about what you wear in the game and having pretty looking clothes and armour, but its all about your cleanliness as well. Yep, I kid you not. You have to keep an eye on such things as when you last took a bath because, lets be honest; if you were to turn up at a Lords residence, the last thing he would want would be to do favours for a foul smelling dirty peasant. You have to look the part, which then also includes your clothing. Wearing a peasants hat for instance may set you in bad standing with the Lord.
Drinking and eating too much the night before will leave you sluggish in battle, but you do need to eat and drink as well as making sure you get enough sleep. Things need to be done in moderation. However, you may find that as Henry you start to drink too much. Being sober can then have a negative effect on your stats and you need to stay as drunk as possible to be at peak level during battles. Everything you do can affect the way your character develops.
Graphically the game looks lovely as a whole but I got the sense that any characters you come across within the world are rather lifeless and wooden. I couldn’t really put my finger on why, be it the Voice Acting or in the modelling of their faces or both, but when you consider the sheer scale of the game you can forgive it to a certain extent and gloss over it. There are hundreds of people you will meet along your journey, even if its just someone on horseback riding in the opposite direction to you and you exchange pleasantries.
As you would expect from an RPG, the game isn’t just simply about completing your end goal on a narrow path of going from mission to mission. There are side quests thrown in to the mix to help you level up and grow your character. These side quests don’t seem as many as with other RPG’s however they are longer and more detailed than other games I have played also rarely boring. Its not just a case of going out and grabbing a certain amount of items for someone and bringing them back, some of them are very strange but I wont spoil anything for people who haven’t played, but lets just say that singing to an angry horse as I was delivering it to its owner certainly wasn’t expected.
The game does save by itself, especially if you are about to go into battle at a key moment, but if you want to save your progress yourself then you have to buy an expensive drink and throw it to the back of your throat. Given that money is not in abundance within the game you really do need to buy these drinks sparingly and be careful when you do manually save. The thing is, you do need to save the game yourself along the way. There are times where you could be thrown in jail and left to die in there because the game decides that is your fate and if you have forgotten to save for the last few hours you’re going to have a hell of a lot of catching up to do all over again.
The game has been in development since about 2009 and Indie Developers Warhorse have certainly put a lot of time and effort into this game before it was eventually released. It survived a kickstarter campaign which launched in January 2014 and after a month of its campaign it had reached just over $1m. crowdfunding then continued through Warhorses own website and by October of that year it had made just over $2m. To think that not long before that the team behind it were almost ready to give up on the game due to lack of funding. It was at the last minute that a billionaire backer stepped in. The only reason they did a kickstarter was to prove to that backer that there was a market for the game and their initial goal was a mear $300.000, 10% of the $5m they actually needed to create the game.
That time and effort shows. The world is huge to explore, however this does lead to some very boring journeys within the game from point to point and precious little to do or encounter along the way. The thing is, I refer to the realism of the game again. Not everyone is out to attack or kill you like with every other RPG. Normally you see someone in the distance and you would plan to move around them to avoid certain attack or death. Those attacks rarely happen within this game as you travel, its both a good thing and bad.
If you are looking for a pure action RPG then this may not be the game for you, there is a lot of thought that needs to be put into your gameplay. If you are looking for that level of realism that other games just don’t seem to be able to deliver then its a must buy for fans of serious RPG’s. I have spent well over 60 hours inside of the game taking it all in and I love it.
So after spending so long within the base game my score for it is an 8/10. There are a few things within the game that I’m not really a fan of like the long drawn out travelling sections and the lack of emotion from people you come across within the game, but on the whole I really have enjoyed it. I just wish I had discovered it sooner.
Band of Bastards is the third DLC to release for Kingdom Come: Deliverance and although I haven’t had the chance to play the others, I have seen that they are all rather short to playthrough. For a game of this magnitude in the first place I would have thought that any realistically large DLC add on would take an eternity to build and get out there which would leave the fans of the game unhappy. After all, developers can never please all of their fans in this world.
BoB only really brings you an extra game of Dice as far as mini games are concerned, but return to
Sir Radzig Kobyla and he will send you on your way in order to complete this combat focussed add-on. Riding off with your band of men (bastards) you are treated to a lot of conversation between everyone. There are 2 quests which you can easily complete on your own and 2 which incorporate the band of men as well as various other things such as pickpocketing the other men.
Its not a massive extra to the game but one which completionists will revel in. It took me a few hours to get through it all, but it just didn’t feel like it really added anything to the main game other than a distraction from the path you have been following for so many hours. That being said, it does come with its own set of trophies to achieve so a lot of people will want to play it if just to collect those. Plus it also introduces you to the other members of the Band of Bastards.
As a DLC to an already fantastic game, it is lacking a little but it is still fun to play out. BoB gets a 6/10 from me.
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were kindly supplied with a copy of the base game and DLC by Koch Media. This has in no way influenced my thoughts on the game as stated in our Review Policy**