The story of Kingdom Come: Deliverance it is definitely interesting, with that touch of romanticism that never hurts, assuming that it is a title created thanks to the crowfunding of Kickstarter and not only.
The guys of Warhorse Studios, which we remember, although it is a new studio, is made up of highly respected staff, led by Daniel Vavra, co-founder and former member of the 2K Czech team, as well as author of Mafia, a brand that is anything but unknown.
The title during its fund research brought together the hopes of many, that in this case of seeing the birth of a different title than usual, capable of filling the gaps of a genre as vast as it is indeed lacking in terms of realism, as it is. that of RPGs.
Today, six years after the start of its development, after obtaining the license of the CryEngine 3, we can get our hands on this ambitious work, which has intrigued us for a multitude of reasons, among which to see if a product worthy of trust can be born from Kickstarter, able to deviate from the combination, which over time has always taken more foot among the less frequent visitors of the platform, between this and the Indies.
Will the guys from Warhorse Studios have managed to keep their promises, giving us a unique pearl? Let's go find out!
In Bohemia in 1400
We are in the realm of Bohemia in the 15th century, after the death of King Charles IV, so loved by his subjects, his son Wenceslas IV ascends to the throne, but due to his "lazy" nature and not suited to the figure of a King, he quickly manages to antagonize many of the nobles who, precisely because of his mistreating court life for frivolous activities, decide to rely on his stepbrother , King Sigismund of Hungary.
From here a series of bloody struggles will start in an attempt to impose their dominion in the faithful fiefdoms, also involving Henry, our protagonist.
Specifically, the young man lives in the quiet town of Skalica, the son of a very famous blacksmith in the kingdom, reluctant to let him live the life that was his in the past, introducing him instead into the life of a laborer.
One day, however, the great army of King Sigismund arrived at the gates, full of Cumaean and Hungarian mercenaries, ready to plunder and destroy anything that stands in their way.
Precisely during this attack, in the form of cut-scenes, we will see one of the strongest scenes for the protagonist: the loss of his parents in front of his eyes, remaining helpless without the possibility of saving them, being torn apart by the sense of guilt and seeing his own increase. desire for revenge for much of the plot.
From here begins our story, after a desperate escape to the nearby fiefdom in search of shelter and help, to then begin a long apprenticeship, made up of tasks from the most to the less noble, clashes, training to become a knight and get revenge. A long and exciting route in all its junctures.
Between history and realism
The plot of Kingdom Come: Deliverance does not shine for fantasy or for an unforgettable direction, but lets itself be lived in a linear way, managing at times even to thrill, especially lovers of the genre, as it reflects a classic campaign in every aspect ruolistica. Each of them in this sense is cared for down to the smallest detail, making us completely immerse in the atmosphere, which is created in a simply breathtaking way, making us actually we the same protagonists of the events and not mere spectators, as we are used to.
It should be added in any case that the plot in its continuation is full of very interesting twists, which can undoubtedly strike and amaze, making us want to see how even a small quest will turn out, but the more characterizing the title remains its total freedom of action, which we will analyze more specifically later.
A question that arises spontaneously when you begin to inform yourself about the title is the following: What differentiates Kingdom Come: Deliverance from the other RPGs released over the years? The answer is simply one: Realism. Whether it is understood as historical, for its faithful reproduction in every smallest facet, or for the structure of the events that follow one another, constantly varying according to timing, previous and current choices, up to the skills of the protagonist, making everything "alive" and almost true.
It is precisely this sense of "true" that springs from every little thing we face that is incredibly fascinating, making us, at times, leave out negative aspects that the title proposes and which unquestionably can seriously damage the gaming experience, such as bugs, from the most to the least serious, or simple technical choices, which tend to bring more frustration than fun, both for a legitimately realistic way, which by simple error of realization and evaluation.
Furthermore, realism is also given by small things, such as the condition of our character, in fact the more we get tired, the greater the life and stamina that will be deducted from us, forcing us to sleep to recover it. This type of deduction will also occur due to hunger and this needs a little deepening: it is essential to satiate ourselves when there is a need, but we must be careful not to overdo it to avoid indigestion and above all avoid, unless the use of certain skills , spoiled foods, being able to poison us and without the use of an antidote, lead us to almost certain death.
By listing other realistic aspects characteristic of the title we arrive at the reaction of people to our presence, which is determined by various elements such as: our reputation, which changes according to the actions we will perform for good and bad, from our paraphernalia and finally from our cleanliness .
Well yes! Cleanliness also plays an important role in the title, for example if we go around with the sword completely covered in blood, we will instill fear in the surrounding inhabitants, so it is always better to monitor this aspect as well.
RPG to the nth degree
The title strongly focuses on two key aspects: Realism e Role-playing. Regarding the first case, we talked about it a lot and we will continue to do so in the next sections of the analysis, since how it affects the gameplay choices of the fights will come into play; for now we will see how the whole game atmosphere is adapted to this ideology espoused by the developers. In the first place, the movements are not automatic, but we will see, on the game map with our board game icon, our character moving following a path to the destination.
But that's not all, in addition to the constant advancement of time, we are dealing with two other aspects: encounters and weight limitations. The first are of various kinds: from enemy assaults, to robberies, beggars or the discovery of carcasses, all of which can be viewed or avoided, with a percentage of success given by our statistics. While concerning the weight, if we exceed the maximum transportable by the protagonist, we will not be able to take advantage of the rapid journey.
Time is also a key factor, certain quests will not be available forever and its flow can alter them, as well as eliminate them permanently, preventing the classic "I collect all the secondary ones and complete them when I want", thus placing itself in a decidedly more realistic light.
Let's now move on to the discussion on Roleism, premising that Kingdom Come: Deliverance completely represents what a truly is Role playing game, even if linked to the "pure side" of the term, understanding and referring purely to paper or table roles, such as D&D and so on.
So it is "strange" to see such care and attention to every single detail in a video game, being at the same time an incredibly positive and negative thing, since it becomes closely linked to the person who takes the title, as well as being part of the category of "niche" titles of the RPG genre.
In Kingdom Come: Deliverance we have a variety of actions to take, each with an outcome that will affect indelibly the continuation of our story, being able to review characters or not, terminate early or extend quests, unlock interesting dialogues or simply be able to undertake each mission in different ways, depending on our ability and interpretation of the character, as well as the story itself.
It is truly extraordinary to feel that you have in your hands the power to concretely alter the entire game world, where each choice has a specific weight, as well as having the freedom to behave as we prefer and undertake battles, or simply missions, in our own way, without remaining on a track pre-established by third parties.
To all this we add the choice of how to remedy resources, whether hunting or buying them in the shops, being able to fish or go to the inn, cook or eat raw food, up to deciding whether to repair the paraphernalia ourselves, using a kit or the grinding wheel for the weapons, instead of perhaps delegating the task to artisans, subject to a high salary.
But that's not all, in fact the “mini-games” also include the possibility of playing dice, betting your own money, creating potions, remedies or grappa through the alchemical counter and carrying out various types of work.
Finally, it is right to mention the cultural side that the good Henry can cultivate, significantly improving reading and writing, leading him to be able to analyze very interesting tomes in the continuation of the story, as well as reading recipes, fighting techniques or simply making our life easier in certain missions, where knowing how to read can be of great help.
Its realization is also interesting, not being displayed with a simple "I can't read" screen, but opening a book we will see written without any logical connection, precisely because maybe the protagonist does not know those characters or words, while gradually improving they will become full-meaning words and phrases, also improving our interpretation of the texts.
Freedom of customization
Here is one of the most awaited aspects by lovers of the genre: the realization and Customization of the protagonist.
We assume that our Henry will not be modifiable, that is the name, that is the appearance, only his clothing can be altered. In return every single object we wear will be displayed both on the screen and physically on the in-game character and in the videos, having a wide variety of garments, to be exact four for each area of the body (Head, Bust, Legs and Armamentarium), going to include the external armor and possibly the chain mail or underlying fabrics.
Every single object has certain characteristics from its own, which obviously influence the statistics of our character, both in defensive and "secondary" terms, almost for example the charisma, the visibility we will have in combat, how much we are noticed by others, the noise provoked at our every step and so on. Every single wearable object, whether it is armor or weapon, has a condition, this decreases according to use, coming to wear out along the way and resulting in a lower efficiency of the aforementioned, forcing us, in case we want to keep it and make it as performing as possible to talk about it again, adding that wear will also lead to a radical lowering of the selling price.
Now let's move on to a "thorny" topic, but one that in all probability will satisfy the curious and the role players in general, that is how we can boost up Henry, the mere equipment removed.
We have no alterable stats with experience points, everything varies with "experience", voluntarily using this repetition, given that the more we perform an action, the more we will acquire experience points and level up in that specific field, unlocking each level of a skill point that can be spent.
These can give bonuses and malus at the same time, or they are related to a certain condition, such as the use of a force weapon instead of an agility, or being in the city rather than in the countryside, going to build a real one. identity for our character, since it will be difficult to get them all and some will literally exclude their counterpart.
This is a very interesting aspect that we could also love in the past, literally grow with our character, improving in the art of combat both in terms of personal skill and score, always having a greater fluidity of movements and increased damage, in addition to the skills just discussed and we add that the number of features is considerable, ranging from physical ones to all combat weapons, up to the actions that can be performed in "mini-games", to make them more and more efficient and in the final stages even automate them , such as allowing the automatic production of potions, having ingredients and recipes available.
Mistakes of evaluation or choices not shared?
There are several aspects that can be seen in both ways, among them the system of rescue. For the uninitiated, it is not possible to save when we want, but we will have to submit to certain limitations such as: the use of an object called "Grappa del Salvatore", obtainable in taverns at considerable prices or creating it with alchemy, sleeping on beds comfortable, using the bathrooms or relying on sporadic automatic saves, usually corresponding to the beginning of main missions or their end.
This is an interesting aspect, to continue the policy of "you can do everything, but to do it you need something", which is the basis of realism in general, ie the impossibility of creating something from nothing, but to at the same time it doesn't marry the gaming world, given that there may be system crashes, or much more simply the need, for various reasons, to disconnect the session early.
Reading the latest notes from the developers, they realized how much this is not correct at the moment and they seem to want to add the possibility to exit the game, automatically saving the session at that precise moment, but it is a "Work in Progress" so we'll see how they actually decide to move.
Another serious problem concerns him burglary, less bulky on the PC version given the use of the mouse, having an almost completely wrong concept, making us seriously give up if we find ourselves at any closed lock, for its being terribly inconvenient and inaccurate.
As a side dish we literally have a myriad of bugs, some hilarious and potentially almost harmless, others capable of seriously damaging the gamer's experience. In the first case let's take the horse as an example, able to get stuck often and willingly when we jump obstacles, remaining in positions on the edge of the tragicomic, in the second instead the "sudden levitation", which will see us take our feet off the ground flying in the air, leading us to a horrible death caused by the ruinous fall; this, if combined with the rescue discourse, can create many problems.
These and many others are the small / big problems that afflict the titles and that surely at least once, if you are lucky, you will encounter if you visit this Bohemia, but we are confident that the developers will be able to limit the damage as much as possible in the coming months.
A complex and rewarding gameplay
We are probably at the most complex and thorny part of our analysis, which contains within it both objectivity and subjectivity, the latter because obviously it is undeniable that it can like it or not depending on the propensity of the individual gamer who will try it.
The developers had a clear idea in mind, in our opinion, that is to give a product as a gift realistic and complex, capable of being fulfilling in all its junctures. On this we can say, in complete objectivity, that they have succeeded, since the entire combat system and not only require a high level of learning, which is only possible to obtain after several hours of play, as if we ourselves improved in symbiosis with Henry, to become more and more skilled and feared knights throughout the kingdom.
However, it is precisely this realism that can lead users to love it or hate it, given that we are talking about a very complex, mechanical and not at all fluid structure, as well as having a not indifferent level of difficulty as announced; in fact, speaking now of the fight, we can die at any moment, against any opponent, if we do not pay sufficient attention to his movements, weapons and skills.
Going into more detail, the combat system is divided into two distinct phases: Attack e Defense. Certainly said this may seem very trivial, but there is much more behind to gut and we will start with the one that has less complexity, namely the attack.
We have the possibility to hit in six different directions: up, left, bottom left, right, bottom right and finally centrally (only by jabs); these can be used with two types of attacks: Slash and Stock. The first consists in the heavy attack, lashes of great intensity, which depending on the weapon used, can cause considerable damage, but on the other hand they are quite slow.
While the jabs represent the quick attack, the most loved by light weapons and influenced by agility, capable of destabilizing the opponent and inflicting constant damage when he least expects it to pierce his defenses, allowing us to attack even centrally. These can be combined with each other to generate a series of combinations, able to overcome even the most impenetrable defenses, even if not so easy to carry out, being easily subject to counterattacks.
With regard to defense, however, the discourse becomes more complex and articulated, precisely because some “crazy” variables come into play, including our paraphernalia, the opponent's, our stamina and above all alertness. We will be able to parry either by means of a shield, which allows us greater and easier coverage, but abundantly covering our view as well as weighing us down, or with our weapon, but in this case it will be mandatory to block the attack in its same direction to avoid being affected.
To broaden the discourse, we must add the fact that every parade will consume us stamina, making us more and more vulnerable and less inclined to attack; right here three other defensive skills come to the rescue: Dodge, Parry and Perfect Parry. Each of these has its own timing preset, which varies from our stats and those of the attacker, as well as his weapon. The first allows us, as the name suggests, to easily avoid the incoming attack, if however carried out at the right time, otherwise we will remain easy prey for the enemy lunge, the higher the agility, the easier and more effective it will be.
The "Parry" consists in pressing the parry button when the opponent is delivering the blow to deflect it, precisely when the shield appears in the center of the "crosshair", in this way we will not suffer damage, we will lose stamina, sending in difficulty the opponent.
Finally, there is the most difficult defensive type, the Perfect Parry, which is very similar to the Parry, with the only difference that it must be performed a few moments before, in order to respond more quickly to the attack, deflecting the blow more easily and then hitting. with an automatic counterattack.
As you can see the types of attack and defense are many, as well as being very complex to make ours, but that's not all. Realism is also given by other factors, such as bleeding resulting from certain attacks, suffering damage in specific areas of the body that could even cause us to drop the weapon if well adjusted, in addition to having to keep an eye on all the physical factors of our character. , from weight brought to fatigue, to avoid starting with a handicap during the fight.
Other strategic aspects for the fight are represented by the use of kicks, or of taken, these consist of physically attacking the opponent at a short distance, and then attacking in one direction to take over him, disorienting him and temporarily lowering his guard, ideal for constantly inflicting damage, not giving him respite even for an instant .
To this we add the impossibility of using objects during the battle, but only in moments of calm, therefore every moment must be carefully studied, evaluating when it is time to refresh ourselves and instead when it is the perfect moment to launch the charge, even if it will not always depend on us, being a simple knight.
A wonderful kingdom
This Bohemia it has left us speechless more than once, although in the single aspect the technical side is excellent, but not excellent, especially in the character models, while it manages to give the best about the settings, especially if you look at them as a whole.
In fact, although there is a massive presence, yes pop-up about the plantations and flowers, as well as animals, seeing glimpses at sunset or sunrise, but even just a sunny or rainy day in the countryside, has a particular charm and difficult to tell in words.
This beauty has led us more than once to stop to observe and objectively speaking how often happens in modern video games? Although the graphics in general can be jaw-breaking, the artistic aspect counts above all and in this case it must be promoted with flying colors, having been able to recreate exactly the medieval atmosphere that everyone, or almost everyone, imagined it was.
As mentioned above, apart from the setting and atmosphere aspect, the title does not shine particularly, with characters not very well cared for, especially the secondaries, while the main ones manage to convey emotions and character from every look, dialogue and action, identifying us completely in this magnificent realm.
With the faces removed, however, we are not faced with something amazing, with the presence of aliasing in the body and clothing of the inhabitants, in addition to the constant presence of penetration of the surrounding elements, both as regards the models of the suits-armor, and especially the people, seeing them more than once get stuck in tables, walls and every element that physically represents an obstacle, not to mention the horses.
To all this we also add an inaccurate frame rate and it does not help the gameplay a bit woody, done so, in our opinion, for a reason, in order to make it better the realistic look that the developers wanted to give, but a greater solidity would have greatly helped the whole technical and game system.
On the side sonoro instead we have no doubts: we are facing an excellent job. In our opinion, every single soundtrack is spot on, inserted at the right time with the correct tones, capable of giving perfect emotions for the situation, from the most animated in the fighting, dotted with warriors cries (even if we would have preferred the possibility of screaming ourselves , as a battle cry, to improve this dive even more), up to the quiet ones present in the middle of the countryside during the long crossings.
Furthermore, even the English dubbing is well done, with some small occasional inaccuracies, made up of tones that are repeated often and movements in the dialogues that are not idyllic, but that all in all manages to do its dirty job.
We think there is no better term to describe Kingdom Come: Deliverance and its developers, which unfortunately we see very rarely in recent years, although there certainly is, it is not proven with hard facts.
In this case it is undeniable to see how many inaccuracies, more and less serious bugs cost the product, but at the same time every single detail exudes the passion of the developers and is a truly satisfying feeling to steal, because it is understood how much all the heavy work has been done not only for a final gain, but for give to users who supported them so much, especially in the Kickstarter campaign that allowed this miracle, what they expected.
This is why we do not feel like harshly criticizing their work, also because at a monetary and human level, especially with regard to labor, it was difficult to bring out a better product, although some precautions were a must and are not justifiable, but it is a job. to be appreciated in full, especially noting how much post-release effort they are doing.
In fact, we remind you that at the moment they are out due patch, decidedly full-bodied that added up to 40 GB, but they are not the only ones in the program, a third is being approved for release, while the fourth is under development, all aimed at improving the user experience, going to touch the stability, bugs of some quests, the much hated, rightly above all on consoles, the burglary system and much more.
To conclude this small section, the passion e dedication of the team, ready to do anything not so much to collect more money, but to make happy those who have bet on them and this is worth more than any proclamation can be made. When we say that facts speak louder than words themselves.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance it is to all intents and purposes a pearl, that every purist of the RPG genre, intended both for table / paper and digital, must necessarily play, ignoring the fact that he can appreciate it or not. It is impossible not to notice how much the developers have imprinted their passion into every single pixel of this title, from the most important to the most insignificant aspects, each one simply exudes passion.
However, it is undeniable that the title, at present, has considerable errors, capable of seriously undermining the gaming experience, whether it is frustration due to programming errors, or because it is not in the end a work suitable for everyone, up to the simple irritation due to the presence of stupid bugs and sometimes capable of causing impediments.
To encourage us from this point of view is the speed and effort with which the developers are promptly correcting, modifying and analyzing every single aspect that the community considers wrong, to give us, day after day, a better and better title, able to delight the purists who were waiting for something similar in their collection.
So in conclusion, we warmly recommend the purchase of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, despite the errors and flaws, the guys of Warhorse Studios they literally put their soul inside us and it shows, making those who, like us, are passionate about them fall in love with RPG; you will probably like it like you don't, but a chance deserves it without a shadow of a doubt.