Kingdom Come: Deliverance (PC) Review

By Athanasios 13.02.2018

Review for Kingdom Come: Deliverance on PC

Anyone can lift a stone and find an Elder Scrolls lookalike underneath. Medieval fantasy videogames have been quite abundant throughout the medium's long history, and it's easy to understand why not many have tried following the alternative path, which is the path of realism. Enter Kingdom Come: Deliverance from Warhorse Studios, which throws away the fantasy bit and does exactly that. Heavily based in actual 15th Century history, and with the research that has been done evident in every single megabyte, this open-world, first-person RPG might as well be called Medieval Simulator 2018. Yes, it's that good in portraying said era... but will that be enough for most to spent 40 to 80 hours on it?

There's no save-the-world nonsense here. Henry's quest to vengeance will constantly remind him of his lowly status, as he won't ever become a King, a nobleman, or the Dovahkiin. This strives to be as historically accurate and realistic as possible, and that affects its every aspect, with everything, from the menus, maps, and so on, looking like a medieval painting. Plus, as this was made by history buffs, for history buffs, it includes a neat encyclopaedia that covers everything, from important events and characters, to details about how society worked back then.

The Crytek-powered plains, forests, and fortresses of Kingdom Come: Deliverance look beautiful, but they are also... mundane. Villages are just villages, castles are just castles, and tavern wenches are just tavern wenches. Walking during the night won't lead to any silver-clothed elves dancing deep in a surreal forest. It's just muddy roads, pitch-black darkness, and, if lucky, a fire-lit camp full of thieves - and that's exactly what makes this so charming, although it's definitely not everyone's cup of mead. Of course, this whole realism thing affects the gameplay, as well.

Similar to, say, Breath of the Wild, it is possible to simply choose a direction and follow it, yet just like in real life, there's not much to do "out there," at least not in the typical videogame fashion. Towns aren't filled with quest givers with question marks above their heads, and the wilderness is not overpopulated with bad guys to slay. As such, some will find the slow pace, and "lack" of objectives annoying, as, three-to-six hours into this the hero of this tale will still be a stinking nobody who has to struggle to survive, find work to do, or handle his sword and bow.

Screenshot for Kingdom Come: Deliverance on PC

Instead of shaping the world, events unfold all around Henry, and he just happens to be there. Thus, you will always feel sort of vulnerable, as improving your skills won't turn you into a demigod. As with everything, equipment here is based on the real deal, and, as such, there's no "+15 Rare Legendary Godslayer's Katana of Manly Awesomeness" to be found (or is there?). This is a pretty challenging RPG that doesn't care about its protagonist. The good news is that the same goes for the rest of the people in here, meaning that enemies can bleed as fast as you.

Note that this heavy focus in realism means that each action has its consequence - no, it's not one of those titles that pretends to do that. Here there are actual consequences. You steal? You get behind bars, and people stop trusting you. You are filthy? They treat you like filth. You don't carry a torch when the sun sets? Guards get angry. Luckily, there's no "right" way to play this, as the beauty of Kingdom Come: Deliverance mostly lies in value as an RPG, as it's not about grinding EXP, finding the best gear, or doing all quests, but about getting immersed in it all.

This leads to the available skillset, which includes things like warfare, stealth, and alchemy, to the (rare for the time) art of reading, or the (not so rare) art of drinking - yup, getting stewed counts as an ability here. The thing that's great about all this is the amount of specialisation offered. While all it takes to upgrade a skill is to just use it, choosing buffs tied to those skills transforms Henry to your liking, but don't let him be a jack of all trades. In 'Speech,' for example, he can either choose a buff that improves his smooth-talking with commoners, or with nobles - not both.

Screenshot for Kingdom Come: Deliverance on PC

In conclusion: this is a fantastic piece of software that's worth getting lost in it for hundreds of hours, as long as this attention to historical accuracy and zero use of fantasy elements isn't a problem. Correct? Unfortunately, while the concept is indeed wonderful, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Forget small flaws like the many glitches, bugs, and the general lack of optimisation and polish, as these can (and will) get fixed. In fact, while this is being written, a 20GB(?!) patch is being downloaded, which will probably deal with those issues.

No, the real problem here is how rough around the edges the gameplay section is. Firstly, while immersion is Kingdom Come: Deliverance's biggest strength, lots of - little - things tend to break it, like when you approach a bandit who was taking a midnight walk near in his "pyjamas," and he magically becomes a fully-armed warrior in an instant when he sees you, or when some missions are all about running towards the quest marker (when they shouldn't), while others leave you in the dark without "pointing" the way (when they should).

Saving is done by starting a quest, sleeping on your bed, or using a (somewhat pricey) consumable, which means that you can lose one hour of progress by getting ambushed by a team of bandits mid-travelling; everything, from opening a door, to picking up arrows (one by one) is animated, and very slowly at that; there's a lack of feedback for many actions; the menus and controls scheme could be way more user-friendly; and so on, and so forth. Sure, most of these are tiny nit-picks, but when combined together, they sort of drag the experience down quite a bit.

Screenshot for Kingdom Come: Deliverance on PC

The most annoying aspect of this title, however, is its fighting system. Yes, it's definitely possible to solve many a problem either through talking or by some cloak-and-dagger tactics, but blades will eventually meet. On the one hand, this is nothing more than an innovative evolution of the great-but-simple system of For Honour, with Henry being able to hit or block a foe from six different directions, riposte by parrying and swinging a weapon at the same time, do combo moves, evasions, and many, many more - it's easy to "understand" all this and pull them off.

…It's hard to "feel" them, however. Simply put, fighting is a little too clunky and unresponsive, and a bit more challenging than usual, and for all the wrong reasons. Moreover, there's a certain lack of feedback that frequently leaves those in control clueless as to whether a slash or stab hit the correct part of the body, or why this or that block or evasion failed. Sure, when everything works as intended, appreciating the battle mechanics is far from hard, but more often than not, it leaves a sour taste - especially when dealing with more than one enemy at the same time… or two, or three, or four.

Luckily, it's hard to avoid coming back to this. Is there room for improvement? Oh, you simply can't imagine how much - and yet even at its current, extremely flawed state, it can be quite the addictive time sink. At the end of the day, though, all that needs to be taken into consideration about Kingdom Come: Deliverance is that it isn't another Far Cry/Assassin's Creed-esque checklist-filling "RPG." Some will hate it for it, and its lack of a couple of more… game-y bells and whistles, but the rest will love it exactly for that.

Screenshot for Kingdom Come: Deliverance on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

As realistic, historically accurate, unrelenting, casual-unfriendly, open-word RPG games go, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is probably the best on offer right now. It's only worthy of the bronze medal, though, as it's very far from perfect, and the amount of flaws at hand mean that this is quite the dirty kind of bronze medal.




Deep Silver


Real Time RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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