What is Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
Set in medieval Bohemia, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a first person role playing game that ditches the dragons and magic in favour of an authentic recreation of life in a medieval land. You play as Henry, the son of a blacksmith whose world is turned upside down when a huge army attacks and ransacks his village, murdering his family and friends, and destroying his home. Barely managing to escape with his life, Henry flees to a nearby castle to warn them of the coming invasion, and seek vengeance for those he loved.
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How do you play Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
Playing out along similar lines to the Elder Scrolls games, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a game that's all about the story and the quests. With a huge map to explore, most of your time will be spent making your way through the game's lengthy and expansive quests, with each offering a wide variety of objectives for you to complete. From accompanying a rich Lord on a hunt that goes horribly wrong; to creeping through the woods with your ear open, listening for the birds you need to catch; to exploring every last nook and cranny of a castle in an effort to find a spare uniform you can pinch so you can flee undetected, each quest is totally different to the last - and each has a number of different ways of completing it, depending on how you've levelled your character up. Some might like to sneak and lock pick their way to victory; others might train their strength and combat prowess; while others still may instead focus on the gift of the gab and the art of persuasion to talk their way out of a tricky situation. No matter how you've developed your character though, you're sure to find a way through each of the quests.
Combat here takes on a slightly slower, and more strategic pace than usual, with a star that pops up over your enemies letting you choose the direction you want to attack from with your sword. The idea here is that attacking from the same direction is easy to predict and block, so varying the angle of your strikes will give you a better chance of landing a blow. Similarly, you can hold a button to automatically block incoming strikes (at the cost of using up your stamina), while a well timed press of the block button will perform a parry, giving you a handy opening to attack.
How easy is Kingdom Come: Deliverance to pick up and play?
In terms of both scope and gameplay, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a vast and complex game, which can be unforgiving at times. Entering even unlocked houses or buildings without permission can see you being arrested and thrown in jail (or attacked in the streets), while falls from even a minor height can injure or break your legs, drastically slowing you down until you next rest. Additionally, an energy system means you need to regularly sleep, and keep yourself well fed in order to maintain peak fighting performance - and that means finding a bed every night.
However, what really adds to the difficulty in Kingdom Come: Deliverance's is the fact that it's very hard to save the game manually. In order to do a manual save, you'll need to have some Saviour Schnapps - an alcoholic beverage of which you'll start with just three, and which cost a fortune in in-game currency. If you don't have any Saviour Schnapps, you'll need to rely on the game's auto-save system, which doesn't actually seem to save unless you make significant progress through a main quest, or manually rest/sleep - it's not uncommon to go 40 minutes or more without the game saving, meaning should you come a cropper, or if something happens that you'd rather the game didn't remember, like your horse being killed, or you being arrested for something, you'll end up going back to the really early save, and lose all the progress you'd made.
Similarly, combat here is tricky to get to grips with, and very much reaction based when it comes to blocking, with a steeper learning curve than similar role playing games. While it's certainly not an insurmountable challenge, as there's no adjustable difficulty level, there's no way to make the battles any easier, either.
In terms of accessibility, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is fully subtitled and for the most part fully voiced, although reading is a requirement for quest descriptions and dialogue options - both of which are important to your progress through the game.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a game aimed at an adult audience, with very strong language, bloody violence, and occasional nudity. There is no mature content filter, or other option to disable mature content.
Swearing is a frequent occurrence, with f*ck, sh*t, b*stard, and c*nt regularly showing up during dialogue.
Violence and Gore
During combat, you'll attack enemies with swords, bows, clubs and maces, with enemies giving off small puffs of blood when hit. Some cutscenes, however, depict defeated enemies as being heavily bloodied, along with dead horses and other animals. The huntsman also is regularly working on some animal skins, which are displayed flesh side up.
The player character, Henry, can have relationships with several female characters in game, culminating in a sex scene. At least one shows the naked couple having sex, and although genitalia isn't visible thanks to clever camera angles, exposed breasts often are.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4