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Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Role-Playing
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Warhorse Studios
Release Date: Feb. 13, 2018

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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Kingdom Come: Deliverance'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Aug. 4, 2015 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an open-world, action-adventure, role-playing game featuring a nonlinear story and revolutionary, first-person melee combat.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is not your traditional open-world RPG. It's set during the 15th century in the Holy Roman Empire, and the idea is to create an open-world RPG without the trappings of fantasy. There are no orcs, dragons, or magic blades; in fact, there's no magic at all. You play as the young blacksmith who loses his family in a succession war and sets out to simply get revenge. The idea is to create an open-world medieval sandbox that is based in real world-locations with real-world people.

This stands out clearly in the combat system. Swordplay is a big part of most fantasy games, but it's rarely realistic. Kingdom Come: Deliverance tries to change that. Swordplay is based around more than just hitting your opponent. When you swing, you can pick the direction of your attack, and your opponent can try to block. Hitting an opponent in his weak point is necessary to win. Slash wildly, and you'll end up being blocked and countered. Lure your opponent into dropping his guard, and you can finish fights with ease.


You can't rely on lowering hit points because some enemies (e.g., those in plate armor) are nearly invincible to regular attacks, so stamina management is important. Both you and your enemy have stamina, and while repeated attacks can drain enemy stamina, armored foes have a harder time moving than lightly armored foes. You can wear down plate-armored foe and finish them when they're too exhausted to fight. You can block attacks automatically, but each block drains your stamina. Perfect Blocks, which are performed just before you're hit, can allow for counterattacks, but even that uses stamina. Taking damage lowers your health as well as the maximum amount of stamina available to you. Play poorly, and prepare to be helpless before an aggressive foe.

This same sense of realism is present in the inventory system. You don't just equip armor and be done with it. You can equip multiple pieces of armor and layer them for proper defense. A helmet is great against someone trying to stab you in the face but nearly worthless against blunt impact from a hammer. A leather cap under the helmet can provide that important cushion. Chest armor can also be layered that way. There are 16 equipment slots, so you'll be able to craft a perfect defense. This level of customization even extends to your horse, who can be customized from armor to horseshoes.

While Kingdom Come: Deliverance doesn't have magic, it does have alchemy, but there are no magic superpowers to be gained. Most potions are fairly limited. Some may give you bonus stamina, others may be deadly poisons, and others can help with healing wounds, but they're not going to let you shoot flames or anything like that. The game emphasizes this lack of magic by including traditionally "magical" potions that you can craft. The potions don't do anything, but you may be able to trick superstitious people into paying you a lot of cash for them.


Alchemy and lockpicking both have interactive minigames to determine the success of your attempts. We only got a brief glimpse at the lockpicking minigame, but it looked rather fun. You must guide your pick through the ancient tumbler without touching the sides, so it requires precision. The reward was well worth the trouble; in this case, it was a full set of bow equipment.

In Kingdom Come: Deliverance, bows are slow, unwieldy and difficult to aim. There are no crosshairs, and even a dot on your TV won't be reliable for judging where you'll hit. Leveling up your archery abilities might help, but that takes time. The reason for this is that bows are strong and can one-shot many opponents in the game if properly hit. Rather than going for simple but weak, they went in the opposite direction. If you can hit your opponent, he's going to regret having ever met you.

The title is aiming to be tremendously huge. The current alpha build is comprised of three square miles, but the final version will go up to a stunning 16 square miles of space. Warhorse is looking for a game that is less dense than Skyrim. In the developer's own words, they don't want a dungeon every few feet but rather a series of random encounters that's reminiscent of Red Dead Redemption. They're aiming to populate this world with characters with dynamic and realistic AI. Each character has a schedule and preferences, and there are bars, forges, shops and other places to explore. Someone may spend his days working and then go to the pub, unless the pub is full, in which case he might be surly and do something else. They're mostly small towns, but we're told there will be two larger cities in the final build.


The emphasis on realism carries over to the graphics. The developers are aiming to make the land as realistic as possible. Actual buildings and environments in the game have been based on real-world locations, with the developers traveling to those locales and using height maps to make sure it's as close to realistic as possible. The Crytech engine is used for stunningly good visuals. The buildings, foliage and hilltops look unnervingly realistic. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the characters since many were placeholders, but the final version will have motion-captured facial animations.

This sense of detail also extends to the soundtrack. Rather than having a set soundtrack that plays at specific times, Warhorse has gone for a dynamic soundtrack. Small bits of music are recorded by a live orchestra, and the game dynamically institutes them. You have traveling music that moves seamlessly into combat music when you're attacked. Voice acting, unfortunately, was also unfinished in the alpha build that we saw, but we're told that the voice acting will also strive for realism.

In a gaming landscape beset by countless orcs and monsters, there's something refreshing about an RPG that focuses on realism. Kingdom Come: Deliverance promises brutal combat, fast death and difficult choices in a world without magic. Kingdom Come: Deliverance will be out next summer for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One, although Kickstarter backers will be able to play regularly updated alphas and betas along the way.



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