Kingdom Come: Deliverance Preview
No dragons, no magic. What kind of medieval role-playing game is that? Well, a unique one, ideally, and one that has a gigantic amount of potential. On top of which, given the huge Kickstarter success, one has to assume that lots of gamers wanted this project to come to fruition. Developer Warhorse Studios will deliver an RPG set in 15th-century Europe and rather than a fantastical theme, this adventure is firmly rooted in historical reality. So yeah, no giant ogres or scantily clad sorceresses. Just men with swords and armor, surviving in a very difficult period of human history.
You will play as a young blacksmith who is thrust upon an urgent and noble mission: Rescue a kidnapped king and in so doing, prevent an awful civil war. As indicated above, you won’t have superhuman strength or the supernatural ability to conjure otherworldly spells and assistants. You’re just some well-built dude who can swing a hammer. At the very least, that gives you the edge with a sword, right? And you can always get better with time; this is an RPG, after all, and character progression is a huge part of the experience. You can even choose how you’d like to advance.
Would you like to become a knight who charges into battle without any fear? Or, would you rather lurk in the shadows as a stealthy rogue? You can even become a bard, although I’m unsure as to how this helps in battle. You can improve a wide assortment of skills, including swordsmanship, archery and alchemy, along with upping basic statistics like strength, stamina and agility. As you are definitely human, you’ll get hungry, so you’ll have to keep your strength up. Warhorse claims they’re trying to simulate the daily life of a medieval warrior, so in many ways, authenticity lies at the core of this robust adventure.
There are a lot of different branches and variables in the game, as it’s not pre-scripted or linear. As you’ve probably surmised, this game goes beyond standard fighting and looting; there’s an entire economy that can be affected. The price of goods and real estate fluctuates with events and time, and even though you can’t actually purchase a home, the economic status has an impact. Of course, even the most intriguing conversations and tasks that comprise daily life are only entertaining for so long. Eventually, you’ll have to take to the battlefield. That’s where you’ll be introduced to the intense first-person viewpoint.
The designers went to great pains to implement 15th-century fighting techniques, complete with motion capture provided by medieval fighting experts. You’ll be able to target specific body parts and select from a variety of moves. When you successfully land a strike, your opponent will respond appropriately, and you have to keep an eye on your health and stamina. Mortal combat is wearying, to say the least, so you can’t maintain such immense energy output for long. This isn’t Diablo III. You can utilize a healthy assembly of swords, daggers, hammers, axes, bows and crossbows, and shields, and you’ll have to study the strengths and weaknesses of your foes.
Heck, you can even fight on horseback. Horses can strafe, run backwards, and even buck and attack. When wandering about, your quest will entail everything from the aforementioned combat to different outdoors-y tasks. There’s herb picking (for your alchemy skill), hunting animals, going in search of treasure, chasing down bandits, and the forging of new weapons. All told, there will be three and a half miles of open land to explore, which is pretty huge if we take that number literally. No dragons or magic but even so, Kingdom Come: Deliverance appears to be a fully established and ultimately engaging RPG, and I can’t wait to try it.
The game is scheduled to release for next-gen platforms and PC some time next year.
10/2/2014 Ben Dutka