Kingdom Come: Deliverance, deliver me from evil, my time with Skyrim has ended and I require a new game to gather herbs for hours in… Oh, 20 hours just passed and I have mastered the herb, time to get drunk! Developed by Warhorse Studios as their first release as a company, reaching high above in the land of gaming to make a name for itself with an ambitious title with up to 100 hours of gameplay in the land of Knights, Lords and Plague. An RPG game that focuses on realism, feudalism and player choice, I am tingling.
Deliverance starts off with a short cutscene describing the lore, we are currently residing within Bohemia just after the death of one of its best rulers, Emperor Charles IV, with the crown being passed down onto a less worthy man. However, as was normal, people did not like their king and an insurrection was mounted, calling for help from far off lands. Bohemia is now in a dark time, with bandits, war and more as Cuman armies come marching down to claim ownership.
You take the role of Henry, a simple blacksmiths son, with no combat experience, illiterate, not intelligent, not important in the slightest, as it ought to be for one in his shoes back in those times. We simply take on some tasks from our father, gather items for the forge and himself, as we are currently in the progress of crafting a sword for a local lord. Fists flinging at deadbeats, diplomacy used on the villagers and choices made about throwing excrement at someone’s house later and we bring the items back to father.
Oh yeah, those Cuman I mentioned? Yeah, they are now attacking the village, over half of the inhabitants are dead, your parents included, so now you are a proper protagonist, can’t have those parents holding you back. Thankfully, Henry escapes to a local castle, who he is soon indebted to. Henry is very morally focused, his last promise to his father was to deliver that sword, and through returning to bury them like good Christians, he gets attacked by bandits, is injured and loses said sword, Henry is then set on a long path of retrieval and redemption.
The story can last you up to 50 hours long, depending on how many NPCs you talk to as well as any side-objectives to the main story quests you complete. The story isn’t outlandish, besides becoming a soldier/knight as easily as you did, and has an amazing flow to it. Your choices feel like they have weight, both in your skill progression and how people see you. You can easily rack up another 50 hours with all the side quests, from harvesting herbs or gatherings hides to eliminating bandits and stopping witch covens.
I haven’t had this much fun with a game’s style and mechanics since Mount & Blade Warband, a game I have easily spent over 100 hours in. Deliverance uses a combat style kind of similar to that, as well as combining it with For Honor. Combat is mostly pointed on 1 versus 1, with swordplay gearing you to attacking from 5 different sides of your opponent, aiming with the mouse movements. You slash with the left click or stab with the right click, if you press as soon as the attack lands you can create flowing combos, changing directions also helps you in hitting the target easier. Always in motion, the combat flows so beautifully and keeps you on your toes at all times.
Besides battle, you will have plenty to do with Henry and his small experience of the world. You can talk to local traders and craftsmen who can teach you how to hunt animals, use a bow, repair equipment, create alchemical potions and even read, what a time to be alive. You can customise and alter so much of Henry’s gear and setup, it feels great to micromanage your armour, keeping it clean, repaired and sometimes poisoned. You can also craft potions to increase stats, health, defence, night vision and more for that Witcher feel.
As you start the game you will have but 10 groschens (silver money) to your name, but with careful planning, looting of the dead and poaching you will be able to scrape enough to buy your first set of armour, increasing your survivability out in the wilds. This slow build-up of an arsenal feels immersive as well as giving off a sense of accomplishment when you finally deck Henry out enough. The game also features an item-save system, so you will need to buy your quick saves in the form of Saviour Schnapps.
Through your actions, you will increase your base stats and skills, akin to games like Elder Scrolls. If you use a sword, that skill will increase, make a potion and your alchemy will increase. As these skills go up you will unlock perk points to focus on singular aspects, from increasing your max stamina or allowing beer to make you drunk faster over wine. I am sad that a lot of the perks are “balanced” since you will mostly be taking a minus somewhere to increase your proficiency. For example, if you want to deal more damage, you must give up stamina to do so. I can see why the balance was made, but as a gamer who likes making the ultimate killing machine, it did kill my vibe a bit.
It is hard to talk about all the mechanics in this game, but I can say they are very involved and accurate to how they seemingly were done back then. To repair swords you must maintain the speed of the grindstone and angle the blades properly, alchemy requires you to read the ingredients, heat up the liquids, grind herbs and use proper doses. It all pours into this feeling of not being a game, but an experience… Move over Animus.
The music in Deliverance is top notch, fitting the area, time zone and events, with plenty of trumpets, string instruments and orchestral sounds. When battles begin it comes in with the drums of war smoothly and exits as such. Sound design takes a step alongside, with plenty of sounds befitting the actions, as well as small shuffle noises, moving of chainmail and coin that increase the immersion even more as your own armour makes appropriate noises. The voice acting is also pretty impressive, with no real annoyances or poor acting from characters in my travels.
If you are a fan of difficult games that require skill and planning, then Deliverance is for you. You cannot run up to an enemy, expecting to win because you are the protagonist, most opponents have seen more action than you and can cut you down in seconds. Learning swordplay, using swords for leather or maces for plate, drinking potions, attacking blind spots and more will allow you better chances. If you’re against more than 1 opponent, you won’t be given time to kill 1 off since they attack altogether. Deliverance also starts off in a sort of survival mode, where the game can only be saved through sleeping, story progression or drinking a certain potion, this increases the immersion and difficulty even more, but can be off-putting to players who cannot spend hours on a game.
Sadly, the major issue with Deliverance is in its glitches and bugs, which is common in open world games. Plenty of doors and stairs have weird collision, trapping you in rooms or stopping you from progressing, unless you sneak, jump, sprint and spaz your way through them. Villagers will glitch up objects, notice Henry when he should be all but invisible, teleporting enemies and animals with weird rag dolling corpses. Thankfully I haven’t found anything game breaking, but these all break the immersion immensely, especially when the game is so focused on that one aspect.
Overall, Kingdom Come: Deliverance gets a 9/10, the gameplay is amazing, replacing my need to play Skyrim for quite some time to come. Swordplay is smooth and unforgiving to those who rush in, setting your character up is immersive and engaging, skill progression is rewarding and clearly displayed with diplomacy being rather in-depth. The glitches do pull the game back too much, and if it wasn’t for their magnitude and quantity this game might’ve hit a 10. If you are thinking about getting Deliverance, do it, you won’t regret it, but if you are put off by glitches, you may want to wait some time for them to be ironed out.