Review in Progress: Kingdom Come: Deliverance

My kingdom of jank, thievery, and mistakes

When Kingdom Come: Deliverance is at its best, I’m lost in the most detailed forest I’ve ever seen in a video game, low on food, drinking alcohol for nourishment, all so I can reach the next town to sell my wares…because the last town hates me for stealing, murdering, and other various crimes against humanity.

When it’s at its worst, I’m cursing the person responsible for the lock pick mini-game, having a hard time walking up stairs because of weird random collision detection and other bugs, encountering framerate hiccups, and being greeted by a familiar blue screen telling me: “An error has occurred in the following application.”

But, when it is at its best, I’m genuinely loving my time with Deliverance.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)
Developer: Warhorse Studios
Publisher: Deep Silver
Released: February 13, 2018
MSRP: $59.99

Deliverance is a game that truly aspires to put role-playing front and center once more within the genre, and for the most part, Warhorse Studios achieved this as Deliverance has some of the most deep and impressive role-playing mechanics I’ve seen from a game in a long time. For example: this is a game that has me washing myself and cleaning my clothes before talking to certain NPCs to make a good first impression. However, this is also a game that disregards seemingly obvious features, seen in other games, for the sake of “realism.”

This is after all one of Kingdom Come‘s strongest selling points: a massive open-world RPG attempting to be grounded in realism and historical accuracy. But the preference for a realistic approach to saving your game by sleeping in a bed or drinking a specific drink over simply a quick or manual saving function is obviously going to be different from person to person. I can see the arguments for both preferences (especially within the context of aiming for realism). But, after playing a little over 10 hours with the PlayStation 4 version and having it crash on me at the most inconvenient moments (even with the 1.1 patch installed), I can’t help but feel like something as simple as quick saving would make a world of difference.

However, when I’m actually playing the game, the debate of realism versus convenience exits my thoughts thanks to the incredibly written dialogue and the biggest surprise of this game for me — Henry himself. For those unaware: Henry is the protagonist of Deliverance and despite looking generic as you can get for a protagonist in video games lately, he’s surprisingly charismatic and well-voice-acted. Henry’s reactions and emotions to any given situation have a great range and make the heavy dialogue-driven sections far more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined.

As for the gameplay, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the combat. I’m fairly awful at it more than ten hours in and still attempting to get over the learning curve. If I had to make any comparisons though, it feels like a heavier, slower-paced For Honor. For those of you interested in my overall thoughts on the game, you’ll want to stay tuned for the full review going up early next week.

For now, let me tell you a brief story of how I (as Henry) became the most hated man in the town and castle of Rattay. This is a story of greed, regret, mistakes, and why I spent most of last night trying to repent my ways. This may also contain some light spoilers, so fair warning for those of you reading beyond this point who are already interested in playing Deliverance.

My story begins after the opening segment, after burying my dead parents, having my father’s sword stolen from me, and being left for dead. I’d awaken inside a mill, two weeks later, just outside of Rattay. Long story short: a girl from my old village named Theresa rescued me from the prior events, and brought me here. Now her uncle (and owner of the mill), Miller Peshek, demanded I repay him in coin…or help him with some tasks that require a lighter touch.

After making the obvious choice to help him and learn some new things, I was digging up a corpse (despite just burying my own parents prior), failing the tutorial lockpicking segment, and breaking all my lock picks in the process. This would then result in me instead breaking into a man’s house by beating him up first and looting him for the key. Finally, I’d earn Miller’s trust and we’d become thick as thieves and I’d unlock the ability to sell stolen goods to a fence.

Miller would also attempt to teach me the art of pickpocketing, however during the tutorial, I kept failing the mini-game (again), closed a dialogue window, which then somehow caused Miller to bug out and run off proclaiming I’m a thief and calling for the guard. I knew from this moment on that these mini-games were a crapshoot and maybe not worth the time. Shortly after reloading, I’d meet the local vagabond in Rattay, who offered to help level up my pickpocketing skills in exchange for stealing various things from people in town.

It is here where my life of crime truly began to prosper, as I soon discovered I didn’t need to pickpocket at all to be a decent thief. Instead, I could simply just knock people out from behind and completely rob them of everything they had while they were unconscious. Whether it was a local guard, a noble, shop keep, it didn’t matter to me. I continued to do this almost every night, as well to random folks outside of Rattay. Each morning, I’d take their belongings to my fence, and fill my pockets with coin.

Before I knew it, the local vagabond was calling me the king of thieves of Rattay. I become so rich from fencing things, I’d simply pay off the guards for any minor offense, including when I began practicing my lockpicking and pickpocketing on the townsfolk. Becoming a true crime master pleased me, however, I’d soon take things a step too far…

On another routine morning walk to my fence, proud of my latest heist of the town’s armory, I’d spot a dead deer on the side of the road. I thought to myself: “Free meat? Why not!” Immediately after closing the inventory window I entered a dialogue window with a man claiming that I poached the animal and he was going to inform the guard. With all the stolen goods on me, I could not let this happen, so in a panic I reached for my bow and shot him down. I’d strip him of his clothing and throw the body in the river in an attempt to hide it from the locals.

After fencing off my goods, I fast-traveled back to town, fearful of how the guards would react to my presence and unsure if the AI immediately picked up on what had transpired. As I approached the gates, to my surprise, everything seemed normal. In that moment I knew I had gotten away with murder…and enjoyed it. Following this, I’d kill plenty more, whether it was random knights on the road outside of town attempting to find “honor” in dueling me or the poor townsfolk who caught me practicing my pickpocket skills on them. I’d simply punch them in the face until they ran out of town, pay my fine to the guards, catch up to them outside of town on horseback, and cut them down.

By this point, my Rattay reputation hit an all-time low; shopkeepers refused to sell their goods to me and would demand gold before I could even speak with them. To my surprise once more, this even included quest-related NPCs. After completing various quests in town, I had spent all my coin attempting to regain their trust — and worse yet, I could no longer afford food or drink. From there, I decided to take what little gold I had left and travel to another town in an attempt to rebuild my reputation and end my thieving ways.

I decided the roads weren’t safe and would make a beeline on foot towards the town of Talmberg through the various hills and forests. A short time later, I realized I had made a critical mistake and had no food on me — just various forms of alcohol. Although my stomach was growling, I knew I only had one more forest to go through before I made it to my destination. In that moment, I decided to chug down all the alcohol in my inventory, for what little nourishment it had.

Not before long, my vision became blurry and my camera was bobbing in all directions. Henry also began making various burp and fart sounds…I had made another terrible mistake. They would continue, as I mistakenly stumbled into a bandit camp. Moments later, after being horribly cut, with the possibility of bleeding out, I would panic and try to escape by sprinting deeper into the woods.

Instead, I fell down a steep hill, first-person rag-dolling all the way down, all while still burping and farting. There, at the bottom, I’d bleed out and would be greeted by my first game over screen.

Mistakes were made. Let this be a cautionary tale for those who decide a life of crime is for them in Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

[This review-in-progress is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

About The Author
Dan Roemer
Contributor / Video Editor - Local video person. I've been enjoying and dabbling in Destructoid since 2014, became staff in 2017, co-hosted Podtoid, and my spirit animal is that of wild garbage. Disclosure: I backed Shenmue 3 on Kickstarter and I'm a current Patreon supporter of Nextlander, NoClip, and Mega64.
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