I have never played a game that’s so utterly frustrating than Kingdom Come Deliverance.
Playing this on the PS4, I had a relatively bad experience. It isn’t helped by the shit Day 1 patch release that Warhorse Studios threw out in order to fix the game (an update patch up to a total of 23GB, effectively multiplying the game’s size by two). It isn’t helped further by yet another massive update of 16GB a few days later, multiplying it by three again.
And even then, even with all the big updates, the game is still messy on consoles. Doesn’t that kind of ring out that Warhorse Studios released the game unfinished? By the time Warhorse is finished fixing the game, you’d have probably downloaded more than a 100GB. That’s ridiculous!
Kingdom Come Deliverance should not have been released the way that it was. It simply needed more time in development because it’s a bit annoying hearing Warhorse bashfully asking us to be patient because they’re fixing the known issues as we speak.
I’m going to come out and say it outright: if you have a sloppy internet connection or no internet connection at home at all, do not get this game. You’re gonna have a very bad time playing it pre-patched. For a single player experience to require that much patches in such huge sizes are just outright alarming.
Looking at the reviews all around the net, it’s a bit scary to post my own thoughts on what I thought about the game itself. Everyone is saying just how “great” this game really is that those who have the tiniest bit of complaint or disagree on certain accounts keep getting the “This just isn’t your type of game” or “get good” response as a means to justify that Kingdom Come Deliverance is in any way a good game. It’s not.
Kingdom Come Deliverance, in its effort to be so immersive, winds up becoming a clunky mess of a game. Glitches everywhere, some frame rate issues at certain moments, textures failing to load up in time. This isn’t seldom either, this happens all the time and is very noticeable throughout playing the game.
How can you provide an immersive experience if your game is this much of a mess? For a 2018 game, that’s unacceptable. We’ve had other games with wizards and magic and fucking dragons being more “immersive” than Kingdom Come Deliverance ever was.
Glitches and sloppy messes aside, let’s talk about the actual game mechanics…
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Warhorse Studios
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Price: USD $59.99
This review is based on a pre-release review code provided by Koei Tecmo.
What’s Good About The Game?
Surprisingly enough, I wounded up loving the story in Kingdom Come Deliverance. I was a bit skeptical hearing that game was going to be based on historical facts and thought that “oh, Kingdom Come Deliverance is going to be about boring politics and religion” but it’s not.
I was a bit disappointed to find out that we weren’t going to create our own characters and instead we’re put on the shows of the eponymous Henry, the son of the blacksmith of Skalitz. At first, I didn’t really like him despite my control of his character, but he grew on me and I wounded up being attached to his adventures and quest for revenge.
The characters are actually surprisingly charming. I like them. Even ones that seem annoying at first become really great characters to get to know.
Despite the very frequent textures loading up (especially poignant when you use fast travel), the game can seem immersive at times. I love the hunting in this game. Being surrounded by the woods really made me feel like an actual hunter.
By far, the biggest highlight of the game is the big battles of armies clashing against each other. At times, the game does encourage you to stay in formation. It feels like you’re playing an RTS game from one of the soldier’s viewpoints. It’s one of those things that has to be experienced for you to know just how awesome it really feels.
Combat is very robust. It’s a refreshing experience from all the twisting and spinning attacks we’re so accustomed to in other RPGs, but combat isn’t without its faults. As in-depth as it is, there is a lot to be said as to how it is introduced, we’ll talk about that later.
There are many ways to tackle an objective and I thought that was pretty rad. I like being able to play the game to my style and take down enemies how I like. It’s one of those things that Kingdom Come Deliverance really does well.
Much like a real person, you really have to put time and effort in order to increase Henry’s skills and you’ll really feel him improve. Speaking of skills, there is a lot to gain in this game. It really does a good job of making you feel like you’re making your own character and shaping it, creating your own build.
Managing your equipment is really in-depth for this game. There are so many more slots than just your typical head, arms, torso, legs, and boots to equip. I really dig that though it can feel overwhelming at times. There are many types of weapons to be used in this game. Bows, being the most powerful but the most difficult to use as there is no crosshair for it. Hammers can deal better damage against armor but very defensively weak against swords. You’ll most likely get lost in choosing and upgrading Henry to your liking. Though, these weapons don’t exactly open up right away. It will take some time before you can get your hands in them. In the meantime, you’re forced with whatever bladed weapon you can find off the ground.
This game is really a hardcore RPG. It demands that you pay attention to your health it doesn’t just regenerate automatically, nourishment by constantly eating and drinking, and even sleep itself if Henry goes on for too long without it. Kingdom Come Deliverance feels more like a Medieval simulation than your usual typical quest. Although some may not like this mechanic I am very fond of it. I do wish however that there was an option to just turn it off than making it mandatory.
Kingdom Come Deliverance is definitely a game that history buffs will appreciate as it has a lot of lore and people to discover the history of Bohemia. For those who like to read a lot and learn more, this just might be one of the best ways to learn about some history.
What’s Bad About The Game?
I feel as though Kingdom Come Deliverance is an overly ambitious game.
It’s big, it’s huge, and there’s a lot to do. But it doesn’t exactly do a good job of explaining. There’s this one long tutorial at the start at a form of a story, but it’s still quite lacking and overall even forgets to tell you some things important.
Now, there’s a tutorial section you can take a look at, but it’s really terrible. For example, I wanted to look at how the charisma stats work and how talking to persuade people based on my stats, but I couldn’t seem to find the right tutorial that teaches me that. It appears a little earlier in the game but it’s no longer there once you blink. So when a tutorial appears, you’d best read it before it’s gone for good. Who knows? Maybe others had a better time going through the tutorials. I thought it was a bit of a mess and needs some cleaning up.
In fact, the only way for me to properly learn about the combat mechanics in Kingdom Come Deliverance is watching videos online. I don’t think that should ever really happen. For a game that doesn’t do a whole lot of hand holding, it sure doesn’t take the time to explain critical things.
One of the things that frustrate me the most about the game is how intimidating combat can be. I already mentioned that combat is robust above, but it can really take some getting used to. You’ll most likely find yourself frustrated when fighting and then losing, and not in a way that makes you want to come back to the game. You’ll most likely be very tempted to quit.
Another thing in relation that made me want to give up on the game, is the inability to find the specific people you’re looking for. For example, I wanted to find Captain Bernard because he could teach me an unblockable counter move in Rattay. That was impossible and I wasted more than two hours of real time trying to look up and down trying to find him. I waited at the stable out front, I looked for him at the upper grounds of the castle, and he certainly wasn’t at the training grounds or anywhere else. Who knows, maybe he glitched out of the game? I had to restart the game from the beginning, which frustrated me to no end just to learn one simple counter move. Real fun.
That’s the thing about Kingdom Come Deliverance. It does a really poor job of explaining what others can do. It gave me this quest of learning swordplay from Captain Bernard but then it turns out that after completing it, it isn’t finished as Captain Bernard still has moves to teach you. Wouldn’t be so bad if those movesets weren’t so critical to winning at the game.
In short, you might have a better experience playing the game yourself…if you do it right. Playing the game wrong makes Henry a whole lot weaker and completely unprepared for enemies. This is a game that takes a lot of time and effort to invest in order to even succeed. And that’s the default (and only) difficulty. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is entirely up to you.
I really hate the opening cutscene. The game practically forces you to watch it. It gives a bit of background on the game, but you can’t skip it as it serves to mask a loading time. It’s pretty interesting the first time around, but you’ll quickly get annoyed by the repetition. I’d prefer it if they just have a stationary image for the loading instead of this. You can only skip it after the loading is finished but that takes a while. By the time the loading is finished, you’d have already watched 90% of the opening cutscene. It’s really annoying to see it every time you start the game.
Lockpicking is a hassle and a complete mess. Now, this I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this. Many have already complained that lock picking is tedious even at the easier levels. Not sure about that in PC, but on consoles, it demands that you have perfect control over your controller’s sticks simultaneously. Pair that off with a high-risk low reward (usually) with being spotted while lockpicking usually lands you in trouble. I just gave up on the lock picking mechanic on a whole.
I guess that’s just how difficult lock picking is in real life. But that unnecessary need for realism does not make the game any more fun at all.
It’s one thing for me to not use a mechanic because I don’t like it or simply don’t want to take that path. It’s another thing to completely give up on a mechanic of a game because it’s an utter mess. In this case, it’s the latter. Thankfully, Warhorse did state out they’re going to fix it in the future but that’s probably another 10GB patch.
Saving is kind of terrible in this game. There are only two ways for you to manually save your game besides the autosave this game does when you take a mission or complete it. You either sleep in your own bed or an inn, or drink a very expensive wine to save manually. For an open world game catering to exploration and many things to do, this can be discouraging with the difficult nature of the game. If you die, you have to go all the way back to your last save. While it adds some level of heavy decision making before battle and encounters, it can really be an annoying and taxing trial and error system.
This game also doesn’t tell you that there are time limits for certain quests. Not usually the main ones as they are necessary to progress towards the story and thus remain unaffected, but certain NPCs will get tired of you if you make them wait long enough. While that would be fine, if the game made any effort to tell us if there is a time limit. The old man who nurtured me back to health sent some ruffian after me because I haven’t paid my debt in a while. Fine, fair enough since I could still pay him back, but there are other quests where time can be critical without you knowing. With this knowledge in mind, I was running around tirelessly from Point A to Point B because I didn’t know whether or not I was going to fail a quest by not arriving on time.
Fast traveling from one point to another affects textures very much. Instead of a loading screen for fast travel, Warhorse Studios thought it was a good idea to make time travel pseudo real time, meaning the textures are loading along with your character traveling the roads. When Henry does arrive at the are you want him to be in, you’re gonna be looking at some missing buildings for the first 20 seconds. Not really very immersive.
Another thing about fast traveling is that Henry can’t seem to stop himself from fast traveling to a certain location once you’ve hit OK. While the fast travel process can be stopped by Henry being attacked by bandits and wayfarers and the likes, there is no actual way to cancel Henry’s destination manually even though you’re well past where you’d like to go.
Travelling from Point A to Point B can be tedious as Henry’s horse, despite having its own AI, doesn’t seem to know how to jump over a simple fence. You have to time it right otherwise the horse will hit the fence in total blindness. It feels more like your controlling a speeding bicycle than working with your horse. Speaking of which, some forests also feel like navigating through rocks. Bushes feel like stone and some of them are so compressed that I thought I couldn’t go through it before I forced my way through.
The game also starts to get frustrating when you need to talk to somebody for a quest and it turns out they’re in a restricted area so you can’t talk to them. You have to wait outside for them to come out because there’s no way to just knock! A real time waster.
Overall, this game felt more like a chore to play than any actual fun. You can go for realism only so far before you start thinking it’s too tedious. There’s not enough customization in the options section for people to tweak the game to their liking. Kingdom Come Deliverance isn’t very friendly to people outside its heavy RPG genre.
How Can This Game Be Better?
Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like this game is going to be all that bad in the future. Warhorse does seem to genuinely care about Kingdom Come Deliverance and update and fix it. That’s still no excuse for them to release it the way it was, a sloppy mess. And for me, that takes some serious points away.
As mentioned, Warhorse is already fixing the lockpick mechanic and looking for something better. I’m not really sure how in the world this got past testing phases because it would’ve been obvious out of the bat that this wasn’t going to sit well with most people.
I’ve already stated that finding certain people can be tedious as they’re often not at their designated post but somewhere else wandering. Being given the ability to find them can save a lot of time from tirelessly looking everywhere. If it’s not realistic to have omniscience to find out where everyone is, then why not have a guard to go fetch them for you or, if they’re too important to be bothered, lead you to them? That would’ve saved so much time.
Having the ability to knock on doors for NPCs to come out of their restricted areas also seems like a good touch. This saves us from having to wait until morning or for them to get their lazy asses out the front door so we can talk to them.
A few more options to tweak the game to our liking would be better. It doesn’t have to be an absolutely realistic simulation experience for everybody. Being allowed to play the game how we want can make for a fun time as not everybody wants to play along the game with the default settings the way they are.
There’s a lot more about this game that needs to be fixed, textures and glitches aside. These are the only ones I know how to make things better.
Kingdom Come Deliverance is not a game for everyone. True enough. Not many can appreciate the way the game is meant to be played.
But it can be bothersome enough to see that the game really has a lot of questionable mechanics and gameplay issues that it needs to fix. At one part I couldn’t even tackle somebody I was pursuing despite the button clearly prompting, Henry was just running around trying to chase the bandit while I swung my sword getting out of energy.
I really wanted to like the game, I really did. To those who say “You just didn’t give the game a chance” since when is twenty hours of game time not worth a fucking chance? I’ve had plenty of time to get to know the game better. If Kingdom Come Deliverance has a bad introduction before the game “opens up”, I wouldn’t recommend anybody to get their hands on it trudging to torture and tedious side quests just for the game to “open up” as you call it.
Time and time and again even after frustration I kept going back to give the game a chance. And each time I come out just frustrated.
My recommendation? Wait a few months for Warhorse Studios to fix everything before buying it. You’re just gonna be turned away from the game. Even then, be prepared for a massive patch to download.
This is my experience on the PS4, but who knows, maybe PC gamers have it better. I’ve heard that the console really does have a lot of issues.
If they managed to fix all the issues I stated out, this game would have a better score and I might come back to playing it.