At E3 2017, we made our way to Warhorse Studios’ impressive booth, to give their upcoming realism based RPG, Kingdom Come Deliverance, a first hand playthrough. The middle ages era game is releasing on February 13th, 2018 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.
The hands on demo for the game presented us with 3 different game mode options, the main story, a combat tutorial and skirmish mode. No matter which you choose, the game is rendered in some of the most beautiful visuals you’ll see, with faithful recreations of historical architecture from the middle ages and specifically Bohemia.
The main story puts you through the opening questions of the game to get a sense of your stat preferences and then lets you go to explore the land. The quests are completely reactive and let you handle your business in any way you see fit. If your particular quest choices fail, you are not locked out, instead new options will present themselves for resolution, even in completely different quests. For example in the demo, you were charged with recovering money from a sheister. If you fail at this, later on your friends will ask you for help in which you can agree in exchange for their help recovering your money. This kind of flexible approach to questing allows for a tremendous amount of freedom that is such a breath of fresh air in open world gaming that always promises agency but often only delivers boxed in choice.
In the skirmish, we were able to really dig into the game’s combat system which was much more intuitive than we thought. You equip a primary and secondary weapon and once you begin engaging an enemy you can choose a direction on a 5 way compass to target specific areas of a foe’s body that may be left unprotected. There is a heft and weight to the combat that is very enjoyable and striking down a foe comes with the enthusiasm of a fight well won. This particular skirmish is itself bound by the reality of the choices you make, as getting to these situations is completely dependent on how you play out the prior quests. In some cases, it may be possible to completely avoid large scale battle with deft diplomacy.
The combat and gameplay is realistic but it’s incredibly immersive and the game allows a strong sense of fun, which should assuage any players concerned that the realism would be too much to manage within an open world format. The AI is the true star of the show, and despite the occasional bug, when it all comes together you see some emergent interaction that makes you want to see how the world will react to you and your choices.
Kingdom Come Deliverance is all about playing the game the way you want to play it and this hands on showed us that it’s very much a realistic proposition. The game is set up to accommodate and respond to the choices that a player makes, never explicitly condemning or rewarding the player for the choices with a judgement.
Kingdom Come Deliverance continues to impress us with the progress it makes every time we see it in action. It is beginning to take a definitive shape as an open world RPG that lives, breathes, and carries on its own life that both reacts to what you do as well as follows the beat of its own drum. The game is set to release early next year, and we are looking forward to getting real with it.
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