Reviews - Updated on April 13, 2022

Curious, noteworthy projects at the last IgroMir could be counted on the fingers of one hand of Master Yoda. However, among the trash, there was still a place for good games. One such gem was Kingdom Come: Deliverance. At the event, we found not only computers with working builds of the project, but also a person who wanted to tell absolutely everything about it – Warhorse Studios PR manager Tobias Stolz-Zwilling.Kingdom Come: Deliverance обзор

Not Roach. But not Geralt.

PR man on a warhorse

Perhaps none of the developers who visited the exhibition had as much excitement and interest in communicating with journalists as Tobias. Although he is not directly related to the creation of Kingdom Come, he does his job perfectly. When a person with burning eyes tells that everything here is like in reality, that the game does not wait for the user, but lives its own life, that you yourself must find a way to solve quests, and not rely on clues in the magazine, that a fight with three enemies is this is a death sentence, you involuntarily become infected with his passion and begin to worry about the fate of the project, as for your own.

And there is something to worry about. All this talk about “the most realistic RPG in history” has a downside: players accustomed to many genre clichés may simply not understand and accept the hyped realism. After all, the rejection of the fantasy setting in words looks so innovative, but in reality it entails many circumstances that turn the gameplay beyond recognition.

So, in the version shown to us, a third of the time was devoted to moving the hero to the location of the quest. The senior sends a detachment to investigate a crime that has recently happened in his village. Our character was lucky to join the mission, and now five horses are trotting the “investigators” through the fields and meadows. We easily predict the conflict of views among the players: for some, the lack of fast movement and the need to calculate the distance to the target each time will seem like a tedious pastime. And for someone – a factor in immersion in the gameplay, the pleasure of which largely depends on the ability to passively look at landscapes, the life of peasants, and unexpected weather tricks.

Such a split is inevitable, there will be no unanimous recognition of the greatness of Kingdom Come: Deliverance. The question is which part of the community will be larger, because such dubious elements are here at every step. Our squad gets to the right place. Here, someone killed all the horses in the stable and killed a couple of guards. The commander asks us to sort it out and report the incident to the feudal lord. No objective marker appears on the map, and no detailed instructions in the log – only general information. Do what you want, how you want. You are the only warrior in the field – there are no hints, pointer arrows and an obsequious map behind your back.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance обзор

Life goes on. With or without you.

Between the hammer and the void

What camp will you be in? Will you join those for whom the time-tested examples of game design are indestructible, or will you breathe in the unusual realism of the project? The script grid is surprisingly deep: we can explore the area on our own and find a fence broken from the side of the forest. We can chat with the wife of one of the killed guards and get a clue. We can turn to a local frightened psychopath, talk to a witness to the crime … Tobias comments: “We were not striving for hardcore gameplay – we were striving to match the real logic.”

Within the framework of a separate dialogue, everything is also ornate: in addition to the usual replicas, we can rely on statements that suggest that the character has certain diplomatic qualities. Success depends both on skills and on the interlocutor’s attitude towards us, his personal character traits, as well as on our appearance. Expensive robes will help to intimidate, and a friendly smile will help to arrange. The information may or may not be useful, but in any case, the hero will not write important information for us in the diary.

One of the locals interviewed mentioned that he saw a group of people who came from the forest. Let’s hope these are the bandits we need… Let’s go in the indicated direction, hoping for luck, because the description of the quest in the journal has not been updated with the entry that guarantees success: “Proceed there.”

And here we are immersed in a fabulously beautiful forest. Or, better to say, fabulously real, because the forest here is not just a pile of copied trees. Birches of different heights, shrubs, streams – words can not describe, but there was nothing like this before Kingdom Come.

After walking for a minute in the indicated direction with the feeling “Where am I going?”, we suddenly hear voices nearby. Yes, these are bandits, one of them is badly wounded and asks the second to finish him off. The log is not updated, but we are free to use far from the most obvious scripts. There are simple options: wait until one of the robbers kills the second, and follow him or intervene in the process and fight the bastard, and then deal with his friend. But a completely unexpected, but quite logical from the point of view of real life, path has been prepared: return to the commander and report on the bandits. What percentage of players will guess it and leave the unfolding drama untouched?

Kingdom Come: Deliverance обзор

Reading is a skill: without it, the text in books will consist of randomly scattered letters.

Heroes don’t belong here

Tobias said that there would be many such counter-intuitive solutions for gaming traditions, which are quite logical from the point of view of real life. The decision to be a hero is not always the best one. By killing the bandits on our own, we thereby exceed the authority given to us, because the task was to investigate, and not to take action. The commander will “reward” us with a verbal reprimand, and the character’s reputation will be shaken.

By the way, reputation is a very important and complex system of the player’s relationship with the world. Any NPC has their own views on us, but the image of the character is also formed at the level of each town and each faction. So, in one settlement we will be a hero and local residents will shower us with compliments from a mile away. In another, we can be considered an insidious villain, because of which the townspeople will refuse to issue quests. And if you are in good standing with some drunkards, they will be glad to our company.

Gaining reputation also plays a key role in the plot. We start as a peasant whose family was killed by some villains. Fortunate circumstances allow us to enter the royal service and take revenge. The story begins as a personal tragedy, but diplomacy and politics take on more and more space.

The storyline corresponds to the real events that unfolded on the territory of the Czech Republic in the 15th century, and the scenario framework will not allow us to reverse the course of history – there is only one ending. It will not be possible to lead the state. The chronicle sets certain limits on the possible, but there are plenty of blank pages in it to save the player from any sense of doom. To become the right hand of the king, to determine the way to solve certain problems, to win the respect of his retinue or, conversely, to envy them – we are not free to make history, but within its framework we are free to forge our own destiny and make our name.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance обзор

Drinking alcohol is also a skill … The role-playing system promises to be original.

Occasional?

It all sounds great. Well, really, how can one not be surprised by Tobias’s remark about the real flow of time, independent of the player? If we had fought off the group from the very beginning of the quest described above and decided to postpone the task for later, doing all sorts of side affairs, then, having arrived at the place of the horse slaughter, we would have heard the angry cries of the commander. It turns out that while we were away, the royal army independently investigated the crime and even punished the perpetrators. So, a huge piece of content, including dialogues with locals, exploration of the territory, finding bandits in the forest, was behind the scenes. And we just got distracted by some kind of quest, which was just on the way …

Time for Kingdom Come: Deliverance is not an empty phrase. Let’s remember the flip side: are you ready to play a role-playing game in which even theoretically you can not avoid failed tasks, because time is one, and urgent tasks can be many? To act, feeling the consequences of your choice and constantly experiencing your own defeats, while the classic gameplay taught us to perfectionism – get green checkmarks in front of all possible quests.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance looks like a really experimental project. Are the above arguments not enough for you? Then remember the last time you saw a role-playing game without magic, without monsters, without caves stuffed to capacity with mysteries and secrets. Here the forest is just a forest. Thick, beautiful, filled with birdsong. You can wander around it for hours, but you won’t find a single interesting place, not a single injured NPC asking for help. A potato field is just a field, and there is no thought at all in the heads of the peasants working on it to puzzle you with an exciting quest.

Kingdom Come is very slow, even meditative. We will spend the lion’s share of the game time in conversations. Moreover, Tobias promises the possibility of a bloodless passage. Now there is one character in the script, whose death is indispensable, but the PR man assures that the team is trying to provide users with an alternative here as well.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance обзор

Mass battles are one of the most interesting features of the game.

To drink or not to drink?

The character development system includes an extensive diplomatic tree. You can fully invest in it and avoid battles in various ways – intimidation, charisma, bribery, argumentation … The combat branch is also plentiful, but it looks specific: the weapons here are unremarkable medieval swords, bows, maces. Remember, no magical effects, no legendary artifacts? Improving skills will make you remember The Elder Scrolls: what we do is how we improve. Go to the training ground and beat stuffed animals for days on end – perhaps you will become a master of the sword.

But do not dream of the heroic status of an invincible brawler. Fencing is also not deprived of realism, and therefore the battles are not at all spectacular. The movements of the fighters are slow, the weight of the weapon makes itself felt, fatigue accumulates rather quickly, and missed blows seriously affect health. Having a numerical advantage, the opponents will try to surround the lone, and you simply cannot physically block all the blows. Although, with high rates of relevant skills and a good reaction of the player, it will still be possible to emerge from such troubles as a winner. After killing three bandits, you really feel like a hero. Not a barbarian from Diablo, but a real hero who accomplished a real feat.

The shown build left a very vivid impression. Much better than the two year old version. The world has become alive, you can chat with many NPCs, the optimization has clearly been improved. However, there are still a lot of bugs – the big question is whether the developers will have time to get rid of them before the release. One thing is for sure: the facial animation, which is copied from cobblestones communicating with each other, is unlikely to be corrected. Emotions are simply absent, and this is not weak on the notorious realism.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance обзор

I’m sure everyone wants to go hunting now.

***

The developers decided on a very serious experiment – and given the risk they are taking, one cannot but give them their due. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an expensive project, long-awaited long-term construction, which in the mass consciousness has already won a standing ovation. But it doesn’t even come close to any Divinity: Original Sin II in terms of projected success. All of these ear-pleasing innovations have a downside.

This is not another RPG with freedom of action, non-linearity and other items of the role-playing program. Not what we are used to. Kingdom Come will provide us with a truly new experience, the popularity of which cannot be said yet. But in the burning eyes of Tobias Stoltz-Zwilling, sincere faith in his offspring was visible. Faith that infects you too, making you wait, hope and wish the developers success.

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