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The time has come for us to don our bulky plate armor, stock up on life-saving schnapps, and immerse ourselves in a slice of medieval Bohemian life following the adventures of Henry, an aspiring blacksmith with a penchant for revenge, as Warhorse Studios' open world RPG Kingdom Come: Deliverance releases today. Right now you can buy the game for your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, or grab it on Steam for $59.99 or your regional equivalent. If, however, you'd like to get it on GOG, you'll have to wait a bit longer, until February 27, 2018 to be precise.
The game's long-awaited release is heralded by this new trailer that looks pretty amazing:
The early and in-progress reviews, on the other hand, don't look quite as good, with many of the reviewers making a point of mentioning the game's abundant bugs and inconsistent performance. At the same time, the game's visuals, setting, and story all get plenty of praise, so it's unclear at this point whether Kingdom Come's issues are enough to make it more annoying than enjoyable, or if we have another Fallout: New Vegas-type situation on our hands. Have a look:
PC Gamer In Progress:
The save system is... interesting
My worst gaming habit is quick-saving every five seconds. About to pick a lock? Quick-save. Moments away from a big fight? Quick-save. But in Kingdom Come, you have to drink booze called Saviour Schnapps to quick-save, which gets you drunk and is quite expensive to buy. So I just don't bother. I rely entirely on auto-saves, which happen at key points during quests, and sleeping. But you have to own or rent the bed you sleep on for it to save. It's a clunky, slightly arbitrary system, but does give your decisions more weight.
PCGamesN In Progress:
I am yet to complete the story but, so far at least, it’s well-written, with a cast of hearty, foul-mouthed characters who are very much products of the recent popularity of Game of Thrones. The protagonist, Henry, makes a forgettable first impression, but is slowly growing on me. He is enough of a blank slate that you can either play the bastard or the golden boy without any qualms.
This is an ambitious game, polished to perfection when it comes to atmosphere, but rough and cumbersome in many of its moment-to-moment interactions. I am yet to be convinced by the Oblivion-esque UI, too. Even so, learning Kingdom Come feels like a craft in itself. It is intimidating and beautiful, if disconcertingly unstable, and for all these reasons is worth more of our time.
IGN In Progress:
There’s a lot to take in and by my own estimate, I’m only a bit less than halfway through the main story. My overall impression so far is pretty positive. The amount of work that’s gone into the worldbuilding and depictions of medieval society (with a couple exceptions) is downright impressive. Little touches that ground me (like the fact that having dirt on your clothes lowers your persuasiveness when talking to the nobility, forcing you to actually do laundry sometimes) are highly appreciated and help transport me more fully to the era being depicted.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a miscarriage of justice to correct. Probably with a sword thrust to one or more faces.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun In Progress:
There’s a point where Kingdom Come’s rigour loses its novelty, and the game’s rough spots grow more pressing. Some of the milder hiccups are delightful in that usual open worldy fashion – at one point I beat a man senseless and stole his clothes, only for him to greet me gaily on the road a few moments later. Less forgivably, there are quirks like NPCs refusing to loose their remaining arrows in an archery competition, forcing you to throw the tournament. The landscape can also be unruly when you stray off-road. You’ll encounter fences topped with invisible walls, and hedges that spurn your advances where others pose no barrier – worse, you might end up trapped in one.
The measure of an open world is ultimately not the story it tells but whether you’re happy to kill time within it, and Kingdom Come: Deliverance offers plenty of ways to do that, even if a lot of them will, in fact, get you slaughtered. It isn’t the departure I was hoping for, thanks to a shortage of character to set against the nuance of its historical sandbox, but the grubby realism is a pleasant shock next to the tales of elves and dragons that are its nearest competition.
If you want a bug-free experience, don't get Kingdom Come. If you want an excellent, open-world RPG that feels like a hardcore version of an Elder Scrolls game, then don't hesitate. The fact that an indie studio was able to release this only four years after their Kickstarter is insane to me, and it's games like this that set the bar higher for AAA developers. Warhorse did a magnificent job crafting Kingdom Come: Deliverance with only a fraction of the funding that an Elder Scrolls game would receive, and I can't wait to see how it supports this game and what its future titles have in store for us.
In Kingdom Come: Deliverance you're just a small cog in a reasonably big world, but your actions feel like they have worth and impact. You'll prove yourself to be helpful many a time, but often you'll have to rely on others for assistance, or to even do the job for you. It goes a long way to make the land of Bohemia a living, breathing place rather than just your personal playground, and I admire that. It's by no means free of frustration, but Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a special game. It's a game that isn't afraid of being different - of not holding the player's hand every step of their adventure - and for that, it's an experience to be treasured.
Hardcore Gamer 3.5/5:
Had the initial forty-to-fifty hour campaign not have delivered the level of bugs and problems present in the current build, you’d easily be looking at potentially one of the year’s best all-round experiences in an RPG and an essential for everyone no matter your affiliation with the genre. As it stands, visually, technically and mechanically sound its foundation is, Kingdom Come: Deliverance‘s performance is an unruly and occasionally unpredictable beast. Immersive and inviting it may be, it would be hard not to advise a level of caution going into this game in its current state — triumphs of its explorative aspects notwithstanding. Here’s hoping Warhorse can quickly absolve their game of these annoyances, because their debut outing more than deserves to be heralded and praised just as highly as Morrowind, Fallout: New Vegas or even The Witcher 3 as one of the best, worthwhile and more so unique RPGs to release in recent times.
Attack of the Fanboy 2.5/5:
Technical issues aside Kingdom Come: Deliverance is at best an ambitious game. There are flashes of brilliance in the implementation of Warhorse Studios' unique systems of the game, as it truly does have interestingly deep survival and progression elements. Though when you do take into account the technical issues it becomes a frustrating experience in which the bad completely outweighs the good.
In the end, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a very good and immersive title, but it suffers from technical issues and some surprisingly misguided design decisions. I was completely enthralled by the first three hours of the game, but the more I explored its systems, the more grating they became. It never stopped it from being a great title – and it occasionally recaptured that magical immersion from the first few hours – but its issues are so severe that they effectively ruined my enjoyment of what is an otherwise very good game.