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Amorous Adventures tasks you with helping sir Hans Capon find his true love. In practice this means a fairly short quest line that has you participating in some of the game’s less enjoyable activities, such as sneaking, dice throwing, and alchemy. Granted, the DLC’s final interaction is pretty humorous, but getting there can be rather tedious.
Band of Bastards has you join a mercenary band tasked with protecting your lord from one of his rivals. I liked the idea of this DLC, but not the execution. It’s too short to properly make you care about everyone involved, some of the things that happen feel incredibly contrived, and there’s no good place for it in the overall story. By the time I started this DLC, I was strong enough to win all the fights on my own and didn’t need the mercenaries. On the other hand, if you start it early, by the time you’re done with it, you’ll get a set of essentially end-game armor that can turn most of the game’s challenges into a cakewalk.
As you can see, the game’s DLC have been less than impressive so far. Combine their middling to bad content with the fact that they can make the mid-game feel a touch too bloated, and you get a fairly dubious proposition. This all changes with A Woman’s Lot. The game’s final piece of DLC adds quite a bit of content, and that content is among the best the game has to offer.
First, it adds a new skill that lets you have a canine sidekick. This skill can be game-changing, as your four-legged friend can help you both during combat and exploration. Then, you get a stand-alone mini campaign where you play as Theresa, Henry’s love interest in the game. This allows you to see the game’s opening section from a different perspective. While not particularly groundbreaking, it can provide a fun change of pace.
And then, if that wasn’t enough, the DLC also adds a new quest line, and this one is actually great. It’s well-written, engaging, and has more branches than an old bonsai tree. It also makes it incredibly easy to arrive to a less than rosy ending where in the end you’re simply left to ponder your failures, which is quite a bold and refreshing move. So, if there’s one KCD DLC you absolutely have to play, it’s A Woman’s Lot.
The game looks fantastic and runs fairly well considering its visual fidelity. Its sound design is not far behind, with crunchy sound effects, and numerous medieval tunes playing in the background all the time.
Back when it just launched, KCD had a reputation for being a buggy mess, but most of those bugs have been dealt with by now. You still get occasional clipping issues, glitchy physics, and NPCs that either walk into walls or occupy the same space, but most of those things are pretty harmless. I did get one crash during my playthrough, but that was it.
As I rarely play major modern releases, the fact that KCD takes up over 50 GB caught me a bit off guard, but at least you can download high definition textures as a separate DLC instead of them being a package deal.
You also really want to have an SSD to play this game. Not only can KCD’s loading times get annoyingly long otherwise, every conversation in the game is presented as a cutscene, which, with how things are set up, means constant loading.
Then, there’s the save system. The game saves on quit, when you sleep in your own bed, and when you drink a special alcoholic beverage. It also autosaves during missions. This feels needlessly restrictive and ultimately pointless, as after the first few hours you will have enough money to buy, or brew, all the saving drinks you will ever need to save freely.
Another thing that hurts the game is its multiplatform nature. A complex game like KCD, a game with so many systems and possible interactions, needs fairly robust controls, but because it was designed to be played with both keyboard and mouse and controllers, those of us playing on PC have to deal with an unwieldy control scheme. And then, there’s the inventory screen that’s presented as a list and a series of tabs instead of something more tactile.
In the end, I’m not sure whether me enjoying Kingdom Come: Deliverance even despite some of its shortcomings reveals that it is an outstanding open world RPG, or that it simply appeals to those who prefer games with a bit more focus than your average open world experience.
I just know that playing it reminded me that I used to read history textbooks for fun as a kid. It also made me go through too many Wikipedia articles in an attempt to learn more about the game’s underlying events and its characters. And I feel like that’s an impressive achievement for a historical game that’s both unique and challenging.
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