Kingdom Come: Deliverance - Review

Author: Marco "Uomoespo" Esposto
Date: 2020-07-30 17:13:41
In the months leading up to the release, there is a phrase that Warhorse Studios (the Kingdom Come Deliverance development team) reiterated with increasing conviction: "It's a Middle Ages simulator." Nothing more true. Kingdom Come Deliverance should be a RPG, and in fact it is, but the factor that stands out most to those who face it is this almost obsessive search for him to recreate the society of that time, with its rules, its bigotry , the lights and especially the shadows of those dark times.

The game puts us in the shoes of the poor and humble Henry, son of a blacksmith, and makes us move in that specific Middle Ages. Not in that of the learned, of the philosophers, of the humanists who tried to bring humanity out of ignorance and not even that of the knights of King Arthur. Because those are legends, in the Middle Ages only the nobles could be knights and if you were not lucky enough to be born with blue blood the only way was to pay very high prices for a sheet of paper that told the world that our soul was pure and noble. The intent of Warhorse Studios is therefore almost academic, and certainly full of charm. There is no room for the epic and let alone the fantasy that apparently similar productions like a Skyrim or a The Witcher 3 have accustomed us to. Kingdom Come Deliverance is a punch in the teeth with characters with magical armor, the golden swords and enchanted stones that produce flaming spells.

But now, an essential question: when you play Kingdom Come Deliverance, get ready for a full-bodied 23 GB update patch, as described in one of our articles. Get there prepared, in case your connection is not the most performing and such a detail can mean for you a determining factor on whether or not to buy a game. We also immediately clarify the fact that without the patch (I have had the opportunity to try both versions) the overall game experience is certainly worse, as regards the technical and purely playful side.

Let's go back to the real experience: Kingdom Come Deliverance focuses a lot on narrative and from this point of view it is very accurate, with hundreds of lines of dialogue (among other things very well located in Italian) and a story that mixes historical events with some invented fact. Story rather customizable, the different choices will in fact bring the events to intertwine in a different way, albeit always leading to the same ending (Warhorse Studios explained how he wanted to give freedom to the player but at the same time tell a very specific plot).

We are in the Kingdom of Bohemia, in 1403, and we impersonate Henry, it was said, the son of a blacksmith. A very skilled blacksmith who is preparing the sword for the local gentleman, Ser Radzig. The two are old friends and this is the only narrative element that could make the most expert connoisseurs of medieval history turn up their noses, where the interactions between nobility and plebs were practically nil. As told in our latest preview, this little poetic license has become necessary for the history of the game and to expand the possibilities given to the player during his adventure. In fact, what happens is that Henry's village is attacked, sacked and his parents killed before his eyes. Saved thanks to a daring escape, the young man, however, decides to return home days later to give his loved ones a worthy burial. Here he is attacked again and left to die, seeing the sword that his father had prepared for Ser Radzig stolen.

Henry is rescued by a miller and his daughter, waking up in Rattay, the village located right in the shadow of Radzig castle. The latter, sorry for the death of the boy's father, decides not to worry about the sword, preferring to make sure that Henry is well. But the latter wants to honor his father's death and work and swears revenge against his assassins, but above all to recover the weapon to deliver it to the nobleman. Almost surprised by his courage, Radzig takes Henry under his protective wing, teaching him to fight and giving him a place among Rattay's guards. As said, historically unlikely, but the dialogues and the story are convincing enough to suspend disbelief and make this type of favoritism acceptable to what is in all respects a poor man who has nothing to offer the gentleman on duty.

Kingdom Come Deliverance then opens to the player, giving him several things to do, which can take a few tens of hours (about forty to complete the main plot by adding some extras), but the clock can easily touch the hundred for those who love getting lost in this kind of games. Henry is freely customizable (there are no classes) accumulating experience, to be obtained with certain choices in the dialogues, based on actions performed or missions completed. It goes without saying that by enhancing the Strength parameter, the boy will do better in battles, as well as aiming for the Language, he will be able to interface better with those who are more cultured than him (thanks to some secondary missions, it is also possible to learn to read). The whole game is marked by a very precise day-night cycle, with shops that open at certain times or non-playing characters who can meet in different places at different times, simulating a real existence parallel to ours. Henry has to sleep, wash and eat, or his strength will fail, just as his precision and the risk of starvation could become a reality. And don't think that Radzig is there ready to cover you with money, as he has already said too much and it's up to us to survive in a society that is ruthless to define.

The game map (accessible on foot or on horseback) is fairly large, divided into a dozen areas and with various villages to visit. Don't expect big cities, at most a couple of bigger towns with small castles attached. The Kingdom of Bohemia is a purely wooded area, made up of rivers, hills and trees that are lost in sight. A kingdom that Henry will explore in his new role as a knight in the services of Radzig, while he will try to find the murderer of his parents and the much coveted sword forged by his father. The world of Kingdom Come Deliverance lets the bucolic player breathe tranquility, with a faint chatter in the small towns and overlying silences when night falls or in religious environments such as churches and monasteries.