Previews

Long, long ago, in the Kingdom of Bohemia — Kingdom Come: Deliverance at PSX

It’s been a long, slow road for Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which seems to be just the way that developer Warhorse Studios likes it. Based around the idea that a character should grow with the player, not at the superhero speed common in most games, Kingdom Come: Deliverance began as a Kickstarter campaign back in January of 2014. We got a look at the game during E3, and were excited to see it again at PSX. I sat down with Tobias Stolz-Swilling, PR manager for Warhorse Studios, who guided me through gameplay, combat, and three of the game;s 80+ quests.

Designed around three main pillars, Historical accuracy, realism, and fighting, Kingdom Come: Deliverance encourages you to embrace life in the 15th century Kingdom of Bohemia, and to approach the game’s many challenges like someone actually living in the game. You start out as a peasant, the son of a blacksmith, who dreams of becoming a knight. While the class system dashes that dream, you’re still able to put yourself into the good graces of a lord, allowing you to take on the role of a squire, and thus your adventure, one which will see you sabotaging enemy troops, sneaking into monasteries, and potentially even leading men into battle, begins.

Kingdom Come is a slow RPG experience, and will require you to invest both time and thought in order to progress. This is also a system built to reward those who invest the time, making your character both stronger and more capable, be it in battle, alchemy, or just in the ancient art of persuasion. While combat is a major focus of the game, it can be beaten by ignoring the more in-depth swordplay, which unlocks Tekken-like combo attacks, and focusing only on stabbing and blocking, though mastering the rock-paper-scissors style system of stabbing/slashing/blunt weapons will make you far more powerful and combat much easier in the long run. In many cases combat can be avoided entirely, if you’re sneaky, cunning, or just have a good sense of timing. Don’t want to fight your way through those guards? Try coming back at midnight, see if they’ve dozed off. Can’t fight your way through that bandit camp? Why not poison their food instead of bloodying your blade? Don’t want to fight your way into the castle? Then find some clothes befitting of a noble rank and see if you can’t try and talk your way inside.

With Tobias as my guide, I explored the massive world of the Kingdom of Bohemia, from historical towns and castles to a massive monastery which still stands today, its in-game walls decorated with patron saints of the kingdom, better known as Kickstarter backers. While jumping between several pre-saved points in the game, I watched as Will progressed from a novice, unable to properly shoot a bow and arrow, to a leader of men, sounding the charge and providing aid to a squad of soldiers through archery, field sabotage, and melee combat.

Historical accuracy may be a cornerstone for Warhorse Games, but you don’t need to worry, there won’t be any pop quizzes. I watched history advance, the story moving forward steadily, introducing historical characters, explaining their history, and leaving me to dig into the games Codex whenever I wanted to learn more. The games maps turned out to be one of the most dazzling features of the game, drawn in the style of Byzantine art. These maps change and update as the game progresses, the artwork itself informing you of marching armies, bloody battles, and burnt out castles.

This is a game that focuses on story and setting above all else, Tobias warns that if you don’t enjoy the story, you simply won’t enjoy the game. It both demands and rewards time commitments, and offers upwards of 85 unique quests, filled with humor and free from filler and fetch requests. If you’re looking for an RPG which doesn’t fast-track your character to superhero, super skilled status, you’ll want to check this game out. Kingdom Come: Deliverance will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One February 13th, you can learn more about this multifaceted RPG at Warhorse Studio’s website as well as at the Steam store.

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