Posted on 10 Mar 2018 by L Coulsen

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

The Defence

Developer: Warhorse Studios
Publisher: Warhorse Studios
Genre: Action, Adventure, Role Playing
Platform: Consoles, Mac, PC
Review copy: Yes
Release date: No data.

The Prosecution

OS: Linux, Windows
CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K 3.3 GHz
AMD Phenom II X4 940 3.0 GHz
VGA: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660
AMD Radeon HD 7870
HDD: 40 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: Full
Mod Support: Yes
VR: Yes
FOV Slider: Yes
FPS Lock: 30
OS: Linux, Windows
CPU: Intel Core i7 3770 3.4 GHz
AMD FX 8350 4 GHz
VGA: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
AMD Radeon RX 580
RAM: 16 GB
HDD: 40 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: Full
Mod Support: Yes
VR: Yes
FOV Slider: Yes
FPS Lock: 30

The Case

The Kickstarter darling has finally arrived, offering an “historically accurate” recreation of 1503 Bohemia. Brutal melee combat, people going about their daily lives irrespective of what you do yourself. Missions that can be failed if you wait too long. This is the world that Kingdom Come is boasting. Hype upon hype. So the ultimate question, of course, is can it live up to it?

The Trial

No, of course it can’t, don’t be stupid. The complete lack of racial diversity is…not an issue, but if you want to make a big deal about that, knock yourself out. The real problem, is that it fails in pretty much every aspect. Nothing crucially fails, no one thing is out and out broken, but everything is just not quite there, leaving the overall experience…disappointing. The best description I can give is that Kingdom Come is a mediocre game with a lot of great ideas. It also seems very much that, though Warhorse is made up of a lot of very talented developers, many of them don’t have the skill or experience to realise that potential. They also made the absolutely baffling decision to use the Cry Engine, so even at its best, the game runs like roasted arse.

Now, it can’t be denied, even on lower settings, Kingdom Come is an abso9lutely gorgeous game. Characters can be a bit plasticy at times, but they are generally animated well, whilst the environments…well then. There is nothing quite like that feeling of cresting a hill, just as the sun rises, to see a sweeping vista splayed out below you, with the first light of day streaming through the clouds. Meanwhile, trekking quietly through forests in search of game, seeing that tiny flutter of leaves up ahead, it really captures that feeling of being in a living environment.

Sound effects are equally impressive, with little crunches of the underbrush as a hare hops past, rustling of leaves in the wind, all work together extremely well. Other incidental sounds, such as the clanging of armour, are good, but really overdone. Even when sneaking around, protagonist Henry sounds like a smelting plant going full tilt. I swear his armour starts clanging when he so much as blinks, whilst the sound of clashing weapons is…underwhelming. There’s a little “plink” noise for every hit that sounds more like hitting a wet fish with your wedding tackle.

Ya, like jazz!

Voice acting is an equally mixed bag, with most of the major characters giving understated, but quite compelling performances. Lesser characters, like bath house wenches or random cityfolk can be a bit wooden. Likely because many of them were voicing about fifteen billion NPCs each. Though, a point in their favour, you won’t find yourself constantly running into the same three voices, most of them do at least sound unique. Though the accents on display are all over the place. Most of them are very broadly middle Britain sort of area, but I swear one of the guard Captains is trying to sound like a Texan General, it’s just so weird. Of course, I understand that having an English cast makes the game more accessible, and that British voice actors are generally cheaper to employ, but I can’t help thinking that a fully Czech (only) voice cast would have been better. That’s a niggle though, nothing significant.

Now the gameplay, that’s where some of the biggest problems start to come in. The comb at system is rather clunky, partly by design, but it’s also extremely easy to exploit. To begin with, you will start out as a complete moron, flailing around wildly as one would expect from a blacksmith’s son. This makes early combat an absolute chore, as you can’t block for shit and the enemies will just shiv you up. Especially at one point in the story, which you have to lose, but it makes you play out as though it’s a winnable battle. I appreciate that this is intended to give a feeling of empowerment once you track the chappy down and stab him right in his stupid face, but it just feels like a slap in the face. Something that really should have been done in a cutscene if you ask me.

From there, you will level up fairly quickly. Kingdom Come is one of those games where you improve skills by using them, so every sword fight will increase your proficient with a sword, axes with the axe and so on. This includes sparring, which can be done ad infinitum without any repercussions. Allowing you to level up enough to unlock the perk Headcracker, which applies across any fighting style and, as the name suggests, makes you able to crack heads. In game terms, this means a hit to the head has a chance of instantly incapacitating the enemy. And since most enemies seem completely incapable of blocking a stab, just spam the stab attack and fights are idiotically easy, even against a group. Just get yourself up against a wall, in a narrow passage, and you’re an invincible killing machine.

It's just a flesh wound.

This was actually rather amusing during one quest, when a jealous boyfriend tries to drown one of the nobles and you go into a fist fight. Something which is supposed to be a tense, grueling battle, as evidenced by how bloodied and out of breath Henry is in the following cinematic. But I stepped in and immediately caught the guy with a single left hook that dropped him instantly to the floor. For a game that boasts how much it responds to player agency, it’s littered with moments like that which completely kill the mood.

On top of all that, there are persistent bugs, some of which are amusing, others flat out gamebreaking, and some kind of in between. Example: When assaulting an enemy camp, I was swarmed by about nine enemies, which wasn’t much concern because of the above mentioned perk. But after I backed up into a bush, they completely lost the ability to fight, and just stood there in a group whilst I methodically stabbed them in the face. Other bugs, like Henry jumping fifteen feet in the air when he mounts a horse, are quite entertaining. The ones where the game just hangs and won’t load…yeah, they got to be so bad that I eventually just gave up and couldn’t finish it. Though I did put in close to 100 hours. Not all of which are recorded on my Steam profile, for anyone who wants to check, as I played a good deal of it via our press account pre-release. Good news is that saves are stored universally, so I didn’t have to start over when I swapped to playing via family sharing.

Finally, let’s address the elephant in the room shall we? You can only save your game by buying an expensive, single use item! Well, first of all, that’s flat out false. You can save in a multitude of ways, you can only save everywhere by using Saviour Schnapps. And yes, they are expensive to buy, which is a little prohibitive in the early game. But I can assure you, money is not hard to come by. Just rob everyone blind. Being a game where your carrying allowance is managed by a weight limit you can of course…carry as much as you bloody well want and just move really slowly. You can fill your inventory with 1000lbs worth of stuff and crawl down to a trader to sell.


Granted, a lot of them won’t taken stolen goods, or at least not large amounts. But the millers will happily take them off your hands, and you can always sleep to advance time until you shift it all. Just make sure to nip out at regular intervals to eat from one of the fifteen billion food pots, because it’s so hard to stay fed! They’re like bleedin’ Subway, one on every street corner. Not quite, but they are not hard to come by, and even though you can only use a pot once per day, it’s far from a major issue to keep yourself well nourished even without buying food items.

On top of that, there’s an alchemy system, which is actually a hell of a lot of fun. Asking you to add the correct ingredients, in the right order, mixing and heating for the right amount of time. With one of your starting recipes being the infamous Saviour Schnapps, which use extremely common, and cheap, ingredients. I ended up having my horse carry about thirty of the bloody things, plus the half dozen in my own inventory, so no, they’re not hard to come by. The harder part is remembering to use them, whilst balancing out not using them so often you end up drunk. Again, a good idea, without the needed skill and/or experience to really pull it off.

The Verdict

Having said all of that, I actually still recommend the game. It’s clunky, poorly implemented and frustratingly broken in places. But you can feel a really great game, just beneath the surface, desperately thrashing around, wanting to get out. Also, when it’s on form, it’s a dream to play. Just wandering around hunting wild game gets you into that zen state, where you just go with the flow and sink hours of your life into doing, well, nothing of significance. Just be aware, firmly aware, ahead of time that there are flaws. Many of which may be addressed as patches come, but all of which should have been remedied before the game was released. It just was not fit for purpose, as acknowledged by Warhorse themselves. And frankly, they should have waited. That was their largest mistake of all.

Case Review

  • Poaching: Hunting wild game is actually really…not quite rewarding, but oddly satisfying.

  • Visuals: The game may run like arse, but it sure doesn’t look like one. Unless you’re staring at one of course.

  • Voice Acting: A bit hit or miss, but generally okay, though far too wide ranging in accents.

  • Bugs: Several, with several being game breaking.

  • Combat: Completely unbalanced. First it’s too hard, then it’s way, way too easy.

  • Performance: It runs like arse.

2.5 Score: 2.5/5
A mediocre game with some great ideas and persistent bugs that, nevertheless, is still worth your money.


  • Settings: A whole heap of options, allowing you to tweak everything you could want...for absolutely zero affect. The visuals may change, but for many, the framerate sure won't.
  • Audio: A few bits and pieces to choose from, nothing terribly exciting. Default sound balance is perfect;y fine.
  • Controls: Fully customisable, but needlessly obtuse. A lot of thing could have been combined together, like climbing on and off a horse is a binding all of its own. Surely it could have been hold Interact, rather than a single click, so you don't do it by accident.


2 Score: 2/5

Having spent a few dozen hours in the shoes of protagonist Henry, I’m torn on whether he’s the most proactive RPG protagonist ever or the most wronged. I know those things aren’t mutually exclusive, and as I’ve learned over the past few dozen hours, neither are enjoying a game and being infuriated by it, much to my utter disgust. Warhorse have crafted an interesting game world filled with compelling characters and degrees of response to your actions that other games have often boasted about but never reached. Warhorse have also crafted a buggy game world on a rickety engine that manages, on my machine, framerates that haven’t been appropriate since calculators required their own table.

Unfortunate disparity is a running theme in playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance. One moment you’ll be admiring how characters react to Henry looking like a slapped arse after losing a fist fight and the next moment you’ll be wanting to suplex your keyboard to the moon when the lock-on system won’t behave. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows while just wandering Bohemia either: Henry may climb atop one shrub but bounce off another. He may pull off a combo of advanced sword techniques flawlessly or he may forget what the heavy attack button does. Henry may also witness a man who has somehow gotten his head stuck in his horse’s arse and giggle gleefully while frolicking across hill and dale while he flaps around behind like some kind of horrific game development afterbirth.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a good game. It has the potential to be an excellent game but at the time I’ve been playing it for review (both before and after release) it has proven time and again that it is unequivocally not ready for prime time. Some game systems are half baked (namely lock-picking, crime and lock-on) while others are merely so obtuse (speech, intimidation) as to have formed a digital tesseract. You can never be truly sure if you failed in something because you truly failed or because the game glitched for the thirtieth time that hour. In closing, it reminds me of Sex Pistols frontman, Johnny Rotten’s famous line: “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” They never performed again, let’s hope Warhorse can salvage their reputation better than an 80’s punk band.

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