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Review: Kingdom Come Deliverance

Following a highly successful Kickstarter program, and a beta release lasting for around a year, ‘Kingdom Come Deliverance’ was released on 13th February 2018. The game was developed as an ultra-realistic medieval life simulator set in the land of Bohemia, a province of modern day Czechoslovakia. The moderately sized Czech development team behind the game, Warhorse Studios, had been developing the game for the best part of seven years,the sole franchise of the studio since its creation in 2011. The story centres around Henry, a peasant turned soldier under the fealty of his local Lord.

The game has received controversy about the lack of diversity represented throughout. However, the game was made under direct consultation of historians and academics as to the social structure of Medieval society. It isn’t known whether there were black minority ethnic groups in Bohemia around that time, and the game is particularly harsh on the minorities that aren’t present in the game, such as the “Cumans” who are treated with distain and hate as outsiders. Women are also often side-lined as characters in the story and will often be “damsels in distress” that need to be saved (but the same can be said for an overwhelming majority of male characters, including the main character himself on several occasions) and some strong female characters are presented in certain parts of the story. Warhorse Studios have confirmed that a female playable character will be coming in a future free DLC, with the date for this release yet to be confirmed.

The gameplay, namely the fighting itself is the main selling point of ‘Kingdom Come Deliverance’. It cannot be denied that the game’s unique fighting elements and mechanics create some thoroughly enjoyable moments that will make you feel like a sword-wielding master (the closest you will probably get to real-life sword combat currently in any game), but it too suffers from drawbacks through it’s highly artificial progression system. When you begin the game, realistically, you will be terrible at combat, and any weapon you use will have the force and precision of a wet baguette, the game attempts to improve this over time, through an organic progression system where you will level up a skill, only when you perform said skill.

Another huge hurdle affects the gameplay: the bugs. While bugs are to be expected from any studio attempting such an ambitious game, ‘Kingdom Come Deliverance’ trounces even Bethesda levels of bug frequency. Entire missions in the game can be rendered impossible to complete due to a myriad of bugs to the point where one mission in the game, called baptism of fire, and been colloquially referred to by the game community as the Bugtism of Fire. While some of these bugs can be hilarious, most are extremely frustrating when coupled with the lack of adequate saving mechanics that can mean you lose hours of gameplay for something completely out of your own control.

Despite its issues, the scope of the game itself as a debut title from such a small development team without, for the most part, any backing from large-scale publishers is commendable. Moreover, there will be moments traversing the game-world and interacting with the land of Bohemia that will genuinely immerse any fan of the Medieval world.

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