Kingdom Come: Deliverance made for an impressive display at E3 2016 during my time with the folks from Warhorse on the very last official appointment of the show. It’s a game that defies expectations and really ups the ante in terms of ambition with its extremely and painstakingly detailed rendering of realistic armor, locations and the simulation of combat.
I have to admit that I had very little knowledge in regards to this Kingdom Come before my appointment, other than that it was a first-person game set in medieval times. What I didn’t know was that it apparently goes way beyond anything that I’ve experienced so far in first-person games that use this setting as a backdrop.
First and foremost, Deliverance attempts to replicate the various layers of armor that a knight or warrior would wear for combat. From the cotton robes to the iron plates that go as the last means of defense, every single slice of fabric and metal that go in the armor building aspect of this game is considered when preparing your character for war. Given that different weapons can cause a variety of effects to the body, like piercing via spears, or blunt bruises that come thanks to maces, every single piece of armor you pick matters individually.
Another facet of the game that was hammered home was the thought that has gone in depicting real world locations in the game. An actual village from medieval France was shown during the demo, and along with it came a picture from that same location as it looks currently. The amount of detail that carried over to the Kingdom Come is impeccable, down to the bricks that compose a building – in the demo’s case, a monastery – and how it decayed over time. So the game, set in the 1403s, the Dark Ages, they are made to look much differently.
Combat itself is also quite involved, requiring a lot of care as to where you strike your opponent. The demo showed a small arena in which one of the developers took on a couple of different foes. The first, heavily armored on top, took longer to go down, but thanks to concentrated strikes, eventually yielded. On the other hand, the second opponent was well armored, but left his head stupidly exposed, which left him open for overhead attacks. Still, it was a little difficult for the person playing the demo to defeat him, given how well he kept his guard up.
Another element of the demo that was emphasized was the story that’s being developed for the campaign portion of Kingdom Come. It involves a revenge tale in which the protagonist, a young blacksmith, has to track down the murderer of his family. His search in the demo leads him to a convent, requiring him to infiltrate the church as a new acolyte, fit in with the local customs and slowly pick up the information needed in order to finally nail the culprit, or at least know where he’s gone to next.
Unfortunately, the demo didn’t go too far in that regard, moving on to the aforementioned combat sections a few minutes after we joined the sect. It was mentioned that the final build of the game would include a detailed quest system and a little more in the way of pointing you where to go next, if you want to do more than roam around Skyrim style. In fact, Skyrim was mentioned by name as a bar that Warhorse wants to go well over in terms of content quality. Whether or not they’ll manage to do it is a whole different deal, but it’s refreshing to see a developer aiming to go beyond and not just merely borrow elements from a popular franchise and call it a day.
The little that I’ve seen of the game was enough to color me extremely interested in how it’ll shape up at release. It’s still fairly away from that, but until then, expect to see more on Kingdom Come: Deliverance before its eventual debut sometime next year.
Here’s a teaser video for the game’s beta that shows a little of what’s to come: