Review: Playing Kingdom Come Deliverance on Switch isn’t as bad as you think

kingdom come deliverance, switch

It was a long-running joke at Czech developer Warhorse Studios that one day their epic title Kingdom Come Deliverance would land on Switch. Poking fun at Nintendo’s underpowered console, it didn’t seem likely that it would ever come to fruition, but the world does indeed turn, and what was once a gag is now reality. And it isn’t nearly as bad as you think!

Originally released in 2018, Kingdom Come Deliverance tells the story of Henry, a strapping young lad with a heart of gold who has his life turned upside down when his village is raided and leveled, forcing him, one of the few survivors, to find his true calling. And, in the process, he gets on with many open-world shenanigans in 15th century Bohemia, one of the most unique historical settings in gaming even to this day.

It was certainly a very unique game not only in theme, but in execution. A bold attempt at providing a more realistic experience when it came to just about everything: the real highlight was the combat, which had you sword fight in a very Punch-Out!! manner. The end result was something that took a little getting used to for sure, but once it clicked, Kingdom Come Deliverance was quite immersive.

I have a history with the game as well. It was one that I covered a whole bunch while at E3 when it was still a thing. I must’ve seen it four or five different times there, in various stages of development, and once it was finally out, I talked about not only the main game, but its various expansions. It’s easily one of the most ambitious products I ever got to talk about for the site, most definitely. For details about what makes Kingdom Come Deliverance a game worth playing, you should read my review.

kingdom come deliverance, switch
Battles are as chaotic as they ever been regardless of platform.

Granted, it wasn’t a fantastically optimized port on PlayStation 4, my system of choice at the time of those articles. It ran decently, but it was plagued with bugs and long load times, something that definitely worried me when it came time to talk about the new Switch version. And as expected, it does suffer from a few of those same issues, but it’s surprisingly playable even so.

I’ll get this out of the way: Kingdom Come Deliverance on Switch doesn’t come close to being the definitive way of playing the game: its resolution is noticeably lower, there is lots of draw-in, character models are simpler, loading screens pop up more often than usual, and it runs somewhat slower. It feels like some scenes that previously ran in real-time are now pre-rendered, too. 

Truth be told, I’m not nearly as tech-savvy as some other folks on the web, so for a deep tech analysis, I’ll recommend other sources, such as Digital Foundry, who has already put together a comparison video analysis on the game before on release day, so run a search of that on YouTube so you can watch it if you’re curious for the minute details. What I can say, though, is how well this is playable on Nintendo’s aging portable hybrid, and it is certainly that: playable.

kingdom come deliverance, switch
Character models do look blurrier, but in portable mode that’s hardly noticeable.

Developers have made miracles reality on the system for other incredibly demanding PC titles. One of the best examples is Doom (2016), where the porting wizards at Panic Button managed to bring id’s brilliant revival with its gameplay mostly intact, at the cost of graphics and sound. Kingdom Come Deliverance’s port is handled by Saber Interactive, who are equally amazing at the job and whose previous work with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunter is ridiculously impressive. Blurry as all hell, but still impressive.

So the same comments that I made for those examples remain the same for the game we’re talking about in this review. This is the sort of product that those who only own a Switch and don’t want to fork the cash for a Steam Deck or ROG Ally and want to play Kingdom Come Deliverance will likely get what they want at the cost of all the bells and whistles of the superior platforms. It is far from being the ideal way to play it, but for the (many) constraints of the system that it’s in, it works and it looks surprisingly sharp in portable mode! And it includes all the DLC, so it’s content complete in the form of the Royal Edition of the game.

Kingdom Come Deliverance is an incredibly ambitious game for sure. It is not for everyone and its quirks surely will get under some players’ skins, especially those who are looking for more fantastical adventuring such as The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – which is also on Switch, I’ll be damned! Then again, if your expectations are in check, and they should be at this point nearly 7 years after the fact, you’ll find a nifty little gem with this one.   

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