by Matthijs Knebel
previewed on PC
Henry the soldier
Developed by Warhorse Studios, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a realistic medieval first-person RPG. There are no dragons here, or magic, the game draws its inspiration from history and nothing else. You play as Henry, a young soldier in the king’s army and if you have ambitions to scale the promotional ladder as well as the siege one, you’re out of luck. While your goal in similar games is to become the king, you remain Henry the soldier throughout your time in Kingdom Come: Deliverance – well, close to it anyway.
I jumped at the chance to go hands-on at Gamescom and embarked on a mission that started with the general calling me into his office to receive a promotion after a successful recent mission. While talking, one of the guards broke into the conversation saying that there was something urgent to discuss. A farm boy had told the guard that his village had been raided by bandits. He described one of the bandits as huge, wearing only black armour. I’m sure you can guess what my new job was going to be - try and discover who was responsible for the raid. I went out to get the horse that was my reward for the promotion I received minutes earlier and rode along with the captain and men heading out to the farm.
At this point the camera caught my attention as it did not switch to automatically follow the direction of the horse. Like a turret on a tank, my viewing angle and the horse’s direction could be changed individually. This was a little strange in the beginning but after riding for a short while I got used to it and I can see how this would work when fighting on horseback.
I arrived at the farm and saw that only a few people were still alive. After talking to several witnesses, I learned that the bandits slaughtered animals and people simply for fun. Nothing was stolen, which is of course pretty strange behaviour for bandits. A set of blood tracks led me to the nearby woods where I found two bandits. One was on the ground and looked wounded, the other stood over him. I tried a stealthy approach but one of the bandits spotted me and started his attack.
As the mission started somewhere mid-game I had missed the tutorial and I had no idea how to draw my sword. I started a desperate fight using my fists and actually thought I decked him but he stood up a few seconds later to fight me again. It’s hard killing a man with your bare fists. Two more times I put him on the ground before I figured out how to draw my sword. A single hit finished him off. I reported back to the captain which finished the quest.
Afterwards one of the developers told me that the quest could have ended in different ways. For example, if I hadn’t gone into the woods and found the bandits but had waited at the farm instead, the bandits would have left. The captain would have gotten quite mad because I would not be able to tell him anything about the bandits. Instead of fighting the bandit one on one, I could also have run back to warn the captain and he would have sent a guard to come with me and help during the fight. Lastly, if I had ran back to the farm during the fight the bandit would have ran after me and the soldiers at the farm would have joined in the fight. We don’t often see this many different outcomes in games like this and it’s really exciting to see it in Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
There is a lot to talk about when it comes to Kingdom Come: Deliverance. The graphics are amazing, the environments are realistic and the physics realistic enough to make you believe water from the river is actually flowing down the river. The musical score suits the game perfectly and I caught myself enjoying traversing the countryside on my horse and listening to the calm and relaxing music playing in the background.
We’ll be playing the game for the story and action though, and after getting some of that for myself in the hands-on session I had only one question left for Warhorse Studio; “When will this kingdom be delivered!?” Their answer? February 2018.