by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
Last year I had the immense pleasure of playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance which stole a good quarter of the year from me. Exploring the countryside of Bohemia as a rags to slightly-better rags swordsman, in the midst of a country fraught with invasion and political turmoil, was a breath of fresh air. So it is again with the new DLC Band of Bastards, as I take to the countryside once more on a quest for our old friend Radzig.
Much of Kingdom Come: Deliverance centers around combat, as the DLC's name may imply, Band Of Bastards is no different. Radzig is having trouble, lands in his care are being sacked almost indiscriminately one after another. Too much is happening too fast, and he needs the help of an old warhorse. Enter Baron Kuno of Rychwald, and his band of merry men. No, his band of real bastards.
After proving yourself worthy to ride with Kuno and company, the next couple of hours will be spent guiding the band and fighting alongside them here and there through the Bohemian countryside. During your travels you'll become well acquainted with the warband, and some of its characters are the most well written in the game. It also makes it a bit harder to try to keep them on the straight and narrow, as honor seems to be a fleeting thing for the band of bastards — all that matters is a decisive victory. Will you maintain your honor, or fall in line with their tactics? I saw my feelings on it vary from situation to situation.
Combat of course remains the same as the base game, favoring skill over outfitting. That being said, it's definitely not a good idea to jump into Band of Bastards as soon as it's available, and instead build up your character and personal skill in combat, as a few of the battles can rival some of those in difficulty from the latter half of the main game's story.
Outside of the storyline to resolve the situation for Radzig with Kuno, there's also a new area called Kuno's camp which lets you pal around with your new comrades as well as pick up a few side-quests, with the reward of a pretty useful ring at the end (no magic powers, but it'll get you free drinks).
The combat, characters, and new location are as satisfying as always but the end of the DLC didn't really feel like it added much beyond a few hours to kill, but in the case of Kingdom Come I'd say that's fitting. Not every quest-line leads to a satisfying reward or outcome, you're playing the role of Henry in his life, not a hero of legend.
The Band of Bastards DLC took me around three to four hours to see through all the way, which is a pretty good chunk of content for the price tag of $7.99. The characters and more of the combat I know and love definitely make this a DLC worthy of being part of Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
Well written new characters, Kuno's Camp is an interesting new area, plenty of the skill-based combat of Kingdom Come to go around.
DLC ending is a bit of a letdown.