A great game I recommend to anyone who loves the elder scrolls games, especially skyrim, the newer fallout games and the witcher. Many things these games do wrong, this game does right, but vice versa, this game does many things wrong those game did do right. Overall, in my opinion, while the game feels very rough around certain edges, Kingdom Come is the better game.
The first thing this game does really good is the immersion. It takes 6 very long hours to pass the introduction phase of the game, this includes the tutorials and the many cutscenes. While I can understand that many will find this boring and some even will give up before even passing this first part, it is a really good introduction to the setting and story of this game. It gives the player gradually access to new information, and gives enough time to interpret everything. By the time the game lets you loose, you should have enough information to know how everything works.
The bohemian region is amazing, it is an actual place in Europe, historically rebuild in cooperation with a team of historians. This is a huge plus: if you do everything by horse or by foot and don’t make use of the fast travel system, you will have a very nice experience. The cities are also very detailed, full of people doing their daily activities. The only game so far, that had such a good environment is the witcher 3. What I also like is the incorporation of random events happening on the road, similarly done as in Red Dead Redemption,
The problem with the Witcher and the Elder Scrolls is that most vendors, inn’s, (bassically everything) were just flavor. They weren’t incorporated in the game system, they didn’t really had any purpose. In this game everything feels connected, every city and village feel like a small community. You will get sleepy, hungry. After a fight, you will get dirty and wounded: you will have to wash yourself, repair your clothes and equipment. For this all to do, you will have to see many NPC’s and make use of their services. NPC’s who will react to your appearance. Something the elder scrolls and Gothic also did, but it wasn’t that as developed. The Witcher didn’t really have this kind of system, because everybody reacted the same to a Witcher.
The combat system is a difficult frustrating system that you’ll eventually will get the hang of, but sometimes it just feels very awkward, especially in the beginning. But when you’ll get the hang of it, it is by far the most complex and satisfying system I have experienced so far.
The stats behind the game are just as in the elder scrolls series hidden, exact numbers and RNG you will never know. Skill trees are not present, but stats are. There are no classes or builds you’ll have to think about. Just keep practising everything and eventually you can do everything. Every skill has a couple of perks you can choose, just like in fallout. It is a nice system, that only becomes complex in the way equipment works. Where in Skyrim armor only exists of a couple of pieces, it exists here of many layers of armor who all give their own bonuses.
The story itself is, so far, pretty normal for this kind of game, it is nothing groundbreaking. But I’m happy about that, it already feels like you are too much of a hero for the middle ages. A time when peasants were nothing more than peasants and here you’ll become a little hero for the nobility very fast… What I like is the feudal system, especially in the beginning, as peasant you will feel the nobility being a little bit posh toward the peasantry, something that you won’t often see in modern political correct rpg’s.
What I don’t like about this game are the animations in the conversations, and the flow of the conversations. There are not many animations that can happen in a conversation and especially in the beginning with all those introductions, it’s almost funny how many times you’ll see people do the exact same thing over and over again. Bowing, pointing toward themselves when saying “I”, or when referring to God making a cross looking at the sky, when angry they point angrily towards a certain direction,… and with flow I mean certain intonations, sometimes you’ll choose the angry option of the conversation and Henry will shout, then you’ll choose a friendly option and Henry immediately becomes friendly. Little bit awkward…
While speaking about animations, sometimes in combat the enemy can do funny bugged attacks, and the front legs of the horse move in my opinion weirdly when walking. But I don’t see horses very often where I live, so I’m not an expert.
Fast travelling is also done very nicely, it almost becomes a mini game in itself. When choosing a destination you’ll see a nicely illustrated pawn, representing you, travelling over the world map sometimes the you’ll encounter the already mentioned random events and you’ll will have a couple of seconds to react to them.
Side quests so far aren’t that fun, except for the thieving quests because sneaking, lockpicking and pickpocketing is fun and very exciting. Sometimes people react to your behavior just as in the gothic series. Sneaking around? People will asks why you are sneaking. Walking around in a private area, people will ask to leave or call the guards. But sometimes it does not work… When you break into a public building when it’s closed for the night, for example an inn and the innkeeper will see you in the inn, the game thinks you are in a public building and the innkeeper won’t react. Walk 1 inch toward his private quarter and he will freak out. This is especially funny when the private part of the building is the second level, which begins at the last step of the stairs. So you can run up the stairs, look around and leave and nobody will say anything about it. In my opion the private quarter should begin at the beginning of the stairs.
Another thing that needs fixing is the ranged combat. It’s sometimes difficult, slow and I’m not sure that people in those time had the quiver with arrows on their backs. When you look at certain medieval paintings (this is also true for the local musea in my city), the quiver is worn around the hip-area. But ranged combat is incredibly powerful and game breaking: when encountering a difficult enemy, take out your bow, run in circles and with 3-4 headshots he will be dead.
Random encounters are not always very random, after encounter the exact same knight with the same armor 3 times after each other, I knocked them all out and became very rich early on in the game. Knocking out is also too easy to do. Even when people know you are crouching behind them, you can knock out somebody and take their clothes and kill them with 1 strike.
Epic events aren’t really “epic”, Kingdom come has same issues as in other games. These are very scripted events and it takes you out of the immersion. Soldiers will behave accordingly to the script and enemies and friendlies don’t really pay attention to the player. It almost plays itself you are more of a spectator.
But enough about the bad stuff! Graphically this game is marvelous and a real beauty. I play it on medium settings on an 7 year old computer, one which was top of the line back then and I get 44 – 47 FPS. I don’t have seen any graphically issues so far. Items in the game are very detailed and are also historically correct.
Long story, short: awesome game, must play.