The ambitiously cinematic action RPG Kingdom Come: Deliverance, developed by Warhorse Studios and published by Deep Silver, invites players to visit the kingdom of Bohemia in the year 1403. Thanks to the painstaking attention to detail, its every bit as dangerous, grimey, and primitive as one might expect. The story begins by introducing players to Henry, the son of a master blacksmith in the village of Skalitz. Henry, by all accounts, is a bit of a do-nothing who spends his free time as a petty troublemaker with a penchant for alcohol and chasing after Bianka, a local barmaid. On the surface, Henry is quite unremarkable and ticks all the standard protagonist boxes. It does not take long, however, for this well written character’s charm to show through with the help of some spectacular voice acting.
Warhorse Studios has put a very heavy emphasis on realism and historical accuracy in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, and that decision shines in nearly every action that players take as Henry as well as the consequences Henry experiences. Get caught stealing or trespassing and Henry will be forced to either pay a fine or spend a few days in jail, which results in some debuffs and a hit to your reputation. Pay off a debt, however, and you may find yourself an ally that can teach you useful skills. Henry even begins the game illiterate, and it is up to players to decide whether or not to seek out a scribe so that he can learn to read.
One aspect of the game that suffers due to this push for realism, however, is the save system. As it stands at the time of writing this review, there are limited automatic checkpoints that are typically triggered by completing a quest or sleeping in a bed. If players want to save outside of these instances, they must first acquire Savior Schnapps. A few are provided by the aforementioned barmaid, Bianka, at the very beginning of the game, but if players want to save frequently they’re going to have to grind out a lot of coin to buy additional schnapps or luck out and find them hidden points of interest. Kingdom Come: Deliverance has the option to reload previous saves at your leisure, and I often found the ability to go back prior to possibly failing a quest and giving it another go to be vital to progressing through the game. My ability to do this, however, was limited to my supply of schnapps. Whether this system of buying saves helps with the immersion or not is a subject of great debate surrounding the game. Warhorse Studios have heard the complaints and do have plans to address the save system with a Save & Exit menu option in the next update.
As mentioned before, it is possible to fail quests, thus changing the landscape of events for Henry. Some quests are time sensitive, and not being in the correct location at the correct time can result in NPCs being upset, affecting Henry’s reputation, or even result in character deaths. Occasionally, this does result in glitchy moments. In one particular story quest, Henry needed to meet a bailiff at 7:00AM. When the bailiff was not available, the door to his office was locked. I buckled down, and used the the game’s “Wait” feature to pass the time until 6:00AM, and then just waited casually for the Bailiff was to arrive and unlock the door. To my surprise, I never once saw the Bailiff enter, and the door never unlocked. After consulting the internet, I discovered that this is a bug numerous other players had encountered, as well. I was fortunate enough to catch the Bailiff as he left his office to go to the tavern that evening, but as punishment for ‘not being timely’, as it were, he did refuse to issue me additional side quests later on.
Unfortunately, Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s bailiff glitch is not one of a kind. Another main quest, titled Ginger in a Pickle, is also notorious for having issues with necessary NPCs not showing up where they should be in order to progress the quest. Other players have even reported that the quest would register as having failed even when they carried out the proper tasks. I often found that most of these quest glitches I encountered, while problematic, were able to be circumvented by using the Load option to go back to an earlier save. Warhorse Studios have supposedly included fixes for these bugs in the upcoming patch. Given the scope and scale of the game, I found myself surprisingly forgiving of these glitches during play. Because there are so many options for activities, I found it perfectly suitable to backtrack to an earlier save and tackle a different side quest, or take Henry out for a little hunting trip or other activity before attempting the glitched quest again. It was frustrating to lose progress, sure, but it was nothing that a drunken brawl at the nearest tavern couldn’t make me forget.
If you were only looking to experience the main quest line for Kingdom Come: Deliverance you would still need to set aside somewhere around 30-50 hours, depending on your skill, thoroughness, and well.. bad luck with glitched quests. That’s a pretty lofty time commitment, but it doesn’t even include the hundreds of hours you could easily rack up if you want to complete all the side quests, fit in a little time for romancing bath maids or perhaps even a noblewoman, or wandering aimlessly around the forest after a stint with alcoholism. The game’s combat is a solid experience, and yet you can choose to skip it completely in an effort to be more diplomatic without sacrificing any of the experience. Despite its flaws and glitches, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is solid RPG that puts all of its eggs in the player’s basket, and then doesn’t get mad at how you use them, while also supplementing your choice with rich experiences.