Kingdom Come: Deliverance - E3 Preview

Ned Jordan
In Short
A look at the Medieval RPG Kingdom Come: Deliverance at E3 2017.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an RPG set in Medieval Europe, but not a fantasy version of the Middle Ages in which you'll be fighting dragons and slaying orcs. Kingdom Come is set in Bohemia in the 14th Century, a time in which the kingdom's independence is under threat from the King of Hungary. And unlike most RPGs you won't begin the game as a knight or adventurer, either, but rather as the son of a village blacksmith. However, the tides of history are washing across all of Bohemia, and you won't be enjoying an idyllic peasant's life for much longer.

The game's demo at E3 2017 gave a glimpse into Kingdom Come's world and how the game will play. The game's developers have done extensive historical research for the game, and you'll find a number of historical figures among the NPCs and characters that figure prominently in the story. The game will provide an encyclopedia of information on these historical figures as well, so those of you who want to gain a greater understanding of the period will have plenty of background material to peruse. This historical accuracy even extends to the game's map, which is designed to look like a map typical of those in use in 14th Century, complete with illustrations in the margins. These are all essentially game flourishes, though, and where you'll really get a dose of medieval accuracy is in battle.

First of all, armor isn't something that you move around an equipment screen to increase some character statistics. Armor has weight to it, and if you clad yourself in plate you'll notice that you move a lot slower under the weight of all that armor. Don a helmet with a facemask or visor and your view of the world will become restricted by your face covering and you'll have to weigh the benefit of increased protection against the handicap of decreased vision. Fights are more than dice rolls cast by mashing an attack button, too. You'll need to direct the direction and angle of your blows as you look for an opening in your opponent's defenses, so you'll need to outsmart your foe if you're going to have a chance to overpower him. If you find yourself in the middle of a battle, you'll have to be very aware of what is taking place around you or you could find that an enemy has walked up behind you and put an axe in your back.

I had a little hands-on time to try out the game's combat on my own after the developer demo. After a little practice with the combat system in a series of duels against a single opponent while also trying out a few different armor sets, I was ready to take part in a small skirmish involving about 20 combatants. The thing that struck me most about the battle is that it was as chaotic as you might expect a real battle to be. The combatants didn't simply pair off like they were all under the control of the same director ' nothing was scripted and the battle was left to the AI to wage. There was no predetermined outcome to the battle and each time I started it anew the battle played out a little differently. With each battle I had the choice of pushing myself deep into the fray, staying at the edges to strike at enemies when the opportunity presented itself, or just watching from a safe distance and let the battle play out on its own.

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The lack of predetermined outcomes works its way into the game's quest system as well. You can fail a quest, but that doesn't mean that you'll be forced to load a saved game or that the quest will be closed to you for the rest of the game; you'll just have to find another way to complete it. The game's developers showed an example of this in the demonstration. In a quest early in the game, you must collect a debt for your father from the town brute. There are several ways to go about this, and in the demo the developer playing the game chose to fight for it. The fight didn't go well and so the money wasn't collected. However, a little later in another part of the village a group of men tries to enlist your help to prank a foreigner living in the village who has been supportive of the Hungarian king. You can offer to help them out in exchange for help with the debt collection, an option that would only be available in this encounter if you hadn't found another way to collect the debt first.

Other things learned in the demo include that the game won't have a character class system, and will instead take a skill-based approach to advancement similar to games such as Skyrim. The more you use a sword, the better you'll become at using swords. Also, conversations with NPCs will also depend on a number of factors beyond your skills, so don't try to intimidate a knight wearing plate while you're prancing around in your peasant linens.

With its historical setting, intriguing battle system, and multiple ways to complete quests, Kingdom Come: Deliverance looks like it will offer a novel and interesting RPG experience. Kingdom Come: Deliverance will be available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on February 13th.

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Transmitted: 1/22/2019 1:15:30 AM