Kingdom Come: Deliverance, a Medieval Masterpiece

Kingdom+Come%3A+Deliverance%2C+a+Medieval+Masterpiece

A.J. Hargett, Editor

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a Medieval RPG developed by the Prague-based game developers Warhorse Studios. The game is set in the early 15th century in medieval Bohemia (modern-day Czechia) during the tumultuous reign of Bohemian King Wenceslas IV and the subsequent conflict between him and his half-brother Sigismund of Hungary. Kingdom Come: Deliverance was released in February of 2018 where it was praised for its balance between historical accuracy and engaging and fun mechanics, most notably its combat. 

 

The game starts with an introductory video that introduces us to the previous Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV who ushered in a golden age for the Kingdom of Bohemia and was well-liked by the people and nobles and ruled fairly until his death. The introduction then introduces us to Charles IV’s son Wenceslas IV and how different he was from his father in ruling, depicting him as an idle and useless ruler that was not well-liked by the nobility. He was so disliked by the nobles that they requested help from Wenceslas’s brother Sigismund of Hungary for help, and with this, the game finally begins. The player is welcomed with an amazing opening soundtrack with gorgeous views of the starting town where we eventually meet the main character Henry: the son of the local blacksmith and your first quest is to help your father forge a sword for the local lord Sir Radzig Kobyla. This quest introduces a lot of the main baseline mechanics of the game while keeping the player immersed in the story. Unbeknownst to Henry and the town of Skalitz, war has come to them. On the hills outside of the town dot hundreds if not thousands of soldiers all belonging to Sigismund of Hungary who recently launched an invasion of Bohemia. The game shows Sigismund giving the order to attack the town and with that the army charges down the hill and begins their assault. The player is shown the ferocity and brutality of their attacks we are shown the army of Cuman Mercenaries killing citizens and sacking the town. Henry watches helplessly as his parents die and narrowly escapes death and flees the town with the sword his father forged in hand to nearby Talmberg Castle to seek aid. Henry is wounded and is to remain at the castle until it is safe to leave. Henry disregards this and returns to the ransacked remains of Skalitz to bury his parents where he is attacked by bandits. The bandits beat him to near death and steal his sword which they are about to kill him with until he is miraculously saved by soldiers from Talmberg who chase the bandits off. Henry is transported to the walled city of Rattay where he is nursed back to health. The game’s main story begins and Henry’s hunt for his father’s sword starts.

 

Kingdom Come: Deliverance succeeds very well in grounding the player in the world of the game. KCD constantly gives the character “Codex Entries” which are readable articles that help unfamiliar players learn the events, cultural practices, societal norms, and prominent figures of the period. Many of the characters in the game talk about and/or elude to other major historical events that many keen historians will be able to pick up on. The game goes so in-depth to the historical accuracy aspect of the game that all of the locations and characters are based on real people and places. An example of this historical faithfulness is that your character, Henry begins the game without the knowledge to read which the son of a blacksmith from this period certainly wouldn’t know how to do. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a prime example of how interesting history can be as the basis of a story and how dramatic it can feel but also maintain its historical fidelity. Another one of the defining features of Kingdom Come: Deliverance is its realism; the game exceeds expectations in this regard but does not go as far as to make things tedious and the game boring or annoying. Examples of realism can be found in weapon maintenance, the player has to maintain their weapons and armor and keep them in good condition if they want to receive the full benefit from them. The player can do this by using a grindstone to sharpen their blades or by visiting store owners and spending money. The player also has to keep Henry’s food and sleep levels optimal otherwise you get penalties that affect you in and out of fighting. Finally, and probably the most important part of the game, the combat. Kingdom Come: Deliverance does an exceptional job at making the combat both historically accurate and engaging. Henry begins the game not knowing how to properly hold a sword having barely had any experience with one. This makes combat, in the beginning, difficult as you will struggle to fight even lowly bandits. This however does not come off as unfair because every person you fight is an opportunity for both Henry and you as the player to gain valuable combat experience. As the game progresses so does your combat ability you will go from a peasant who can barely handle a weapon to a man-at-arms that can easily defeat a group of bandits.

 

I would recommend Kingdom Come: Deliverance to anyone who has a deep-running passion for history and wants a video game that very faithfully follows history. I would also recommend Kingdom Come: Deliverance to a person that wants a game that they can sit down and enjoy for hours on end, whether that be doing quests and progressing the story or enjoying the simple things like going to the taverns and playing dice. There is a lot to enjoy about this game but if you are planning to pick it up and play it be aware that it is by no means a short game there is a lot of things to do in this game and I mean a lot. Overall however I believe that Kingdom Come: Deliverance is one of the best videogames to have come out in recent years and would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to dive headfirst into medieval history.