Archive for February, 2018

How to Get a Head Start in Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Posted in Hands On, Played & Explained with tags , , on February 23, 2018 by Rabidgames

As you might know by now, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a devilishly hard game. You start out as a poor peasant with hardly any money, skills or knowledge, and the world is hostile to you. But don’t fret, Rabidgames has a few tips for you:

  1. Finish the tutorial quickly if you want to get to the really open world. There is no need to hang around. Well, you can get some gear and earn some groschen, but you can do so as well in the open world later.
  2. Focus only on fleeing when you have to flee at a certain point in the tutorial. And whistle strategically to help out a damsel in distress if you decide to play as a decent Henry!
  3. You learn by doing. Like in Skyrim, the more you do something, the faster you learn it. This goes for pretty much everything, including speech. So talk to every named character.
  4. Advance in the main story. This is the quickest way to get better gear and eventually a horse so you can explore at good pace, and you can store more stuff. You don’t have to, but it makes medieval life considerably easier.
  5. Take your time. Enjoy the game at its slow pace between story missions, side missions and fighting. Be careful with accepting quests as some are time-sensitive. If you can, enjoy the atmosphere once you have some spare time, and remember, you will still learn by doing things, even if you just collect flowers, walk or ride around or you go on leisurely hunts (don’t get caught poaching though).
  6. Collect flowers. Sounds boring, is pretty boring, true. But you do level up herbalism, which means you can collect more flowers with each one you pick, which means you can sell them to make quite a bit of money early on. And, at level 10 of herbalism, you can choose a perk that lets you level up your strength with each herb you pick. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? And as a bonus, pick a perk that gives you +2 Charisma when you carry around scented herbs. As an super extra bonus, you get +2 Vitality if you collect many poisonous herbs …
  7. As soon as you can practice fighting, do it. The more you practice, the more you level up your various fighting skills, and more. Attack, block, move around all the time.
  8. Archery is tricky. Pretty early on, you can find some bows (don’t waste your groschen on buying them, they appear early on in the game). Do so if you plan to use bows (attacking enemies before they can reach you is worthwhile in Kingdom Come: Deliverance). It takes a while until Henry gets half-decent with bows, but later on, bows become fun. The first 5 levels are definitely a pain though.
  9. Picking locks takes practice, too. And it sucks. But eventually, it’ll get easier. It still sucks though. The same goes for pick-pocketing.
  10. Pay attention to your clothes. Social standing depends on them – people will react differently, and sometimes even prices will change as well. Don’t explore with heavy armor – you won’t be able to store anything. Don’t steal while dressed in white clothes, and don’t fight with a cloak. Oh, and repairing your own stuff instead of having it repaired is cheaper – and again, you get experience for it.
  11. A balanced diet helps Henry and your wallet. A balanced diet is important, we all know it (and often ignore it). Even in this game. But there are a few things to keep in mind; whenever there is free food, grab it and eat it (be careful not to steal it unless you’re sure though). Some mushrooms are edible, apples are sometimes lying around – a great source of energy for Henry although they spoil pretty fast. Dried food keeps forever however. Or at least a very, very long time, so stock up on them whenever you can afford them. And when you see a big pot with delicious whatever-it-is-in-there, one portion is usually free, so enjoy!
  12. Make sure the game saves! Never just assume it did, always check out the Load option before leaving a session. The game will fail tos save when you sleep. Always have at least 2 Savior Schnapps at the ready, you never know when you need them.
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The First 10 Hours in Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , , , on February 15, 2018 by Rabidgames

After a long wait, some changes, the reveal of strange ideas such as drinking schnapps to quicksave and a political discussion or two, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is finally out and about, and we can jump into a world previously described as Skyrim/Witcher without magic but some hardcore gameplay set in the European Middle Ages.

But before you play, there’s a whopping 23 GB day one patch waiting to be downloaded, and afterwards, prepare yourself to wait for almost a minute until you see the main menu. The first time it happens, you might be inclined listen to some narration about the historical events prior to the events in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, but after the tenth time of the booting the game, this starts testing your patience. Oh, and from the main menu to the game is usually another minute of waiting time.

The first thing that comes to mind once you can finally start playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance is the odd choice of using English names in the middle of Bohemia – it can be doubted the blacksmith’s son was really called Henry – for a game that takes pride in portraying medieval life accurately, anglicising names, and anglicising the name of the protagonist above all – seems an odd choice, especially when most characters around Henry actually DO have proper Bohemian sounding names …

Anyway, Kingdom Come: Deliverance starts out pretty relaxed: Our boy Henry wakes up after a long boozy night out (see, teenagers haven’t changed at all) and gets sent by his father to do stuff. Said stuff can be done in quite a few ways, although if you fail spectacularly, you might just end up rotting in jail and see a game over screen before the hour mark has passed …

Graphically, the game has its ups and downs; while foliage and water look amazing up close, forests look dead-ugly with almost PS2 textures from afar. Cutscenes generally look stunning, but in-game, it’s not that great. Mind you, you wouldn’t realise it that much if the cutscenes weren’t so nice looking. Speaking of cutscenes, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is full of them. Even talking to a trader involves a cutscene – and loading times. Then again, some dialogue outside cutscenes involves lips no moving or characters staring in Bethesda manner, so one could argue that cutscenes would have been better there in the first place.

The world in Kingdom Come: Deliverance is pretty big and those who live in rural Central Europe might actually feel at home (if that home was devoid of technology), but also relatively empty of things to do. There are flowers to collect and animals to shoot and at times, a little spot near or in villages where you can find useful things. Most houses and sheds are accessible but there’s not much in there. And yet, there’s a certain magic by just casually walking around in Kingdom Come: Deliverance. You can almost smell the fresh air, the scents of the forest and you can almost feel the sun on your skin … It is easy to get lost by wandering around.

The first 5 or so hours in Kingdom Come: Deliverance are pretty much a tutorial introducing you to some gameplay mechanics and the lore- or rather history-heavy story of the game. Unfortunately, on one rather strange occurrence, you might get teleported to the next part of a quest, even if you wandered off into the opposite direction … which is a heavy offender in terms of breaking immersion because it just happens suddenly without any indication or explanation. In general though, the tutorial tells you some things you feel overwhelmed with, but at the same time, it is very linear, a tad too linear actually. But don’t worry, freedom will be yours soon!

So, about those comparisons … well, forget them. Yes, like in Skyrim, you gain experience by doing things – from fighting, stealing to collecting flowers (which can net you some money early on if you feel like doing it), but as opposed to Skyrim, you don’t find enemies hidden behind every corner in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, and then fighting itself is a more complicated matter of five-directional attacks and the choice of stab vs slice, plus combos and blocks. And then some, from taking into account armor and the type of weapon to checking your stamina … Kingdom Come: Deliverance boasts a very complex fighting system that rather resembles Dark Souls than Skyrim. Thankfully, you get proper training a few hours in to explain things to you, and from then on, fighting becomes a thing – if you want. And if you get it. And if the game happens to be responsive, which it is not at all times. At any rate, it is a long and steep learning experience, so no, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is rather the opposite of Skyrim.

Now what about the comparisons to The Witcher 3? Well, you have a medieval looking open world torn by war and greed, an already pre-defined protagonist – although Henry is a peasant with hardly any knowledge so the RPG aspect and learning is way stronger in Kingdom Come: Deliverance – and a strong focus on story (no spoilers about it in here, but it starts out like an episode of Game of Thrones without dragons in Bohemia, and following the main quest stays interesting throughout the first 10 hours) so there’s that – and it works well. There are also consequences, some quickly leading to death or the game over screen …

Furthermore, Kingdom Come: Deliverance also puts some emphasis on alchemy (think of the potions in Witcher to give you buffs). However, as almost everything in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, it comes with obstacles: First, you need to be able to read. Otherwise, you actually cannot read books. Actually, you see letters but they make no sense, which is a nice touch. Sure, it’s realistic for those times and there’s a quest tied to it, but it also feels like an unnecessary extra step to prevent you from cheaply acquiring your quicksave schnapps. And believe Rabidgames, you WANT that good shit as soon as possible!

Why? Well, saving in Kingdom Come: Deliverance is unnecessarily complicated. Sleep in your bed and the game sometimes let you save – sometimes you can’t (this might be patched later, fingers crossed), leaving you without the ability to save for potentially a looooooong time, or you drink some schnapps, which can make you addicted and also uses up that bottle of very expensive alcohol. Ouch! Sure, you also save when you begin a quest (rather pointless if you’re far away from the next step of it) and sometimes, the game autosaves, too. Rarely. If you’re in the middle of a quest and the guy you need to talk to becomes unresponsive – you’re fucked. Go back to that save from an hour ago, thank you very much.

Now, saving is just one of the things that makes you realise Kingdom Come: Deliverance makes things considerably more complicated and user-unfriendly than it would have needed to. Same goes for archery – before level 5, you tend to injure yourself. If you want to know what archery looks like inKingdom Come: Deliverance and how awful it is at first, look here:

So, many things can summed up like this: Realistic, yes. Fun, fuck no! Same goes for fast-travel – you get tired and hungry when fast-traveling, so long ways are rather … difficult at first. Yes, this was also in the hardcore mode of Fallout New Vegas, but there was a reason it was called hardcore mode. An optional mode.

Long story short: Kingdom Come: Deliverance turns out to be a promising game. Wandering around in the lush and vibrant countryside is a joy, walking around in towns and villages and watching medieval folks is also fun, and you get to learn a lot if you’re interested in history. But as a game, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has some way to go. Making everything abstruse and overly complicated might be what the devs had in mind, fair enough but it also sucks out the fun in the beginning and the save system is nothing but frustrating, and not all of this shit is intended!

Warhorse needs to fix the save system, and coming up with a Story Mode with the ability to save whenever you want, or making the need to eat, sleep and bandage your wounds optional as well as simplifying the stupid and almost impossible lockpick and pickpocket systems – all of this would make Kingdom Come: Deliverance way more accessible and also commercially appealing to the masses who like the simplicity of Bethesda games.

As it stands, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a hardcore game for the hardcore niche. But below the hardcore surface and the manyfold technical issues (intended or not intended) lies a game that has the potential to enthral almost every gamer – without the need for magic! At this stage however, be prepared you’re about to go onto a journey that is not always comfortable, and that will be very demanding – in terms of focus, time and nerves. You will be nicely rewarded, sure, but the journey is all but smooth.

Rabidgames saddles his horse: 10 hours in, Kingdom Come: Deliverance slowly starts to shine. After the linear start, you are now free to explore and get to know the world at your own leisure. If the technical issues and design choices have not put you off yet. So yes, the game needs some patches and some polishing, but it might just take a few smart steps to change a rough diamond into a shining gem.