2018-02-15, 11:11 AM (ISO 8601)
Bugbear in the Playground
Re: Kingdom Come Deliverance: Dungeons and... Well, just Dungeons actually
So I played it last night, and wow. It's a brilliant and flawed masterpiece. There are a lot of issues, only some of which can be fixed with bugfixing, but the game comes so close to delivering on all of its promises that honestly, I don't care. With a little more polish and some enthusiastic bugfixing, this game will be able to challenge the Elder Scrolls series easily. I played for 6 hours and just got through the prologue, so here's my impressions so far.
Graphics: I'm not one to be won over by pretty graphics, but this game is definitely very pretty. It's got some bad pop in issues (specifically characters) and the character model shadows seem buggy, but the scenery and buildings are gorgeous and accurate. My computer is pretty good though, so if you have an older comp Iíd be cautious.
Combat Gameplay: A little too early to say. It's hard for me to tell if the combat system is janky or I'm really bad at it. Probably both. During a fist fight early in the game, it was hard to tell if I was hurting my opponent; not to mention he kept putting his knee in my face and I don't really know how to avoid that. But weirdly, it didn't seem to hurt so maybe that was just because it was a tutorial fight.
It definitely has a lot of potential though, because it rewards attacking from multiple angles and the sword play feels satisfying. Also, people surrender if they know they're beaten, which is SUCH a nice change from the packs of suicidal bandits of many other games. Like I said, not entirely sure how much of the clunkiness is me and how much is the system.
Non-Combat Gameplay: Here's where the game really shines. If you go adventuring in the wilds, youíll get covered in mud and blood. Anyone looking at you assumes you must be a vagrant or a thug, and will treat you as such. Guards will order random searches, thugs will pass you by, and beggars will welcome you as one of their own.
With a wash and a new change of clothes, the world changes. People who spat on you before now bow in deference. Itís awesome because it actually freaking works. All clothes have different ratings of armor, appearance, and visibility and your stats are the average of the all the equipment youíre wearing.
You have to eat and drink, but food goes bad if you carry it around. While food is plentiful and easy to come by, youíre always only a couple of days away from starvation. Itís very nice because the risk is present but not overbearing.
You can rob houses and be a mugger. As a lifelong fan of the Thief series, this makes me a very happy taffer.
I havenít even touched on alchemy, injuries, hunting, haggling, treasure hunts, or reading, all of which are just as detailed if not more so.
Bugs: Mostly graphical, but there are some hilarious physics errors too. Being dive kicked from 50 ft away seldom gets old. People also look at the strangest things in conversation, but luckily they arenít nearly as bad as the mass effect Andromeda debacle.
Historical Accuracy and Sex/Race/Stupid-isms: Ok, cards on the table. Iím a male American archaeologist who has worked in Turkey, Bulgaria, and FYRoM on Roman sites. Thatís my background so if anyone has questions about my point of view, this is where Iím coming from. Just wanting to head off any arguments before the mods get involved, because this subject is about to stray uncomfortably close to certain recent real-world controversies.
As far as the material culture is concerned, this game freaking nails it. The houses, the clothing, the tools, almost everything is amazingly accurate. They really outdid themselves recreating 1403 C.E. Bohemia. Even the livestock look right, which is awesome. As an archaeologist, Iím beside myself with excitement that they finally got it right. Buy this game for this if nothing else. Assassinís Creed pales in comparison.
The attitudes expressed by characters in the game are, wellÖ medieval. The male Bohemian characters assume the utter worst of any ethnicity besides themselves. Women are assumed to be unimportant and are objectified. Thatís totally fine from my point of view, because medieval Europe was not renowned for its tolerance and equal rights movement. The culture of 1403 C.E. Bohemia was almost certainly very similar to whatís portrayed, and I would commend the developers for portraying such a distasteful point of view accurately. I would, but I canít, and hereís why.
The problem is not that your average Bohemian believes the worst of women and foreigners. Itís that the game makes their view correct through its portrayal of the characters.
I encountered 5 female characters in the prologue. 3 of them I either flirted with or was flirted with, 1 of them was a mother figure, and the last one was my actual mother. 2 of them have a bit of depth, but they pale compared to our protagonistís father, friends, lords, or the villains of the story. Female characters so far are have been completely flat, which is really disappointing given how the Witcher III handled that subject. I may not be a historical sociologist, but I doubt that women were any less complex in 1403 than they are today.
All of the Germans in the game so far, and all the Bohemians who work with them, have been misguided at best and villainously evil at worst. No exceptions; which in a game touting historical accuracy makes me rather sad. I have no doubt Iíll meet a nice German eventually, but itís certainly starting off on the back foot. Also, the Cumans (a Turkic/Asiatic nomadic group) are portrayed as Uruk-hai basically. This is uncomfortable for real world reasons Iíve personally encountered but canít elaborate on for fear of violating the forum guidelines.
This just brings me back to the Witcher III, because both games had the average person hold similar beliefs about women and foreigners. The Witcher III was a fantastic game because it gave everyone enough depth, regardless of who or what they were, that the player had doubts if the common opinions were actually justified. Kingdom Come Deliverance tries and misses that mark by reinforcing those opinions with events in the game and never once contradicts them.
I want to stress that this is a minor gripe that, while noticeable, hasnít tainted my enjoyment of the game so far.
Saving System: Love the concept, hate the execution. They want you to be cautious because you can only save when you rest or drink a savior schnapps. This sounds great on paper, but means that you canít walk away at a momentís notice. This game strongly rewards a serious time investment, but unfortunately mandates that you have to give it one.
So, thatís my thoughts on all of this. Itís a very good game, and might even become the next Elder Scrolls. For all my gripes this game delivers on its promise, the chance to visit 1403 C.E. Bohemia. Is it worth a buy? If bugs donít bother you and you can live with the save system, itís a definite yes! Otherwise Iíd recommend waiting a month or two for the worst of the bugs to be ironed. Now if youíll excuse me, I need to go bathe so the guards stop searching me for contraband.
Last edited by NRSASD; 2018-02-15 at 11:13 AM.