Last March, I had the pleasure of receiving a review copy for Kingdom Come: Deliverance. In this line of work, we writers review a lot of titles. Sometimes, they’re awful and we have to persevere through it to bring you, the readers, the information you need to make a buying decision. Those write ups are difficult. The easy write ups come when we are lucky to receive a game that is excellent. Something that is easy to write passionately about. Prior to Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s release, I was an avid fan. I followed all the developer videos, got a real understanding of what was going on in the studio and learned the sheer historical research effort that was poured into this title. My hype was palpable. I couldn’t let it colour my professional and critical impression of the game, so I had to be careful.
After playing it to the extent where a review was possible, my open minded and dismissive approach to the potentially overblown commentary on how it was plagued with bugs gradually subsided. Sadly, this passion project was neither the game that made for a difficult write up nor the experience that made for easy reporting. It was an anomalous entity that lay in limbo somewhere in between. Anybody who has played Kingdom Come: Deliverance knows there is an incredible and mature RPG system hiding under the sheet of bugs. Like a pile of gold coins held down just tightly enough that you couldn’t reach them. This was, for lack of a better word – painful.
To ask if Kingdom Come: Deliverance has been fixed is no simple question. In that, you’re asking a whole bunch of things. Are quests still broken to the point that they are impossible to finish? Are there still invisible walls on sets of stairs, inhibiting your ascent? Do vital story driving NPCs still disappear into the void? Do NPCs still lack heads for a good two minutes after load? Is there still an infinite load screen after sleeping occasionally? Is the interact function still disappearing? Is texture popping still so bad that entire buildings and bridges prefer not exist until you smack into them? The list goes on. In a way, the game has since been improved but only subtly.
Quests are now fully functional across the board, meaning completion of the game is no longer a battle of the wits with your machine. Coupled with a far more responsive interaction system that is now behaving itself, a smoother and uninterrupted session is guaranteed. Having reinstalled the game after hearing from Warhorse that a lot had been fixed, I went back to that hated set of stairs, previously unclimbable with an invisible wall. It was gone! Quest giving NPCs can still be frustrating to find as they mill about their day but they are at least there to find. The ultimate quest that would break the camel’s back for me was “In God’s Hands,” which came complete with an infusion of a removal of interaction, infinite load screens on sleep and an inability to save thereafter. All of that had been fixed as well.
After continuing Henry’s journey, post nightmare quest, I was feeling optimistic. Things were looking up. Although, I’m sorry to say, a lot more work needs to be done. Playing on a PS4, the headless NPCs shortly after load remain. Worst of all the building / bridge removing texture popping also still remains. While general player experience has been improved, these issues alone were enough to dissuade me yet again from either playing further or recommending the game just yet.
Other than this, the game could benefit from core tweaks. We have been told that lockpicking has been made less impossible for console players with joysticks. Yet, impossible the lockpicking remains. Fast travel remains anything but, as we are subjected to a very slowly moving icon on a map for the sake of encounters players are likely to ignore anyway.
The controversial save system remains, whereby players must find frustratingly rare Saviour Schnapps or a bed to save. Although, if you own a PC, you can grab a mod to fix that.
Unfortunately, it remains painfully clear that Warhorse indeed released the game prematurely to keep families fed and lights on. If you own the game, I do recommend reinstalling it as, despite its remaining problems, you will find a smoother momentum through play. That said, Kingdom Come: Deliverance remains in a state that, strictly speaking, should not be marketed to consumers. It only adds a sour bite to the recently released DLC, when it has to be considered that perhaps the team should have worked on fixing further issues before adding new content. New content that will remain yet another gold coin, just out of reach beneath a sheet of bugs still tightly holding down the game’s true potential.
The game that aims so high to achieve historic levels of immersion ironically suffers from continued immersion breaking bugs. In conclusion, this sad juxtaposition still hangs over the good name of Kingdom Come: Deliverance like a dark cloud.