There are a couple of different kinds of hype. There’s ‘I want it’ hype – reserved for movies you must see, games you must play, music you must hear. It’s hype for a product you have every reason to believe will be good – and it normally is, resulting mostly in somewhat underwhelmed satisfaction. The other kind of hype, my favorite kind of hype, borders on trepidation. Something you’re intensely curious to try out, but are weary of. There’s *no way* it can deliver on its promise, can it? Solo projects, indie films, classic TV shows, weird-ass indie games funded by Kickstarter, you name it.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance has occupied this space in the brains of gamers, Deliverance showing a lot of promise and attention to detail and drive, that is as likely to succeed as it is to fall flat on its face; as is the price of ambition. The more you read about the game, the more you gain a cock-headed interest in the title; What is this, what do you *do* in it? Can it possibly deliver on that tried and true ‘living, breathing world’ mantra?
…Is it any fun?
Well, according to the social media sphere and multiple outlets, the proverbial jury is impressed, if not completely over the moon, with the now-available title. Judging from the reviews, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a quality product with fascinating mechanics, but not explicitly fun or empowering in the way Skyrim or The Witcher are:
According to Press Play: Kingdom Come: Deliverance is so dedicated to authenticity and realism, but it got to the point where I was managing so many aspects of Henry that I wasn’t really having as much fun managing these aspects as I should have been. Some skills do alleviate these issues, lessening the impact of the “survival” mechanics, but they still popped up at the worst possible times.
Along those lines, PC Gamer points out: A complex simulation governs Kingdom Come’s world, and while it’s a bit creaky and prone to bugs—it often feels like it could collapse at any moment—it makes for a wonderfully dynamic, reactive world. You can go to jail for a variety of crimes, highborn NPCs will be friendlier if you’ve had a bath, troublemakers will back down if you unsheathe your sword, you’ll get a hangover if you drink too much… and those are just a few random examples.
Both these quotes seem to speak to the nature of game vs. simulation and empowerment vs. realism. In reality, like most all games that stick with us beyond their initial pitch, it appears Kingdom Come Deliverance is as much a toy as anything else. A game you can play…but also play with; not a sandbox, a play set. When you read in the PC gamer review about the ability to quiet dogs with scraps of meat, or how NPC quests operate in real time, or how potential suitors will view you based on your clothing and ‘wash’ level, it’s easy to get excited. It’s just as easy, however, to get intimidated.
Part of the reason Skyrim and games like Fall Out 3 and 4 are successful is their wide-open nature is mitigated by shockingly accessible mechanics. You need not eat, you need not sleep. You don’t fatigue, grow old, tried, or sick; and if you do – it’s in a ‘gamey’ sort of way. Similarly, The Witcher 3 may be ‘difficult’ but it’s in the realm of skill checks, i.e how good of a fighter you are. The challenge is in playing- the joy in exploring. Meanwhile, Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s challenge exists in life itself. See also: Arma vs. Call of Duty.
Which makes judging the quality of a game like this all the more difficult and subjective – Which is why Press-Start gave it a 6/10, and Heavy’s own, Collin McGreggor gave it a 9/10: Cities bustle with life, forests are quiet retreats for the hunters, and battlefields are chaotic madness. All of this blends together organically thanks…random events that pop up all over the country. You may be riding down a road only to discover a dead body with a merchant who attempts to blame you for the corpse.
Ultimately, it appears Kingdom Come: Deliverance, regardless of how much people enjoy it, is a game worth thinking about, exploring, and checking out for yourself. Sometimes games aren’t meant to be flat-out ‘fun’ but rather challenging, intriguing, immersive, and most importantly; fascinating. Clearly, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, is that.