All hardcore RPGs should strive to mimic Kingdom Come: Deliverance's design

It's rare for games to never hold your hand throughout your time with them. Most flood you with hints about how to succeed, and almost all of them give you a detailed step-by-step guide to everything at the beginning of the game. However, this is not the case with Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

Aside from a very brief prologue that nudges you in the right direction about things, Kingdom Come lets you figure things out on your own. While that makes the game more difficult, it also makes it a much more interactive and immersive experience. Pair that with the realistic mechanics, and I believe Warhorse Studios struck gold with the formula. Here's why future role-playing games (RPGs) should follow in the company's footsteps.

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Figuring it out yourself

When games make things easy by constantly showing the player what to do and how, it tends to feel boring and unsatisfying. You never feel like you're learning anything as you level up. Tather you're just gaining more health or stamina. This typically makes the progression system feel lackluster and can make the gameplay repetitive.

However, Kingdom Come gives you only a general idea of what to do. The rest is up to you to figure out, and that makes it feel all the more satisfying when you get the hang of things. Instead of feeling like a linear checklist of things to cross off, it ends up becoming more of an open and free experience. You can get used to everything at your own pace, and you're able to learn from your mistakes, not the hint screen.

Realism goes a long way

Mechanics are more engaging when you have to figure them out yourself, but making them realistic further adds to the experience's depth because it makes things more punishing and rewarding. For example, in Skyrim, every character can fight in the same way; the only differences are in the statistics like health or damage. However, in Kingdom Come, having poor skills in sword fighting makes your character clumsy and awkward in battle.

In Skyrim, this often doesn't impede your chances at success because you fight the same way an enemy does. But in Kingdom Come, having a low skill means that you'll be outclassed in every way by someone better at that skill then you, with things like speed and steadiness of the blade included. This punishes you for trying to take on stronger opponents, and that's a good thing. If this isn't present, then the fact the enemy is better then you is redundant.

This may sound too punishing to the player, but I see it as an incentive for you to learn those skills and master them. This is where the realistic type mechanics begin to feel more rewarding. When you train hard, improve your abilities, and come back to the same scenario described above, you will be the one kicking ass, because you put in the time to learn how to do so and learned how to manipulate the sword in combat. If this was Skyrim, you would simply just do more damage per hit.

Realism also makes everything more immersive. The more real the in-game world feels and operates, the more you actually feel like you're in it. It makes it easier to put yourself into your character's shoes.

Your thoughts

Do you think Kingdom Come: Deliverance's design style should be seen in future RPGs? Let us know.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is available now on Xbox One for $59.99.

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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

13 Comments
  • I am a long time fan of the Elder Scrolls series, and I love skyrim as much as i love Morrowind. That said, there is a clear process of simplifying the TES-games. It makes it accessible to a bigger crowd, but also loses some of the aspects that made the genre great. Skyrim is a great game, but Morrowind (and Kingdom come) are way better RPGs, without a doubt.  Loving KC, even though I'm not far into it. I'd welcome other developers taking cues form this game.
  • Putting this on the same level as morrowind has gotten my attention . Will look into the game now
  • IDK, think EVE.  That is one complicated game and dumping a new player in there without any idea what to do is just dumb.  There might be some people who like to dive into the deep end to learn to swim but I doubt most do. 
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance doesn't dump you in there without any idea of what to do, they tell you what to do but not how to do it. The world is open and persistent enough to allow many ways to solve, obtain, accomplish and do every task given. I was asked to retrieve a ring once, the map showed me the general area where the ring was located and it was up to me to figure out how to get it. Do I: A. Suit up and push in the front door with blade and shield out and intimidate the owner, not shedding any blood though B. Wear fancy clothes and walk in and talk my way to victory with my noble accent C. Wear light clothes, no armor and have on my running boots so I can run in fast, steal the ring while the owner is tending to the pigs and hightail it back to town before getting caught D. Wear light clothes, no shoes so I don't make a sound, go into the house in the middle of the day, choke out the owner and steal the rign E. Wait until night, wear dark color clothes and footwraps, sneak in with stealth, close the door behind me, pick the lock to the chest, quietly, sneak out and hoof it back to town, sleep for the night and delive the ring the next day F. Load my best weapons and slaugther all in sight, leaving no witness to the crime of me stealing the ring, stop by the bath house to get my bloody clothes cleaned so the towns folk won't alert authorities and deliver the ring within 10 minutes G. Someone get the ring....but in a blot twist..sell the ring and buy those boots I've had my eye on for the last week! H. Take the quest, change my mind and go on with life, never even trying to get the ring while ignoring the quest give and running away everytime he says "Henry! A word with you!!!". It's truly an amazing and immersive experience. I wanted Henry to have more Agility so I spent an afternoon "exercising", basically jumping fences and before I knew it, his agility was much higher. Same for lockpicking, I spent a few days with lock picking practice on my virtual schedule, Henry is now the Master of Unlocking! I also spent a few days picking herbs and flowers and now, not only can I pick groups of flowers at one time but picking flowers also raises Henry's strength, just like real like outdoors work. I can't wait to play next time and find new clothes because I've worked my current outfit to shreds.
  • Apologies for the typos. It's 2018...I wish Windows Central would allow more editing time for comments. Oh well.
  • The app allows you to edit after a prolonged period of time.
  • I completely agree. Kindom Come: Deliverance feels like how I used to imagine The Legend of Zelda  would be in real life. Growing up a nobody and working hard to become somebody, learning skills, traveling and trading. It is amazing how Henry is a nobody and you have to truly play the role of Henry, or live his life, causing him to be better or worse at whatever you choose, just like in real life. I have played for 26 hours and I still haven't been to the castle in Rattay. I've been hanging around the vilage for days, gaining experience, knowlege, skills, money and more.  My version of Henry goes to bed right after sunset and gets up early before sunrise and goes and works in the fields, helping the locals and stashing away cash, earning a good report among the towns folk. It's amazing for Henry to get up in the morning, set out on a day of journeying and work and then returning home for the night. I've waited over 30 years for a game this realistic. It will be amazing to see what can be done with graphics engines and gameplay systems over the next decade if developers go for realism like Warhorse has done. I play the game on my laptop via Steam.
  • You know in Shenmue, you had to work, sleep to rest and save? Granted not as realistic but still for back in the day it was pretty damn good. I hope Shenmue series get remastered.
  • Can't wait to play it...when it's fixed.
  • You want to wait until it's fixed. I quit playing it out of frustration. It is so buggy and always freezing up that it can easily cost you hours of game play.
  • I'm downloading a 10 gigabyte update to it as we speak, so hopefully it is being mended with this. 
  • Would be nice to play in VR.
  • What I like best about KC:D is that when you refuse a quest or don't act on the quest, it plays without you. In every other game the world stops turning so the protagonist can idle around. Not in Kingdom come. When you don't go, someone else does. Maybe he gets the job done, maybe not. But life (game) goes on. This is incredibly bold move by the game designers and perhaps a revoltionary one. Because it works and works surprisingly well.