A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an action role-playing game (RPG) set several centuries ago in the Kingdom of Bohemia. First-person combat between soldiers and knights is visceral and bloody, and scenes of carnage show piles of burned bodies, hangings, and a decapitation. The world is designed with period accuracy, so players will encounter sexual and class-based discrimination as well as archaic gender roles. The main character generally means well as he progresses through a nonlinear story, but players have the power to choose for him to be cruel and even engage in criminal activity -- always with the risk of being caught and punished by authorities. Some female characters are depicted nude and engage in sexual acts with men. Strong language is heard throughout, including the words "c--t" and "f--k." Characters can also collect ale and wine, and get drunk in the game.
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What's it about?
KINGDOM COME: DELIVERANCE leaves out action role-playing game tropes such as sorcery, monsters, fantastical settings, and a lone warrior destined to save the world. Instead, it provides a story plucked from history and is set in real-world locations with careful attention paid to architectural and social details. Players take on the role of Henry, a blacksmith's son in 15th century Kingdom of Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic), who must overcome the violent deaths of his parents and find his way in a country lost in political turmoil, where someone of his status has almost no power. As the story progresses, Henry advances through several jobs, starting off as a bailiff's assistant and a young lord's lackey. His tale isn't one of superhuman heroics and nation conquering, but instead the minutiae of how one ambitious and determined young man fits into a much bigger story. He'll gradually learn how to fight enemies, but just as important is how Henry interacts with those around him, which types of tasks he agrees to take on, and how he carries them out. Players also need to take into account his health and hygiene, observe natural day/night cycles, and maintain a limited inventory, all of which adds to the game's atmosphere of simulated medieval life.
Is it any good?
Prague-based Warhorse Studios has boldly rewritten the book on what an action role-playing game can be. From combat to storytelling, Kingdom Come: Deliverance challenges players' preconceptions. Henry begins the game unable even to properly hack apart a wooden stick planted in the ground before him, and its only through much practice that he -- and players, who must learn an unusual sword-fighting system that involves directional attacking, blocking, and feinting -- becomes even a little bit better. His slow ascension from blacksmith's son to someone who commands a little more respect flies in the face of traditional RPGs, in which players inhabit characters who quickly transform into living legends with godlike combat abilities. Open-minded players may well find the game's painstaking simulation of medieval life -- from washing up in troughs to make Henry a little more presentable to learning how to read from a local scribe -- both fascinating and unprecedented.
Unfortunately, Warhorse's focus on creating a unique RPG experience seems to have drawn its attention away from remedying a variety of technical problems that could prove off-putting to many players, including lengthy pauses while loading dialogue with non-player characters, bizarre bugs such as floating cows, and a clunky and archaic menu system that feels like it might have been pilfered from a 15-year-old game. Much as players will need some patience watching Henry's unconventional story unfold, so, too, will they need to prepare to endure these technical hiccups. That said, the reward -- a truly original and innovative role-playing game with a singular vision, strong narrative, and unapologetic grittiness -- could prove more than worthwhile for the right players.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the depiction of violence in the media. Is Kingdom Come: Deliverance's vicious melee combat and depiction of slaughters integral to its objective of being faithful to the era?
Talk about gender roles. How have the roles of men and women changed over time, and do you think gender equality has yet been achieved?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Deep Silver
- Release date: February 13, 2018
- Genre: Role Playing
- Topics: History, Horses and Farm Animals, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Alcohol
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.