Kingdom Come: Deliverance has been widely described as a medieval Skyrim, which is understandable given its emphasis on historical accuracy and realism in 15th century Bohemia. It trades the mythical mountains and fantastical spires of Tamriel for, well, cow shit and broken bones.
At least there are plenty of things to do in Kingdom Come: Deliverance to distract you from the squalor. There are main quests, side-quests, and activities - smaller, optional pastimes that can be completed whenever you like. You can lay siege to a heavily defended fort one moment and be haring after rabbits for a local huntsman the next.
Related: shine your sword in preparation for our Kingdom Come: Deliverance review.
Outside of quests, you can commit crimes and then use your sharp tongue to wriggle out of them should you get caught red-handed. You can experience the ‘services’ offered by the town’s bath maids. Or you can take the edge off by glugging down bottle after bottle of red wine. All that history is thirsty work, after all. To help you through it, here are the five things you should do straight away in Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
Immerse yourself in the the Middle Ages
Kingdom Come’s Bohemia might not have dragons (or, for that matter, Thomas the Tank Engine) sweeping across the horizon or cave-dwelling rock trolls, but its plausibility brings the setting to life. You feel like you are part of history. After playing, you may be motivated to read up on the aftermath caused by the death of Charles IV, King of Bohemia, and the ensuing tensions that serve as the backdrop for the game’s story. You could even find protagonist Henry’s home of Silver Skalitz to see how it looks today.
The adoration and passion the developers have for this time period permeates the game completely, and it is all the richer for it. Kingdom Come’s bulging codex is always vying for your attention, responding to your environment with interesting factlets. Walk past a tailor and you can find out more about how people dressed in that time. Speak to some nearby bath maids and prepare for a lesson on medieval hygiene.
You can ignore all of this if you want to get on with the stabbing, of course. But if you are curious, Kingdom Come: Deliverance shares the didacticism we hope to see in Assassin’s Creed Origins’ upcoming museum mode.
Decide a man’s fate
Clearly, developers Warhorse Studios are serious about realism, as they fashion every battlefield as the gruesome, horrible place we imagine it to be - there’s no glamour here. Scrabbling for another breath and burst of stamina, you will be charged at, shoved mercilessly to the ground, and stabbed as if the victim of a particularly painful acupuncture session.
Sometimes, though, you will have the upper hand. At the beginning of the game, en route back to your hometown, bandits litter the path, picking at the corpses as voraciously as if they were crows feasting on carrion. But their gear is hardly up to snuff and so it is likely you will emerge victorious in the subsequent fight. If they surrender you can either dispatch them, let them live without their weapon, or - if you are feeling simultaneously kind and stupid - allow them to head off fully armed. Note: you can try to surrender yourself if the sabaton is on the other foot.
Gain the gift of the gab
Speech is one of the four main stats in Kingdom: Come Deliverance - along with strength, agility, and vitality. Having a sharp wit can help you talk your way out of even the most heated of situations (the deadline for this piece still stands, Harry - ed): you can persuade an enemy to let you live if they are beating you in a one-on-one, and you can haggle with traders for cheaper prices. You increase your speech stat the same way you level up all the others: by practising them, Skyrim-style.
However, there are plenty of factors that affect how successful a chat can be. For instance, there is your social standing: have you committed any crimes that render you unsavoury? There is also the matter of your appearance: finer fabrics will ingratiate you among members of high society and impress the hoi polloi, whereas bloodstained clothing could intimidate a whole village. You should also observe your partner in conversation, especially their mannerisms: you might need to get tough on a drunk who owes you money, but it might be a better idea to choose a different tack with a brawny soldier. Showing off your plush silks isn’t going to cut it.
If brute force and whispering sweet nothings into people’s ears is not for you then you should consider the stealth approach. This option is introduced early in the game when you need to escape the town of Talmburg: if you are successful using speech, a guard lets slip that he can let you through the gates so long as you are wearing a guardsman’s garb.
But before you get your thief on you should bear in mind the risks. Getting caught can damage your reputation and land you some serious prison time - by which we mean a minute or so, but it’s enough to be annoying. You should also be careful when handling stolen goods. If you decide to sell items you have pinched, make sure you do so far away and that you select some of the less discerning of vendors.
Enjoy a bathhouse happy ending
If you have stopped by your codex recently, you will know how important cleanliness is in your dealing with your fellow Bohemians. As pigs would doubtless tell you if they were capable of talking, there is a limit on how presentable you can be if you wash in a trough - though, to be fair, it is free.
If you want to reach peak hygiene - which improves your speech stat - and have all your wounds treated you will need to visit a bathhouse. Bathhouses cost coin, so make sure you do not run low on wealth. That said, healing and hygiene are not the only reasons to visit a bathhouse: let’s just say an additional special service would compromise a certain achievement available in the game.
What are most looking forward to getting up to in Kingdom Come: Deliverance? Let us know in the comments below?