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Kingdom Come: Deliverance Review (Switch)

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Kingdom Come: Deliverance Review (Switch)

Kingdom Come: Deliverance (KCD) on Switch is a “glass half empty or half full” case depending on the audience. On one hand, this is a valiant effort from Saber Interactive to port Warhorse Studios’ 2018 hit RPG with all its DLC into one complete package. It is especially impressive when you first boot up the game and are able to experience medieval Bohemia in handheld mode. It almost feels puzzling how the tiny Switch can run such a massive 120+ hour adventure on its seven-year old hardware. For Switch players who have never played this title or those wanting to experience the novelty of portability, this is the greatest draw of KCD.

On the other hand, this novelty may wear thin. While the package here is great in terms of story, characters, and setting, the technical aspects hold this title back. I’ve encountered frequent sub-20 and 30 fps drops, texture pop-ins, soft and blurred assets, as well as several localization and menu cut-off text issues. However, is KCD still worth your time?

The story and characters are the highlights of Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Where most medieval games tend to rely on fantasy for storytelling novelty, KCD embraces history and realism. Set in 15th century Bohemia, the story follows Henry, the son of a blacksmith, and his coming-of-age story told via ********* and loss as he struggles with forgiveness, doing what’s right, and the challenges posed by the feudal society.

The story is capably told through realistic depictions of medieval society and warfare. There are no shining knights or selfless deeds of valor. There is a real sense of urgency and threat that comes to haunt Henry. The motivations of the characters are often complex and don’t just fall within a “****** or white” typology. In this sense, the world becomes believable and lived-in. This is heightened by Henry himself as the protagonist.

It is easy to believe in Henry as a character. The player can guide his actions and reputation in terms of how they want to approach his interactions with NPCs. Henry can be funny, *******, brave, have a darker side, steal, or just hang out with his friends doing whatever medieval kids do. His story arc throughout the game is satisfying, although the ending may leave the player wanting for more.

The world itself is beautifully realized. The towns are realistically depicted, including the layout, functionality, and architecture. The game art style keeps the world grounded. You won’t see sprawling vistas or imposing castles. It’s not that type of game. Instead, the worldbuilding is great at transporting you back in time alongside its nitty gritty portrayal of feudal society. At the same time, KCD also shows you the tranquility of the nature surrounding the landscape. As such, KCD impresses with its story, characters, and setting in what becomes a historically accurate depiction of medieval Europe.

The gameplay also relies on delivering realism… up to a fault that is. That’s because KCD’s gameplay is diverse and interesting, but often unrefined and slow because of its focus on accuracy. The combat is complex, often fun, and relies on using directional aiming to ****** and block against enemies. There is also a certain tempo to the combat. This involves chaining combos and countering precisely. It takes some time getting used to, but it can ultimately be mastered. However, the combat system is not for everyone. It is not quick and flashy. Rather, you need to be more tactical about when and how to strike. If you fail the combo, it can be particularly frustrating as the ****** can easily knock Henry back and disorient him. The target lock-on can also be frustrating at times when multiple enemies are on screen due to its slow response. Unfortunately, the frequent Switch framerate drops and lagginess during the action pose an extra challenge to this combat, making it feel slower and less responsive than the game intends it to be.

Core RPG mechanics like skills and perks are present here. In this sense, Henry can be customized to deal more damage, have higher defensive stats, and receive perks like lock-picking, stealth, hunting, herbalism, and more. In similar fashion to other RPGs, your skills develop the more you use them. There is also a reputation system, which adds variety and complexity to Henry’s interactions. This changes depending on dialogue options, who you decide to ******, if you steal, *******, lie, and stink. That’s right. If you allow Henry to be unkept and unwashed it will diminish your reputation. However, the ****** clothes system is strangely implemented as normal tasks like walking will require Henry to clean himself quite often. This can be annoying if you are a particularly keen explorer.

In addition to skills, perks, and reputation, Kingdom Come: Deliverance also features survival mechanics. You have a stamina bar that depletes over time as you do battle and hunger sets in. If the stamina bar depletes completely, your health will start to decrease as well. In this case, Henry must regularly consume food, but not overeat as this will cause food poisoning. Its survival mechanics and animations are sometimes clumsy, especially when consuming food. There is no direct option to consume an apple you find on a table. Rather, you have to pick up the apple, experience the animation of picking the apple, then you have to bring up the menu and select the apple to eat from there. It’s the lack of options like these that make it especially slow in its gameplay.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s presentation is a valiant effort hindered by hardware limitations. I can’t fault Saber Interactive given the complex task of porting a CryEngine 3 game to the Switch. It has pulled this off before with the Crysis ports. For the most part, KCD’s technical presentation is serviceable in docked and handheld mode. The framerate is aiming for 30 fps at a dynamic 540p-720p resolution. Within the first few minutes of the game, however, the player quickly realizes that this aim is too much to ask for. That’s because the resolution frequently drops below 30 fps and even 20 fps in crowded areas.

A lot of this slowdown is masked by motion blur and soft textures. NPC faces look blurred and sometimes indistinguishable when viewed at distance. KCD also exhibits texture pop-in and draw distance issues during exploration and especially with foliage. This is unfortunate since the base game is carefully crafted to recreate this world with high-fidelity graphics.

While Saber pushes the Switch to its limits, I believe more can be done to address some non-graphical issues. I encountered several bugs like clipping through NPCs and text cut-offs during the main menu. There have also been some localization and text inconsistencies during menus like wrong capitalizations. However, none of these are game-breaking, and I have yet to encounter anything more serious.

Nonetheless, KCD still displays some technical wizardry that should be appreciated. The loading times were great especially for an open-world game. I did not feel bombarded by many loading screens while traveling. KCD also features the Fidelity Super Resolution (FSR) upscaling, improvements in global illumination compared to previous generation consoles, and more.

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has dissected these technical aspects as well as limitations.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a great game hindered by the outdated hardware it fights against. Saber has done its best to port the title on the Switch and maintain a serviceable graphical fidelity. While Kingdom Come features a unique story, setting, and believable characters, it is wrapped within a mixed technical presentation that will be sure to test your patience.

How the audience responds to this is up to each individual player. Do you care a lot about graphical fidelity? Does portability not matter to you? Do you own and tend to gravitate toward other consoles? Then you may be better off passing on the Switch version in favour of those other platforms. Do you favor portability? Are you curious about the title and the Switch is your exclusive console? Do you want to have the entire base game and its DLC in one complete package? Then there’s nothing else I can say to stop you.

Kingdom Come Deliverance: Royal Edition is out now on the Nintendo Switch. It can be purchased from the

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#Kingdom #Deliverance #Review #Switch

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