Warhorse Studios takes its mission to create a medieval world pretty seriously. So when Kingdom Come: Deliverance calls for its lead protagonist to spend some time living the life of a monk, you better believe you'll be getting on your knees and praying.
At an E3 demo last week, Warhorse showed off some of the game's systems, including combat (which we saw a few months ago) and armor (more on that later in this story.)
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a reconstruction of the Hussite Wars in the early 15th Century, an attempt to create a historically accurate medieval world, not the pseudo-Middle Ages of most fantasy games.
Many of the quests in the game involve speaking to people and tracking down miscreants. At one point, a man with a scar on his face disappears into a monastery.
The player can try to sneak in and find the villain, but this runs a significant risk of being found and ejected.
Or there's the "just go in and kill everyone" option, but a lot of people live in the monastery and, even if you're successful, murdering monks was generally frowned upon in 1403. Progression in Kingdom Come often rests on maintaining a solid reputation.
In our demo, we decided to join as a monk. Having persuaded the monk boss that you're for real, you then have to do monkish things, like praying, in order to stay in the monastery long enough to complete your quest.
Interestingly, the monastery you join, called Sazava, still stands, much as it is presented in this game. Buildings in Kingdom Come are as they were in 1403, which means they are often functional and solid. There are no fancy Lord of the Rings-style structures here.
By maintaining the life of a monk, including praying, we're able to track down the bad man. Unluckily for him, my character is also capable of decidedly un-monkish acts.
Back in the real world, the player must sooner or later fight enemies, and that means donning armor. All clothing items, from helmets to underpants, carry defensive stats against blunt or sharp instruments. Underclothes are important, as they can buff the heavier garments above. All clothing has some statistical benefit.
Any game that concerns itself with the defensive effects of medieval underpants is really taking its historical theme seriously.
Combat in Kingdom Come is based on hitting specific parts of the body. If you fight a naked man wearing a helmet, and only attack his head, he'll probably win.
There's a rock-paper-scissors thing going on too. Different enemies call for different types of armor. Full plate is great against swords, but not so good against maces and other impact weapons, which are best defended using padded armor.
Armor and weapons also degrade over time and must be fixed and sharpened. If you get into a lot of fights, your armor can become besmirched with blood. Best to get that cleaned up before wandering into the next village. They get nervous about men showing up, covered in gore.
This game looks like an interesting take on role-playing, with tons of systems, mini-games, quests and progression options. Kingdom Come for Windows PC is currently available in Early Access, with a full launch expected next year.