A Guide To Surviving Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an absolutely massive and complicated RPG that aims for historical accuracy. The game's opening hours are also absolutely brutal in how weak your protagonist, a blacksmith's son named Henry, is and how complicated some of the systems are. We're 60 hours into reviewing the game and still aren't ready to dish out a final verdict, but we have learned some invaluable lessons along the way.
If you've already made up your mind to venture into Bohemia, here's a list of pointers that will save you some grief early on.
Exploration & Quests
1. The game doesn't open up for the first two hours. You'll know when it does. Once that happens, don't pursue the main storyline doggedly. Also, do side quests. These are important not just because they give you opportunities for money and to hone your skills, but they literally teach you new skills like pickpocketing and reading, which can't be unlocked otherwise.
2. You need to learn how to deal with Kingdom Come's quirky save system. You can only save when you're resting in bed or by using Savior Schnapps, a craftable/purchasable drink that also makes you drunk. The Schnapps are a pain to come by early on, so your best bet is to remember your sleeping spots (whether they're inns or the mill you start out with) and fast travel to them when you need to save. You want to do this often. Very often. That might sound like a pain, but it sure does beat losing multiple hours of progress to a gang of bandits in the woods or, worse, a stupid bug.
3. Lockpicking is hard to do but one of the most useful skills in the game. It'll help you get rich quickly and will make quests requiring you to steal things easier, as well. Early on a miller will teach you the basics and allow you to practice as many times as you want on an empty chest (without the danger of breaking lockpicks). Lockpicking really does get easier once you get the hang of it, so use this opportunity to get the mechanics down.
4. Be aware of your surroundings. The game will let you know when you've entered a home or residence you're not supposed to be in. If someone discovers you in their house, they won't be happy about it. At that point you can decide to leave or, uh, murder them and ransack the house. Your choice!
5. Find a lockbox somewhere and make it The Place Where You Keep Your Things full stop. Carrying around items in Kingdom Come quickly adds up, and even things like arrows and potions having a weight value. You'll want to save that carrying weight for the armor you wear, so dumping your treasures, foods, and other junk in a chest is a good plan. Any room you own or bed you rent at an inn contains a chest that is connected to all the other similar chests, so you can dump your loot in a communal pile and come back to it at any time.
6. You'll need a fence to unload stolen goods. Talk to the miller around the mill you find yourself at once the game really starts if you want to have that option.
7. There is game you can hunt in the wilds of the world. Obviously you can cook the beasts' meat for food, but there are quest givers that will also reward you for said meats. Just be aware that hunting is considered poaching in some areas, and nosy game wardens won’t hesitate to take a look at your inventory. If you’re looking to offload “stolen” meat, you can cook it in any kitchen to make it untraceable.
8. Speaking of food, you'll want to keep Henry well-fed during your adventures, as becoming hungry can sap your stamina. That doesn't mean you need to carry a bushel of apples everywhere you go, however. Many buildings will contain cooking pots that you can freely eat from without fear of angering the locals. Look for them in kitchens or hanging outdoors in camps. They'll take a while to replenish, so you may have to track down a few of them to stay sated. That said, don't indulge too much because...
9. Overeating is a thing in Kingdom Come. It will put you into sort of a stat-penalizing food coma until your nourishment stat wears down to regular levels. To avoid it, don't eat anything that will put you above 100 points.
10. Also be aware of the freshness factor of your foods (it's a percentage you can check out in your inventory). It's real easy to carry around a slice of beef for a few days, forget how long you've carried it, eat it, and then get food poisoning. Food poisoning can temporarily lower your stats, so be on the lookout.
11. Always be looking for beds you can sleep in without being disturbed. If it's near a fast travel marker on your map, make note of it, maybe even on a notepad. It's really useful to know where all your closest save points are at all times. Random beds are hit-or-miss when it comes to actually allowing you to save, but it's worth a shot if it's the closest thing nearby.
12. Your dialog/persuasion options aren't just a matter of statistics. Always consider the context of the situation you're in when you're trying to get an NPC to give you something. Preying on a guard's sympathies, for example, will often work as you throw yourself at their mercy. However, trying to impress a noble with your social standing will never pan out.
13. Be sure to stop and smell the roses. If you see flowers on the ground, there's a good chance you can pick those and make them apothecary ingredients.
14. Fast travel is the safe method of getting from point A to point B, but it's not foolproof; you can still run into bandit ambushes during the automated trek. If you do, the game will give you the option to either make a run for it or to scout out the area. Scouting is the safer option; it will drop you back into the world near the ambush point, allowing you to either turn the tables on your would-be attackers, or take a detour around the area and bypass the encounter entirely. Once you're in the clear, you can resume fast travel via the menu again.
15. You'll get your very own horse a few hours into the game. Once you do, make sure to always mount up before using the fast-travel option; it won't make the process any faster, but if you do get pulled out of the journey to fight a bandit or two (we told you not to choose the run option!), you can simply gallop out of danger as soon as you're dropped into the world.
16. Your horse also doubles as a pack mule, and has its own inventory in the menu. You can access these items from virtually anywhere (you don't have to be near the horse). Even better, you can instantly transfer items to your horse via your inventory screen as well. Use this to offload stolen goods to your horse as soon you steal them – that way if a guard stops you for a random search, you'll be in the clear.
1. Practice with the combat system. It's an ambitious, occasionally clumsy system, that focuses on directional strikes. It's worth fighting and dying to multiple enemies early on until you get the hang of timing your strikes and learning enemy patterns.
2. The first unavoidable fight you get into early on is a doozy. To end it quickly, focus on jabbing your opponent in the face. Don't bother with strong punches.
3. If you want to be an archer, the early hours are going to be rough, with your hands shaking due to your character's inexperience. An easy way to beef up your skill level is to let enemies get super close to you and then ping them in the face with an arrow. This not only damages them (often killing them!) but will stun them, letting you scoot back further to prep another arrow.
4. Kicking foes is a good way to break their guard.
5. You're going to run into roving groups of bandits. It's unavoidable. Early on, it's really dumb to try and take them on. You will die horribly. Run away instead and live to fight another day.
6. If you're contemplating starting a fight in a town for whatever reason, maybe think about alternatives instead. If you're strong enough, it might be better to tail your target to a room and knock them out. Otherwise, try to get them to a secluded spot (like a room) and kill them as quickly as possible. They'll often shout but if you can kill them, and then get away quickly enough, you can leave just in time for a bunch of guards to arrive and wonder aloud what villainous scum killed their companion.
7. If you've got yourself involved in a tiff with guards, you can always surrender and go to jail for a few days instead of dying. You'll get a stats hit for a bit but it's better than losing progress.
8. While it might be tempting to use a sword you've taken from a bandit's corpse, a lot of the weapons you pick up you're not going to be able to use efficiently until you've swung a sword or axe enough. Try to keep to using weapons that are your level until you've boosted your skills a bit more so you're dealing maximum damage.
9. Don't overexert yourself in combat. Running down your stamina bar is the quickest way to get you killed. Instead, think tactically. Every attack should be considered and not be an impulse. If you go through this game hacking and slashing, you will die many times.
10. Arrows often ping off armor. So if you're going up against an armored foe with a bow, make sure you nail them between the visor or don't bother at all.