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Kingdom Come: Deliverance II

Kingdom Come: Deliverance II Preview: A first look at the medieval sequel

And yes, the game will be released this year - on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series.

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Kingdom Come: Deliverance was a long time in the making, with the then relatively unknown developer Warhorse presenting impressive technical walkthroughs and repeatedly assuring us that they would deliver a realistic, grounded and historically accurate RPG without dragons, goblins and magical powers.

The game was a success, although the number of technical glitches were many, consumers around the world were clearly forgiving and the game even managed to sell over six million copies, which is particularly impressive for a new, innovative IP.

This achievement is no less landmark when you consider that the game is not yet optimised for PS5 and Xbox Series and is therefore still stuck in 30fps. So what has Warhorse been doing all this time? Well, they've been hard at work on Kingdom Come: Deliverance II, which has just been revealed. We've seen a small gameplay presentation and can tell you all about it here.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance II
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Kingdom Come: Deliverance II
Kingdom Come: Deliverance II

The year is 1403 in Bohemia around the town of Kuttenberg, and we play again as the now slightly more experienced but still green Henry, and along with Sir Hans, his life has become a little more predictable after the events of the first game. But of course, it all has to go wrong and Henry is once again placed on a trajectory that brings him into a brutal and ferocious clash with major political and military forces. The studio assures that even if you have no relationship with Henry and Sir Hans, this is an excellent place to start. You don't need to have played the first game, and you might not, as it's yet to be improved on the latest console platforms. However, all indications are that this will be another meaningful and above all realistic tale anchored by believable characters, and that's the whole point of the Kingdom Come series.

This sequel is more ambitious in every conceivable way. 250 employees have been working for six years to bring the game to life, with just over three hours of cutscenes in the first game, there are now five here. The world is also twice as big and for the first time features a real city, which the developers claim was particularly challenging. Bigger world, longer and deeper narrative, and more content, apparently without compromising the game's rather free structural framework.

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Warhorse has established that first and foremost you can build "your Henry" however you want, but at the same time, this world allows for many different kinds of strategies, and there are rules and consequences in society that help to frame the way you make decisions. If you get caught stealing, it changes the way people in that particular village community see you, and they will confront you and you can respond there. Even if you don't get caught, people will talk about a robbery and an unknown perpetrator. Warhorse seems to be putting a lot of emphasis on the empathetic community, and it will be interesting to see if they succeed.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance II
Kingdom Come: Deliverance II
Kingdom Come: Deliverance II

The very physical combat system also returns, albeit with a few more options. In particular, you can now supplement your swordplay with ranged weapons, as in the years since the first game, the very first firearms have arrived in Bohemia. These are fairly rudimentary rifles that can only be fired once before the enemy is upon you, but you can also use a crossbow in a sticky situation.

The beauty of this first look at Kingdom Come: Deliverance II is that Warhorse seems to have tackled the right problems. No, it can't compete with modern AAA games on sheer graphical detail, but instead there's a depth, a nerve and an identity expressed through music, intelligent lighting and believable NPCs. Of course, it remains to be seen if they'll get there, and Warhorse has promised better facial animations in particular, but Kingdom Come: Deliverance II is not a graphical powerhouse, nor is it designed to be.

The fact that it's coming out this year on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series is surprising in itself, and if it arrives in a more technically polished state, then we can probably get excited already. Warhorse has the long end of the stick here, and it's now on the list of the most anticipated games of 2024 as far as I'm concerned.

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