Jesus Christ be praised,
I enjoy playing games for the first time on the harder difficulties. KCD was a real challenge regardless of the hardcore modifier because the game really tells you very little anyway. FWIW, the achievement I got “‘Tis but a scratch” (beat the game in hardcore with all negative perks) has only a 0.1% community rate. Only 0.1% of people who played the game (on PS4) got the achievement.
But I must say, this was some of the most fun in an RPG game I’ve ever played. It almost rivals FNV as my favorite RPG of all time. The ways you can play the game are diverse and can appeal to every gamer- you can be as brutal as you like, as honorable as you like, you can even just buy your way through almost every scenario.
The side quests were diverse and fun, almost reaching the level of TW3 side quests. The characters in the world are memorable, even though there’s a lot of them. Not to mention some side quests actually have good rewards, the highest quality armor and such.
The main quest was good but the ending was unfulfilling. Basically you never really find yourself 1v1ing the villain as is usually expected in some form or another in most story games, and you never really finish the quest the game starts you on- which was kinda frustrating. I really thought the story would finish with you finally achieving the objective the literal whole game revolves around, the reason for the name of the damn game!
The gameplay was really really tough. Not only did it have a relatively high learning curve (until you learn master strikes) but it was buggy and felt like there was too much of a delay between actions, and with the harder difficulty you’re basically a stick man going into a wood chipper, and if you accidentally encounter two or more enemies you’re fucked. By the end you’re a literal god, two to three shorting even the highest ranked enemies with end game gear.
Item management, discovery, and its consequences for speech checks were my favorite part of the game. The speech and charisma mechanic was really something new. As you get better and better clothing and armor, NPCs start treating you better. By the start people were shutting on me for my tattered clothes and shit stink, but by the end people were bowing to me and greeting me on the street. Everything from the literal color of your clothes to whether or not you have plate armor on during a sunny day affects the whole of the gameplay. Stealth, combat, speech, and to an extent even your horse riding skills are dependent upon your clothing.
The game really oozes style. That’s what made me fall in love with it in the first place. The menu, map, UI and everything else help solidify your presence in 1400s Bohemia. And with a realistic and grounded approach to gameplay you really do feel like a man at arms in the medieval age.
The game had a shit ton of bugs. Sometimes quests wouldn’t progress, characters necessary to continue the story couldn’t be talked to, and overall gameplay bugs between combat and traversal. Many times I had to reload a save and lose a few hours because of these bugs, very demoralizing but I learned to keep a shit ton of schnapps on hand.
Lastly, the survival mechanics and hardcore difficulty. The survival mechanics were simple but ever present. I compare them to FNV’s survival mechanics, basically just food health and energy (no water category here). Manageable, rarely frustrating, and easy to understand.
The negative perks were absolutely FUCKING BRUTAL. The worst ones were haemophilia and somnambulant for me. Basically once you start bleeding you lose an increasing amount of health over time until you die, and the other is sometimes when you sleep you wake up in a random place. With hardcore difficulty, you have no map marker so somnambulant traumatized me lol. I dreaded sleeping because sometimes I’d just wake up and not have any sense of direction lmao.
Tl;dr: All in all it was a wonderfully novel, bug ridden, walk in 1400s Bohemia. I can’t name another realistic medieval game, nor another with the complex speech check system. I really enjoyed my ONE HUNDRED HOUR play through of this game. 7/10.
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