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Tank destroyer and a god
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For some time I wanted to write a review on the game, however it ended up as something completely different.

Background

I have been playing RPGs since Diablo 1 and Lands of Lore 2. My personal preference was into story-driven games in general and even when RPGs offered different leveling and skill systems, I was mainly into exploring virtual gaming worlds. However games i mentioned were not much interesting for people who have been around few more years and had an experience with older RPGs.

Those guys had an experience with Wizardry series, or Eye of the Beholder with intriguing systems of equipment and spells. Strategic thinking and preparation was preferred over mindless action. At time when Lands of Lore 2 was released, those players (many of them working in magazines about PC games) they were showing disgust as to where the genre was moving.

At surface it looked like nitpicking - "You kill an animal and it drops roasted meat", but under it these older gamers criticized certain aspects of new games. Even when Diablo II was biggest success at that time,

First attempt to return "good old times" was czech game Brány Skeldalu (Gates of Skeldal) released in 1998:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gates_of_Skeldal

It was designed to look like an old style RPG from early 1990s.

When Witcher 1 was released back in 2007, Czech and Slovak community embraced their work. Partially because of the popularity of the books, and partially because of combat system which differed a lot from Diablo and it wasnt "clickfest". The criticism toward commercial RPGs materialized for the first time in a game with non-traditional combat system. CD Project Red was quite critical to TES: Oblivion because of it meelee combat as it was just "hack and slash" while real swordfights does not work that way.

In 2014 i first found a video about Kingdom Come, were Dan Vávra was asking for support over Kickstarter. At that time the Kickstarter campaing was already closed over very short time. At that time Kingdom Come was being developed for about 10 months, and they showcased some of the sword mechanics. When i was reading about the ingame features and that it should be RPG in real medieval world i was bit skeptical. It was shortly after release of Skyrim and most people was in the middle of the hype. Nevertheless i had to admit that I missed something crucial in TES series. Also passion projects on kickstarter tend to end in a bad way.

It took me some time but i had always a bit of problem with story of "main character" in Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim, but also with certain older classics like Baldurs Gate. The "you are demi-god, who is going to save the world" was the main problem for me. Later I stop caring and continued to explore the gaming world, even when at time it became bit boring and certain events highly unlikely to happen - such as me dying.



Gamergate, czech hate groups and medieval history of Bohemia

I was not aware about whats was going in Gamergate, and quite recently i found out that Dan Vávra was supposedly associated with it. I have checked the statemets Dan Vávra did, and statements he was supposed to say, and i have to say that most "social justice warriors" made fools of themselves simply by NOT understanding certain things in Czech culture.

First and quite important detail is that mr. Vávra was often wearing metal T-shirts with band logos like Enslaved, Hypnos or similar.

Since early 90's was present neo-nazi skinhead movement in former Czechoslovakia. Those guys had their "dress code". Shaved head, heavy boots, green jackets and hatred towards everyone who did not looked "normal". Since there was little to no contact with people who are not caucasians, they were violent mainly against punkers, hippies and metalheads. Cultural hatred. Wearing black tshirt with logo of metal band could be considered a provocation by them. Basically it was "skinheads vs everyone" until mid 2000s.

I dont know mr Vávra personally but considering circumstances, i am pretty sure he is not racist as he probably had same experience with local hate groups as I had.

When i read certain things about "case against Mr. Vávra" i did not know if i would cry or laugh. Some examples.

"Dan Vávra said there were no people of color in Europe in medieval times"
Actually he said there were very few of them and they could be met in big cities like Prague, but most unlikely to be met in villages or countryside. People were allowed to travel and visit Bohemia, but in most cases they were not allowed to settle here. This was because land, and everything on it (including the people) was owned by local lord, and the system is called Feudalism. Variation of Serfdom which was present in Germany, Bohemia and later more to the east was bit more cruel than the english one.

Lords therefore did not accepted requests to settle on their land, because other liege lord could show up, and "ask to return of stolen serfs". Language barrier, different religion (anything except christianity) were another problems.

"Dan Vávra said there were no such ppl because they were not allowed to travel".
The problem with serfdom is that you as a serf are bound to your land by the law. You had to visit your liege and ask for permission to leave the province. There were exceptions to these rules as people living in the cities were considered "free" and usually ruled only by the king and had more rights. Serfs and peasants living in the countryside were not that lucky.

Reason for this social system were constant wars and raids, and black plague which decimated the population few decades earlier.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Death
There was simply not enough people to work the land, and to make enough crops to feed population.

Its not a coincidence that Medieval age is often called "Dark age".

What i found most hilarious was a claim made by certain portal. "We found a good internet historian"... referring to certain tumblr account. I consider "good internet historian" to be an oxymoron. Reading the accusations and claims this dude made, i realized he has little to no knowledge about medieval society, he rather kept pushing his own ideas to other people. When I read some discussions between Dan Vávra and ppl at Twitter i realized he got baited a lot, but thats about it.

Anyway, the Gamergate caused a lot of buzz around the game, and even when certain gaming review portals are either gave unfair negative review or tried to not review the game, they just made fools of themselves. Before I purchased my copy of KCD i read quite a lot of reviews, and in some cases was absolutely clear that reviewers were unable to be professionals :). However even negative publicity is publicity.


Game itself

I really like the original combat system and the way how the story is driven. Even when tasks or saving system are tedious at the time, it feels right to re-load 1-2 lost hours and "do the things right" such when I forgot to complete certain parts of quests.

What i found the best is the story, which make you care. As an example i will tell a quest in Sasau monastery, where you can find survivors from the massacre in Skalitz. They are in need of food, and medical attention.

Later I realized that I purchased the game with "Treasures of the past" DLC. I have to say that its on one hand a nice addition, on other hand it made game bit too easy. It allowed me to skip some part of progression and to get parts of "nice and shiny" armor bit too fast.

Its important to note that Kingdom Come Deliverance started as a passion project for Dan Vávra. He went against common conceptions of RPG gaming systems - no magic, complicated fight system, realism over fantasy. He went against financial odds - self financing at first, kickstarter later, and after all that they found investor, and still he managed to complete it with 70 people. And at last, but not least he went against fake social justice, which would rather prefer nice game setting over but not setting based on historic accurancy.

I am not sure if he managed to turn the tide of the gaming industry and mainly in RPGs. Witcher 3 hinted how storytelling using "predefined" character can work to the benefit of the game, and some reviewers suggested that "it should not work in normal scenarios". KCD is similar in this manner, and yet miles away when "the Hero" is just a blacksmith's son. Game itself shows various levels of society. Life of the commonners, life of the lords, and you get a glimpse of royal usurper, as early cutscenes featured king's halfbrother Sigismund. All these information help to understand the situation and make the immersion better.

However... better the immersion, the more you will notice bugs. I usually prefer to purchase games in "Game of the Year" edition, when they are almost bug free. When I finally installed the game (took two days as my ISP is crap) i had version 1.3.1. Its still not flawless as there are issues, but the bugs i have seen so far are rather in scale of "The goat simulator", nothing really gamebreaking so far.


Hope it wasnt too boring :)
 
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