I quite like the game, particularly for the story and general atmosphere that’s injected to it. My main issue with it however is the combat, so bear that in mind to get a perspective on it. I finished it on normal mode and am now going through it on hardcore all negatives (just thought I’d give it a shot see if it’s any better, and I have to say it is).
I quite like a challenge and I understand for matters of realism we’re no Superman, so I’m fine with all of those. I also think the basic ingredients employed in the combat system are great, well thought out and form the foundations for an amazing system.
It reminds me a lot of Mount and Blade, a game which I played endlessly, and which knew very well both how to design and also integrate correctly with controls directional combat. I think KCD’s fundamental design improves upon M&Bs system by miles, and it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Here’s the features I am very much for:
- 5 slash directions + stab (direct improvement to M&B)
- Clinch (dislike the randomness and pure stat reliance to win, but like the option)
- Combos (These are an amazing concept, however ripostes kick them right in the guts, making them risky and undesirable)
- Armor types with strengths and weaknesses (we should be given a second weapon slot option to choose between blunt or sharp, rather than going through the inventory and miraculously equipping it isntantly)
- Footwork (the way animations handle this I feel is really solid)
Here’s my personal suggestions, possibly for KCD2 or for future games by WH along the same lines:
- Fix input lag, not sure if everyone gets it but mouse input is disastrous for me, changing directions is really slow and clunky, often times well timed dodges and blocks don’t trigger the animation but still lets you dodge or block the attack or take glancing damage
- Removing unavoidable ripostes. The entire wonderful foundation and possibilities within the combat system is stopped right in its tracks by ripostes. You’ll meet NPCs that either never do them, or almost always do. Combos are pretty much ruined with this, aggressive play takes a back seat and passive defense wins out. At least make ripostes dodgable if not blockable (or vice versa).
- Make clinches allow more time for an input, and allow for a back and forth in response to someone’s clinch attack
- Do away with the locking concept. M&B freeform style is the way forward, taking away your vision and footwork by directly locking on is a terrible approach when it comes to handling multiple opponents.
- Make dodge a non relative action. Instead of only being in response to an attack, allow the user to take a direct dodging action at the cost of stamina. It could be used for re-positioning and timing of attacks. This would also allow us to constantly move sideways before dodging further along if we so want to.
- Make combos bufferable. allow us to queue up the attacks. It’s quite hard to get it to fire even though I want Henry to do it, because of input lag it often times has him strike once and then stop, looking at my opponent like a muppet instead of pressing the advantage.
The conclusion to this is that in my opinion this is a diamond in the rough. There’s some seriously great ingredients in place, but ripostes dilute the entire mixture, and input lag and other minor glitches further chip away at its potential.