My two cents

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.

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It’s not lag, it’s animation. You’re supposed to time your attacks and clinches are not totally random, if you press attack right after you grab opponent, you win, the stronger one has higher chance.
Mount and Blade fighters can walk or ride while attacking but KCD is locked and depends on whole body movement which is locked to animation.
There could be feature to favourite certain items to pick them fast.

I’m talking about input lag from the mouse. You move it around to get a different direction and the indicator doesn’t respond in time. Of course the animation has to play fully before you’re allowed to execute it. Animation lock was not the input lag I was referring to. I get literal input lag from the mouse.

Edit: Btw I’m not sure I understand the feature you mentioned, could you explain it further?

The combat mechanics is a tasty addition.

Like the arcade game street fighter, having six buttons to control power of punches/kicks- until someone makes a system- we cannot see how much we were missing before. (Ie I played ‘street fighter’, before the second one added all the extra control nuances… )

Combat in KCD is epically more fluid north of fourty frames per second.
I target fourty five frames as my action framerate in this game.
Higher framerates didn’t seem to offer as big an improvement as going from thirty to fourty frames…
(Sixty frames per second wasnt special…)

As soon as the game runs north of fourty frames per second, the combat loses the cumbersome, clunky feel.
At fourty-fourty five frames per second it feels like Dragons Dogma level of arcadey fun.

The lag/latency you describe above might be lessened by streamlining tge system a bit more.

The best system tweak I did for this game was cganging my ‘Command Rate’ (often labelled CR) for memory/RAM chips.
By default most PCs are set at 2T, and changing that timing to 1T noticably lessened the time of screen fade out/fade ins (eg convo loads in earlier game versions and washing torso etc).

In many games where hovering the mouse iver a target has delay before the floating text comes up, assuming it isnt an intended/programmed delay… its going to be some subsystem being a weak link and not passing data along in due time.

It could be a fully pegged CPU unable to ‘get around’ to focusing on the users new input/intent… it could be a drive not loading said data fast enough.

Most games dont benefit from faster memory/tighter timings. (Or if they do it is at level load/game start and not generally of significance to the gameplay.

Open world games seem to prove an exception to this general rule of thumb.
(Eg Skyrim/KCD)
Very few PC titles will net better framerate from faster memory/tighter timings etc.

I was fortunate that my DDR4 RAM chips were made by micron/crucial and were then supplied to other manufacturers after parts bining to be sold for vastly higher pricepoints (with higher claimed speeds).
Whilst my memory defaulted to 2133mhz at a CAS latency of 15…it could be dropped to CAS latency of 13 fairly easily, AND change the Command Rate from 2 to 1.

Many online guides and recommendations, in memory tweaking and benchmarking writeups, that show diminishing speed returns.
It seems like aiming for 2400mhz is worthwhile, so I settled on 2400mhz and CAS 14.
(Change one variable and ye generally have to change another if you are the bleeding edge…)

The takeaway from most of those guides is that CR1 is a free speed boost that many can get, generally pretty easy.
As it is a setting in BIOS- Im not going to recommend you do it to someone elses computer.
And know how to reset your bios if you want to really play with these things…

CR1 made the best benefit to this game for me. Was free. And took around a minute to implement/try.

Not everyone will have memory with as much leeway as mine offered. The memory chips in my PC are the first DDR4 sticks that came to market. They were massively underated. I just found out what they could do… (2800mhz without tinkering with voltages(much))

As no other games net any real benefits memory is a silly thing to blow money on (especially of late as crypto mining has kept prices high).
But there is a pretty good chance that changing the Command Rate (from 2/2t to 1/1t) is a worthwhile benefit for this game (and general zippiness), and might reduce some inherent lag as mentioned above.

Definately recommend lowering graphics settings to try and hit 45fps (for combat), if at all doable.

That target might not be in the realm of the majority right now, but this game will have a long life…
Definately revisit this title with any hardware changes. Something Crysis was great for as well.

(I still use crysis on new builds to stability test gaming rigs)

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Doubt I’ll see “north of” 30 or smooth combat. So I’ll just clunk along as best as I can with the small motion delays and all ready moistly on medium. What does high/ ultra look like?

Thanks for the great write up. I’m a software dev myself but never got that close to hardware, so couldn’t quite follow everything you were talking about! :stuck_out_tongue:

I admit my 8 year old pc is no longer able to pump out those heavy frames, particularly in combat it starts to tank. I would think that it’s still some fundamental design issue that leads to this, and I think you may have given a few possibilities of how this could be the case. Either way, if it does work at higher frames and doesn’t cause such a fuss, I can gladly take that point down, after all I’m definitely pushing my luck attempting to play these recent games on such an old system.

Still, I think while KCD combat system received a lot of harsh criticism which gets backed up by borderline blind unconditional love, I think the truth lies somewhere in between. It’s definitely got the right ingredients. A little experimentation in the future might see this through to take the podium for any melee based game.

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