While I am still enjoying the game after 80 hours and I consider it as one of the best RPGs (if not the best) I have played, there are several issues to be addressed. And there is one particular reason for which KCD deserves this critique – because Dan Vavra’s famous complain-post regarding Skyrim:
It is in Czech, but even google translate can help you to get an idea. A few weeks ago, I have read through Dan’s post again to recall what was in – I was curious which issues from the list are addressed in KCD and which not. Fair to say, Dan avoided most of the issues he was complaining about, but surprisingly, there are some issues not really solved… you will see some as you read below.
Starting his “review” Dan is quoting some guy from Metacritic:
” Hurray sandbox, but it’s all handled horrifically. You can fight! But it’s the worst fighting engine in any game! You can steal! But it’s just picking stuff up! You can housebreak! But it’s a terribly done minigame. You can ride a horse! But it handles like you’re on foot, just with a horse model stuck to your butt. You can talk to 1000s of NPCs! But they all say one of 4 things and nothing you say to them will impact anything. And so on…”
I leave up to you if KCD is suffering the same or not…
Hereby my list of issues, written in similar way Dan did. Without mercy.
1 ) Starting stats - Your character is just a common weakling with all main stats set to 1 and all secondary stats set to 0. Are you a son of blacksmith or what? Why are all your stats the same?
2) You have 0 experience in blacksmithing – you are as poor in repairing tools, weapons and armor as in herbalism or alchemy… as someone who never ever helped his father in his job.
3) You are frequently going to tavern and your drinking skills are… zero. You have never experienced alcohol!
4) Your character very likely brawled and his skills in hand-to-hand fight are… zero!
5) The day before the game starts, your character trained swordfight with a mercenary passing by and Henry’s skills with sword are… zero!
6) Henry’s starting skills does not reflect the story, the background, the character as he should be. Devs just made a standard cliché of making the character common weakling.
7) If you grind enough, you can master all skills to max. There is no mechanic in the game to force the jack of all trades to be master of none. You can be master of everything. Specialization or skill trade-off is completely missing.
8) In mid-game, there is one poor try to do some sort of specialization (but failing to do it properly) – your character can choose one of several perks, which instantly boosts one of the skills, while instantly reducing one or two other skills. So, you get the desired strength level by training and combat practice so you can use a bow with strength skill requirement; after levelling your character you choose “speech” skill, which instantly reduces your strength and you immediately forget to use your bow, because the bow has skill requirement - strength. This instant amnesia is just weird.
9) All the carts and wagons in the area of Rataje, Sazava and Talmberg have been abandoned or crashed (as you can find ridiculously high number of “accidents”), since you never ever meet a cart/wagon moving with crew on the road.
10) Also, no horse riding NPCs (unless scripted in quests). No animals are used to help people on fields or for transport.
11) No horse riding enemies. Even poor Kumans forgot to ride horses as they did ride them at the very beginning of the game, but after the tutorial they never appear on horseback… (IRL Kumans were famous mounted warriors – where is the realism KCD?!?).
12) Wait, why there are so many stables, when nobody is using horses? Do they keep horses locked in Neuhof for some reason?
13) Mounted combat is much worse than in the old Mount&Blade. You better jump off the horse to deal with enemies. It seems, that mounted combat is kind of a placeholder, not implemented properly due to lack of time&money.
14) Ingame economy is a mockery. Dan Vavra complained about economy in Skyrim just to make it even worse in KCD:
15) You can earn a fortune just to hoard plentiful herbs and sell them to merchants. Merchants are happy to give you all their money for a nettle. I wonder why there are any beggars in Rataje, when it is so easy to earn a lot of money…
16) I miss completely the idea why they implemented “hunger” mechanic. While you can theoretically suffer from hunger, it won’t happen unless you really want. You can eat for free from many cooking pots spread across the map. Again – why people beg when they can get food for free? And why there are people willing to buy/sell food if it is for free? Keeping food in inventory is almost useless.
17) You can sell food. And the food deteriorates in time. But because nobody but you are buying from merchants – they keep the food and it deteriorates. Sell an apple to a merchant and in a week, you can buy it back rotten. At least they could implement some periodic “refresh” of goods merchants sell…
18) In mid game you will have so much money, that you can afford everything. But there is nothing worth buying, because:
19) The area around Talmberg, Sazava and Rataje is full of crates and dug in sacks filled with very expensive fine armor, weapons, money, books and fine clothes. And nobody is trying to get the treasures, but the player… If you hunt the treasures, you do not need to buy anything.
20) This is even worse when you have Treasures from the Past DLC and you use the armor from the DLC. While you can spend some money for repairing armor (or buying repairing tools and repairing yourself), the price for repairing the DLC armor is barely 0. The selling price of DLC armor is set to 1 groschen and the price of repairing services is related to the cost of the piece you want to repair. Is this some bug or what?
21) Dan Vavra was complaining about having very powerful sword in early/mid playtime in Skyrim – laughing-off the Skyrim gameplay balance (point 61 in Dan’s post). After some 20-30 hours I have found the most powerful shortsword in KCD (the Stinger) in easily accessible “hidden” crate and I am using it since then (80 hours), selling all other swords I find or loot from enemies, because they are worse.
22) Weather (including heavy rain) has no effect on NPCs behavior. Merchants are standing in heavy rain and selling their apples, not trying to get some cover.
23) Weather has no effect on character itself. In severe weather, there is no penalty on anything. Your character is completely fine and comfortable in wet clothes during heavy rain or storm.
24) There is no difference when running uphill/downhill in terms of speed or stamina. How can they forget about this simple feature? Dan is playing paintball – he should know how difficult is to run uphill attacking against TwoTowers at their Dzban field!
25) There is no penalty in stamina for wearing heavy armor.
26) You can conveniently sleep in full armor. And many soldiers or even noblemen in KCD do sleep in full armor. Maybe because:
27) To change one set of clothes/armor to another (from fullplate armor used in field of battle to sneaky dark clothes for night thieving and then to expensive nobleman suit) is horrible fiddling in inventory. You have to change every single piece of clothes. It is nice and realistic to have that many layers, but without implementing any saved “sets”, the fiddling in inventory is horrible.
28) All animals in the forests are peaceful and do not attack at any situation. Carnivores (like wolfs) are completely missing.
29) The dogs are just barking, they do not attack or even defend themselves when being attacked. Poor animals. It seems, that they are just not finished yet. Lack of time&money…
30) The combat system itself is working fine when 1-on-1 combat. When you face several enemies, it is very clumsy and all the tactics&combos are gone to fiddling with “locking” the proper enemy. When you try to attack, you are not attacking the closest foe, but the one “locked”, leading into funny situations. But the true horror occurs when you are in combat with several friends and foes. Not to harm your friend (turning the whole friendly side into enemies) is sometimes very annoying minigame. Wait, wasn’t it Dan Vavra complaining about this in Skyrim (see his point 95)?
31) High tier weapons and armor and combat perks are so overpowered, that in the late game the combat cease to be challenging at all.
32) There are polearms in game used by your enemies or town guards, but the player cannot use them.
33) Sometimes you can use a polearm, but it seems to be a bug (very likely the polearms were not finished by the release date and the devs tried to delete/comment the code allowing use of polearms – not 100% successful in the deleting)
34) There are no crossbows. The weapon so widely used by hussites and missing?
35) After some playtime, everybody knows and greets you by name. Even a witch living alone in woods. Yes, I mean the witch, who does not trust you when you start talking with her, because she does not know you…
36) While the famous “Arrow in the knee” in Skyrim was so annoying, that it become a meme, in KCD we have the “Henry comes to see us”.
37) You can have a romance with some women. After a crush, they stop being interested in you and neglect you as any other no-name NPC do. Maybe Henry has some issues with size of his sword…
38) There are no children. People are even talking about children, pregnancy etc. but you do not find any single child in the area around Rataje, Sazava and Talmberk. I know the excuse Warhorse is using, but it is just weird experience in the game.
39) Very low variability of faces. You meet the same faces again and again. Example: the executioner’s wife, priest’s mistress from Uzice, Mrs. Bauer and many random noname women have the same face.
40) As in all RPGs, all people have the same size of clothes and shoes. You can strip anyone and wear his clothes and shoes conveniently. No matter if you are tall or short, fat or slim – you can wear anything.
41) 99% of NPCs use the same clothes all the time. Which is necessary, because you cannot recognize them by their faces (see the point 39), so you have to recognize the important NPCs by their clothes…
42) Some random quests are annoyingly repetitive. For example: one guy steals a bread from another guy – you can catch him, beat him and return the bread to his owner (or leave the thieve be). I saw this quest of stolen bread several times in every town in KCD with the same two characters (same faces, same clothes). It seems, the thief is recidivist stealing the bread from the same guy again and again, while the poor fellow is always trying to move to another town to get rid of the thief… If it is not a joke by intention, it is sad.
43) As in many games, you have huge invisible pockets. You can have several weapons, pieces of armor, shields, quest items, … and all this is stored in some magical invisible bag. The only limit is the strength of your character. I know it is difficult to implement this in realistic but playable way – on the other hand Escape from Tarkov is doing it properly since Alpha.
44) Two perks in the game make some stats variable - one is increasing your skills in towns and villages, the other do it outside inhabited areas. So, for example, you can carry more weight while you are in town and you suddenly become overburdened as you leave the town gate…. Weird. I could understand variable social-related skills, but strength? Why?
45) It is a shame, that Czech people do not know how to create an alcohol. Saviour schnapps should be a schnapps – a strong spirit. Schnapps contains more alcohol than wine does. But the recipe to create a savior schnaps is to put some herbs into a wine and bring it to boil; i.e. make spiced hot wine (with nettle instead of cinnamon). Hot wine contains even less alcohol than regular wine, because it loses some alcohol during the boiling process – it is not a way how to make a schnapps from wine. Come on guys, you should know that. Hot wine is so popular in Czech, especially during Christmas period.
46 ) And I really need to quote Dan’s last 3 complains, because they are simply hilarious (for non-Czech speakers – it is complaining about bugs in Skyrim). I could just translate them, and it would perfectly fit:
114 . Je opravdu jen málo her, které dokáží natvrdo zamrznout Xbox. Skyrim hned po vydání byl jednou z nich.
115. Vydat na Xboxu hru, která má celou řadu poměrně zásadních chyb, je důkazem, že Todd Howard má Speech a Haggling na max (nebo že Microsoft dost vyměknul).
116. Bethesda prosí hráče na konzolích, aby vydrželi, než opraví bugy. Co to jako je? Proč jako? Bethesda vydala v minulosti zabugovanou Arenu, Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, New Vegas, Rage. Slovo zabugovanou je při tom ještě docela měkké pro často takřka nehratelné paskvily. A teď když Bethesda vydá zase, zabugovanou hru, máme na něco čekat? Vydržet měla spíš Bethesda s vydáním (opět) masivně zabugované hry, přičemž to, že hra na konzolích padá a nenačítají se textury, je opravdu něco, čeho si nelze nevšimnout a nedá se to svést na rozmanitost hardwaru na PC. EPIC FAIL.
Do not get me wrong – I really like KCD and I really agree with the complains regarding Skyrim, but the temptation to write the list was so high I could not resist.
I am just a realism buff:)