Kingdom Come: Deliverance focuses so hard on realism that even the simplest tasks we take for granted in other video games are difficult here. That's because, for the most part, you're performing a simulation of the real thing.
As a result, you're probably going to need a few pointers before you dive straight into the adventure. Luckily for you, we've spent hours with the game and learned the hard way, so we can make it easier for you.
So pay attention to the following tips and you'll live a reasonably comfortable life in the difficult medieval period. You might even find yourself having fun.
Talk is cheap, and very effective
Forget any grand aspirations you have of picking up the nearest greatsword and running off into the mountains to battle giants. This isn't Skyrim, and combat in the early game is incredibly punishing.
So we advise you to avoid it until you've learned the basics in a safe environment. Instead, you need to learn to talk your way out of tricky situations if you want to survive long enough to see the adventure through to its bitter conclusion.
There are three different ways you can walk out of a conversation the victor. You can intimidate, charm, or even allow your reputation to precede you. You have a score for each of these different factors, and this is tallied using a variety of different means.
Intimidation grows the more combat ready you look. So if you like to wander about in full plate armour, you're going to strike a more imposing figure. But there's more to it than that. If you've just been in combat, you'll intimidate easier thanks to the mud and blood covering your clothes. So maybe don't wash before you try and scare someone.
Charming is almost the exact opposite of intimidating. You'll want to be clean, well dressed, and ensure you've had enough sleep so you don't slur your words. You also won't charm someone that much if you're drunk, so try and stay sober. Lastly, dress for the occasion. You'll find it difficult to charm a noble in peasant's clothes and vice versa.
Finally, you can rely on your reputation to save you in a bind. This is tough to control though, as you have to help people, complete quests, and generally be a likeable figure in that particular region of the game to have a high reputation score. Still, late game this might be your best bet, so don't ignore it.
The basics of combat
Despite its appearance, combat isn't actually that difficult to master in Kingdom Come: Deliverance. In the beginning, all you really need to know is that you parry with L1, stab with R1, and slash with R2.
You target automatically, and can use the right joystick to change the direction of your attack. You can only target the chest or head when stabbing, but can slash in five different directions.
Blocking and parrying is as easy as holding L1 down when your opponent attacks, but it uses a lot of stamina. Once this is depleted you'll be unable to block so will take damage.
As such, you're going to want to retaliate quickly after your opponent's attack. Look for an opening, and try and attack in the opposite direction of your opponent's last attack or block. This will make it more difficult for them to block or parry your attack. Don't flail either. If your first attack fails, feel free to follow up in another direction, but save some stamina to block return fire.
You don't have to just fight with a sword though – there's also archery. This is a little trickier than your typical first-person shooter, though, as there's no targeting reticule. So at first, you're just going to be woeful at aiming.
We found that if you place your arrow just to the right of the object you're aiming for, you'll generally hit the target. This is easier said than done though, given Henry's shakey hand. The distance you can fire also differs depending on both your bow and arrow choices as well, so you're going to have to spend time getting a feel for it.
Our final tip is to try not to draw an arrow when you're low on stamina. Ideally, you want to have enough to fine tune your aim before firing.
How to ride a horse
Riding a horse feels a little jankier than other games at first, but once you realise that the horse travels in the direction its head – not yours – is pointing, you'll have an easier time of it.
Because that's the most jarring aspect of horse riding, when you're looking in a certain direction and move in the other. But if you try and glance at the horse's head before you start moving, you can quickly reposition your horse. It starts to become second nature after a while.
The controls are pretty simple, though. You push forward on the left analogue to trot, the right analogue lets Henry look around the environment, and you can press circle to canter. If you canter on a main road, the horse will automatically follow it too, leaving you to appreciate the scenery in peace.
You can also gallop, which is a little trickier to pull off. You have to double tap and hold circle while you push forward on the left analogue. Unfortunately, the game's control hints don't make that clear.
Bear in mind that while you gallop, your horse won't automatically follow the road. You also can't gallop forever, as it does drain your horse's stamina.
Almost every action improves a skill
Almost every action you perform in Kingdom Come: Deliverance improves your skill in that area. Pick herbs and you'll improve your herbalism. Drink and you'll be a better drinker. You'll periodically acquire new perks as well, some of which help you out in a number of areas unrelated to that particular skill too.
What we're getting at here, is that you should try and vary up your actions because almost everything you do works towards improving as a character. Given how unpredictable Kingdom Come is, you might find that a skill becomes very useful during a quest later in the game. Try and develop them all.
Take good care of yourself
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an RPG in the truest sense of the term. You literally have to role play as Henry and take care of almost every aspect besides going to the toilet. Henry gets hungry, tired, and dirty so you have to keep him fed, get plenty of sleep, and bathe often.
The quality matters, too. Give Henry an apple and he probably won't stay full for long. The same goes for sleeping. While he can find straw to lay down on and rest, he probably won't sleep as well as he would in a bed. You can bathe in a trough, but wouldn't it be better to get your clothes (and Henry) properly laundered at a bathhouse? Pay attention to the quality of these activities and Henry will be happier and healthier.
Remember that you're only human
You'll realise sooner rather than later that while Kingdom Come: Deliverance looks and plays a lot like Skyrim or The Witcher, it really isn't. That's because you're playing as an ordinary human, rather than a superhero.
You're also playing as an ordinary human that's received no formal training in anything, so at the beginning of the game you'll barely be able to do anything right. So apply logic to the situations you encounter, and you might just walk away unscathed.
For example, early on you'll face an army with only a sword to defend yourself with. In Skyrim or The Witcher, you might be tempted to try your chances and fight your way out. We did too, by the way. But that's just not going to work because Henry can barely hold that blade and he's fighting against seasoned warriors.
So think about your actions. Maybe don't ride into battle with an empty stomach, or start a quest that requires you to read if you can't read. Speaking of that.
Learn to read, and fast
You know how in some games you can just walk up to a book, interact with it, and you get a bonus to your skills or a quest objective updates? Kingdom Come isn't like that at all. Here, you actually have to read books with your own eyes, absorb the information with your own brain, and then feed that information to an NPC based on the information you – not Henry – has learned.
It's a little intense, but so rewarding when you figure it all out. Potions work the same way too. You have to follow a recipe, and it's so satisfying glancing to the right as you work to remind yourself of the next step.
But aside from being an intriguing mechanic, reading is actually essential if you want to get the best result out of side – and even main – quests. You can learn it by visiting a town scribe, and you'll encounter them early enough. So learn it and use it often so your reading ability is up to scratch when you need it.
The map and quest log is your trusty ally
If you ever get stuck in Kingdom Come: Deliverance (and you will), it's always a good idea to check your quest log. Here, you'll find a bunch of notes on your quest goals, and often enough Henry will nudge you in a certain direction.
The map itself often gives you areas you should visit to complete your goal. It won't tell you exactly where to go unless you've already learned that by talking to an NPC. But it's definitely better than trying to figure it out for yourself every time.
Perks are poorly explained in Kingdom Come: Deliverance. We only stumbled on them hours in, and by accident. While you don't necessarily need any of the perks, they can make your life a lot easier.
To check them out, press down on the d-pad and go to the player tab. Here, you can see all of your skills and how far you have to go to level up in a particular skill next. If you press triangle on a skill, you can read how to level it up, and at which points you'll get perks.
You'll also know that you can unlock a perk if there's a star by one of the tabs. Scroll to that tab, then look for the perk indicator on the top bar. If there's a number underneath this, you have a perk in that tree.
One thing to bear in mind though, is that perks often improve you in a certain area, but diminish your abilities in another. That can have long reaching affects as well, so really consider how you play to mitigate this.
How to save
You can't just press start and save your game in Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Well, not unless you have Saviour Schnapps in your inventory, that is. More on that later.
There are three ways to save your game: Automatically, which happens intermittently while working your way through quests; manually, by sleeping in a bed you own or rent; or by drinking Saviour Schnapps.
The latter is a relatively expensive drink that you can create yourself if you're proficient in alchemy. Try not to rely on it too much, though. Instead, get in the habit of finding a bed to rest in, and have it nearby if you're about to do something dangerous.
Don't worry too much during main quests, though. Kingdom Come is pretty generous with its autosave during those, and almost always does so before you do something dangerous.
Your morality matters
You know how in Skyrim you can join the shady thieves guild and the honourable Companions? That wouldn't be possible in Kingdom Come. Your morality actually matters here, and acting too much in one way typically locks you out of the other.
You'll face morally questionable circumstances right away as well. As soon as you reach Rattay and speak to the miller (who's a bit of an arsehole despite helping you out), he'll ask you to do something a little suspicious involving dead bodies.
Don't just treat activities like this lightly – you can't just do every single side quest willy nilly like you do in other games. NPCs will start to treat you differently if you start hanging out with the wrong sort. Perhaps you want that, in which case go for it. But if you want to be treated well, turn down those situations.
You're actually taught about the morality system during your very first quest. Well, that is if you speak to your friends outside of the tavern when you go to fetch ale. They'll invite you to fling mud onto a member of the town's clean house because they disagree with his opinions.
No matter the option you choose, your father will advise you against that sort of behaviour when you return to him. Pay heed to his words, because they actually have consequences in gameplay terms, too.
Do you have any other helpful Kingdom Come: Deliverance hints and tips to share? Reveal your secrets in the comments section below.