The Pointy End Of Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s Combat

By Craig Pearson on February 11th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

Kingdom Come’s crowd-funding effort is still sparking away on the grind-stone of Kickstarter, honing the edge that it’ll need to slice through the metal, meat, and bone of… wait, I’ve accidentally moved from a metaphor into an actual description. It’s because I just watched a video detailing the medieval RPG’s sword-fighting system, and it looks nicely balanced. They’ve taken three basic attacks to six zones on the body, meaning you have 18 basic attacks that leads into a deadly dance of parrying, angled slashes. Will it crack the Holy Grail of FPS melee combat?

One thing I’m glad to see is the parry system, where you’ll be able to immediately block an enemy’s attack. I am terrible at that sort of thing in first-person combat: slashing and slicing is fine, but positioning a blade to block an incoming attack has always eluded me. Perhaps I’m not the only one, given that they’ve automated it a little. I think reducing the complexity of that is a smart idea if the rest of the combat is refined enough. Beyond those basic slashes and stabs, you’re able to change the angle of your attack pretty swiftly, enabling you to push the enemy one direction and quickly slash from another. That is mean.

I’m glad this is going to happen. The devs are enjoyably obsessive, and with nine days left to fund they’ve nearly doubled the initial goal.

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19 Comments »

  1. AngelTear says:

    All my respect to that Laughing Man t-shirt.

    The combat looks a lot better than I expected. I just hope it doesn’t become too automated and easy to exploit.

  2. tormos says:

    I noticed that there was a lot of edge on edge blocking, which struck me as unrealistic. From what I know about combat from the era (and basic logic) if you have a weapon where the whole deal is that it’s sharp on the blade, blocking with the blade is a good way to be holding a very expensive saw blade/fire poker instead. One source for this problem in modern recreation is that in SCA fighting etc. you don’t actually need to cut into your opponent, so edge on edge makes a lot more sense. What they were showing as parrying rather than automatic defense looked to me more like something authentic-ish.

    • Artist says:

      No, blocking with the blade is one way to do it. If you use the blunt side your blade might break. Unless you use a defense to either glance- or slide-off the attacking blade.

      • tormos says:

        That’s not correct, at least according to this guy (writing on the official site of a major US re-enactment organization and citing a bunch of codices from approximately the right time period)
        http://www.thearma.org/essays/edgemyth.htm#.UvpEZLS4uWQ
        Basically (if I’m reading him right/ recalling other stuff I’ve read correctly) you didn’t attempt to “block” the opponent by putting your blade in his way so much as either move out of the way of his strike, move into his way to interfere with his swing, or thwack his blade aside with your blade (thus redirecting rather than blocking his blade). After all, your sword is about as hard as the other fellow’s, so taking that kind of impact on a repeated basis will eventually fracture it.

        • HyenaGrin says:

          I’ve seen arguments on both sides of the debate and I think that he’s wrong.

          The fact was that blocking with the flat of the blade was not always viable, and at times could result in a broken blade. Swords are stronger along the axis of the blade than against it, obviously.

          There is plenty of evidence that fencing styles frequently included blade blocking; ‘biting’ the blades together gives you a degree of control over your opponent’s weapon that you do not have with a flat parry. Flat parries are also tricky to pull off against certain types of strikes, and if you are sacrificing your own ability to counter-attack because you are focused on preserving your blade, you are not likely to win the engagement.

          Also, you are typically blocking with the base of the blade, where you have the most leverage, and blade degradation at that location does not actually diminish the blade’s effectiveness – you are striking almost exclusively with the upper half of the blade.

          Finally, swords got damaged. Whether they are taking damage due to ‘biting’ or due to striking shields or armor, the blades degraded. This was a fact of life for actual sword combat. Like any other weapon, they required frequent sharpening in order to maintain an edge. Unlike a weapon collector, a swordsman fighting with his life on the line probably does not value the state of his weapon more than the chance to end a duel.

          Anyway, there are some videos on youtube discussing the topic. I’ve been in both camps, and I think the whole ‘flat blocking only’ theory is what I would call a ‘well supported myth.’

          • tormos says:

            Whether or not that’s accurate (I’m really not well read enough on the subject to know), if you look at the video he blocks about 8 attacks edge on edge in about ten seconds (3:30-3:40). I can understand that it might actually have happened in combat, but he seems to be using blocking with the middle part of the edge as his go to, which seems like courting disaster.

    • rj_uk says:

      If you’re looking for realism then you must remind yourself the idea of most combat is to kill or maim the opposition whilst defending oneself.

      In the heat of combat whilst your opponent is trying to hack you to pieces you would use any and every bit of the sword to survive. Taking a nick out of the sharp edge of a sword is a small price to pay for staying alive. Having a nice sharp perfect blade is little use to a dead man.

  3. Artist says:

    Im surprised how dull the “stretch goals” are. No clue if it means they already include all planned gameplay into the game or lack some proper goals beyond that.

    • Thanaeon says:

      I’d say that’s because compared to the full funding of the game, the Kickstarter money is a tiny percentage. So they can’t really add big things to it just because they add a few percentiles to the total budget. As such, the things they add must be things that would be sorta fun but won’t take up too much in the way of resources.

      Or things they were planning to add anyway. I suspect there’s some of that going on as well.

      • WrenBoy says:

        Yeah, I cant imagine they were ever considering not using performance motion capture for instance.

        The game does look pretty sweet though. I wont be backing it but will definitely buy it if it turns out ok.

  4. XhomeB says:

    I liked what they said at the end of the video, that the combat won’t be simply twitch-based, but actually governed by your character’s stats (so that you perform certain moves easier etc.). That’s good, I was worried it’d all be about the player’s reflexes, hardly a desirable thing in what’s supposed to be a proper cRPG.
    Also – multiple ways to take over an enemy castle, nice to hear besieging isn’t the only option. Overall, I’m really pleased with this update.

    Speaking of Kickstater campaigns – Book of Unwritten Tales 2! Wee…
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kingartgames/the-book-of-unwritten-tales-2
    Off-topic, I know, but it’s an IMPORTANT piece of news.

  5. MrNash says:

    Looks pretty interesting. I like that it’s an open world RPG where people can fight computer controlled enemies. The last game with vaguely medieval combat in it that I played was Chivalry, and I was terrible at that. I’d much rather do this stuff in single player in an imaginary world than some sort of arena-ish versus environment.

  6. Svant says:

    Really hope their level and rpg system do not give characters extra health nilly willy. A steel longsword should always be a steel longsword and be able to kill someone with a good hit or two and not turn into what could be a wooden spoon because you or the enemy levelled up 3 times.

    If they want to go the realistic way they have to be extremely careful with the levels and whatnot because it can break stuff very quickly. (see Dead Island which hade big problems with health and level ups)

    • tormos says:

      I’m hoping that that’s what the fatigue system is for. Essentially combat being more about tiring out the enemy or wearing down his armor while waiting for the one or two critical openings (which could come at any time but will be more likely if you can lightly wound/tire him first)

  7. DatonKallandor says:

    “Will it crack the Holy Grail of FPS melee combat?”
    Steal it from Dark Messiah you mean. They’ve had it since that game came out. They also have the multiplayer melee controls Holy Grail, but few people know it (their lock-on and backstab mechanics are simply perfection).

  8. pilouuuu says:

    I have to say that this looks brilliant. Especially compared to the dull combat of Skyrim. Hopefully they’ll include some of the funny parts of Dark Messiah of M & M too!

    • B1A4 says:

      Rooms full of spikes? DM is the best kicking simulator ever. Never played it as a man-of-swords.

  9. nimbulan says:

    I had my doubts about their game pitch vs their funding (even including their main investor) but this is very impressive. The combat animations already look better than a lot of released AAA games and if they can pull it off, it will put even Chivalry and Dark Messiah to shame.

  10. Leb says:

    The combat looks extremely dull. Hold down block and block in any direction?

    At least give us the option to choose between that and something more involved, like M&B does.