Within my first hour of playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance, I was beaten up by the town drunk. By the end of the almost 70 hours I spent with it, I was sizing up a trio of bandits with a smirk on my real-life face, knowing even together they were no match for my steel and the extensive training I’d received under some of the toughest knights in this beautifully recreated medieval land. This wasn’t merely a change in stats and equipment. Without a single spell or magic sword, Kingdom Come gave me the abundantly satisfying feeling of transforming from doe-eyed scrub to stone-cold killer.
Warhorse’s tale of tribulation and betrayal shines brightest in the little ways it sells the fantasy of living in the Late Middle Ages. Not only are there survival mechanics that track hunger and fatigue, but every aspect of your character’s appearance has an impact on how NPCs perceive you. The biggest example is how clothes will accumulate wear and trail dust as you traipse through the wilderness, leaving nobles less than impressed with your scruffiness.