The third DLC for Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Band of Bastards requires that you have played through a portion of the base game before starting it, just as previous DLC. More specifically, you should have completed the quest “Baptism of Fire,” where you liberate the ruined village of Pribyslavitz, which will also allow you to start From the Ashes. Having played both From the Ashes and Band of Bastards, I don’t think there is a right order to start them. It’s up to the player as far as I can tell. Whereas From the Ashes is more of a money sink experience, Band of Bastards is more combat-driven, though not as much as players might expect. At some point after “Baptism of Fire,” you can approach Sir Radzig Kobyla in Rattay. There’ll be a new dialogue option, where you’ll ask if you can do anything to help him out. He’ll tell you that after the razing of Skalitz he doesn’t have the men he needs to patrol his estates. He’ll have to turn to a group of mercenaries led by an impoverished nobleman called Sir Kuno. A few years earlier, Kuno was about to lose his head in the gallows when Radzig saved him. Having the man’s eternal gratitude, Radzig intends to collect a few favors in return. You’ll be their guide, for lack of a better word. The band of bastards is camping close to Ledetchko. Once you arrive there, Kuno will test your mettle in their makeshift arena. If you can’t hack it with a sword, he’ll send you off and tell you to come back later. Since you should be able to fight well by the time you finish “Baptism of Fire,” it shouldn’t be hard. After the test, you can hang around and get to know the mercenaries. This should also prompt another quest to start, “The Ring of Bacchus,” which is really just a wild goose chase in the camp. You can do it, but it's not really interesting or fun. Band of Bastards consists of five missions as you tag along with the patrol, though they don’t really need you that much as a guide. On the first mission, you’ll find out there’s another impoverished nobleman prowling around Radzig’s estates. He’s out for revenge against Radzig for having razed his castle years back. He challenges Radzig to a duel, but Radzig refuses. The other missions are mostly steps to catch up to the nobleman and face him in battle. There’s nothing really quite wrong with the quest writing, but it never properly motivates you to pursue the nobleman. I was really just going along for the ride, fighting off the bandits and mercenaries, more inert than compelled. There’s one point where you can track down a group of bandits through the woods by following a trail. It’s a good segment, but also nothing special. An ambush battle where I had to protect Kuno gave me a bit of a rush. Apart from that, there’s a lot lacking here. Sure, you can talk to the mercenaries and have a bit of stealth fun with the other side quest, but nothing about the DLC feels substantial. Especially compared with The Amorous Adventures of Bold Sir Hans Capon, I really missed that special something in quest design where you have different ways to accomplish an objective. That’s what I liked the most in the base game as well, and I expected more of that in DLC. And even if Band of Bastards was supposed to be more of a combat-driven experience, it also falls short in that area. In fact, one of the worst parts in the base game is how they design group battles. It’s all so poorly coordinated that I usually prefer to stay on the sidelines with a bow, though that’s also not optimal. It’s just such a clunky mess, where the NPC AI really gets in the way of one-on-one scuffles. The final battle against the nobleman, in particular, is such a mess that I kept having Kuno turn on me at the end. Because, you know, I kept hitting him by mistake as I tried to take down the other mercenaries. On top of all that, there’s still a very noticeable performance hit, even on a GTX 1080 card. There are three ways you can approach the final battle, and at least one of them involves a one-on-one duel with the nobleman. That way you can at least avoid the group battle. Since there isn’t much of a finale with Kuno at the end anyway, it’s probably the best option. As with From the Ashes, Band of Bastards also suffers from a very anticlimactic conclusion. Even if you go back to their camp afterward, you won’t even be able to talk to them anymore. You’ll get some special armor, a pat on the back from Radzig, and that’s it. I was looking forward to Band of Bastards, but I come away significantly disappointed. It’s about as short as From the Ashes, but there’s no integration with the base game like that DLC had. It’s much shorter than The Amorous Adventures, and nowhere near as fun and rewarding. If you really enjoyed the base game and you’re a diehard completionist, you can get it in a deal at some point, but you won’t be missing out on much if you don’t.
TechRaptor reviewed Kingdom Come: Deliverance - Band of Bastards on PC via Steam with a code provided by the publisher. The DLC is also available on GOG. The reviewer was a backer of the base game through the game’s official website.
Band of Bastards is essentially a short side quest consisting of five combat-driven missions and an extremely unsatisfying conclusion.(Review Policy)
- Tracking Quest Segment
- Group Battles Are Still Messy
- Very Lacking Conclusion