As a backer and day-one player of Kingdom Come: Deliverance on PC, my experience was of a highly immersive and engrossing open world RPG. It was definitely flawed as a product, and it wobbled under the weight of its ambition. Performance issues with unstable frame rates and load times were a serious problem and still persist to a degree. While I never expected a 1:1 scale of realism, it came very close to a proper medievalist vision of 15th century Bohemia. I explored the map and the gameplay systems as thoroughly as I could before I completed the main storyline. Now I return to Bohemia to see what else is in store for Henry of Skalitz in From the Ashes.
From the Ashes is the first of four expansions that Warhorse Studios announced for Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Following the game’s rocky release in February of 2018, the developers released a series of patches, and the first free DLC, Hardcore Mode, came out back in June. From the Ashes followed in July, mainly offering players a money sink experience, as is typical for DLC of this kind. The premise is quite simple. Sir Divish of Talmberg entrusts you with overseeing the rebuilding and management of Pribyslavitz. If you played the base game, you’ll remember it. It's a crumbling settlement that you liberated from bandits and invaders earlier on. Obviously, you can't start the DLC before you've done that.
When we think of building in games, it's usually a crafty-buildy gameplay style. You know, with floating, transparent blueprints of walls and objects that you can set up with a few clicks. I’m glad that From the Ashes doesn’t go that route. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it wouldn’t fit here. Instead, you have a Locator NPC who oversees the proper construction, while you just dictate what he should build. The game completely skips over the nitty-gritty of building with “a few days later” screens. So, if you were looking for that nitty-gritty experience, there will be some disappointment.
Instead, you’ll mostly be looking at the diegetic interface of an in-game ledger. It will show you what you can build and what resources you’ll need for it. Apart from a lot of coin, you’ll require stone, coal, grain, and livestock. You can acquire all of these resources from other cities or villages. Stone will set you back a one-off payment of a few thousand, whereas the other resources will require paltry upkeep. You’ll also get to make some decisions, whether to build a butcher shop or a bakery, a guardhouse or stables. Since Pribyslavitz is not a proper city, you can’t have everything. Your decisions will impact how much coin your village will make once it’s productive.
One of my favorite parts in the base game was the quest “Siege,” which involved the complicated process of building a trebuchet. From the Ashes is similar to “Siege” in some ways. As Henry, you become the newly appointed Bailiff of Pribyslavitz. Not only you get to decide what to build, but you also get to recruit new citizens for important positions. That’s where the expansion gets more interesting because it’s not just about building and securing resources. It’s also about the people who will live in your new village. These people will be NPCs you’ve met along the way during the main storyline.
As it happens with open world RPGs of this magnitude, I found that I missed several side quests during my playthrough of the base game. Some of those quests involved those NPCs that I was now looking to recruit for my village. It’s cool how seamlessly the DLC meshes with the base game in that sense. It’s not something they just tacked on top of it. It integrates with the base content in ways that I found quite interesting and reactive. Not just by allowing you to go back and complete quests that you missed, but also showing how the NPCs react to your new circumstances.
You could just complete the buildings and leave it at that. You don't even have to recruit the NPCs to come to your village, that’s just an unmarked quest. They will bring you some extra income, and there are some other interactions involved. An example I experienced is that when I brought some of my “mates” Matthew and Fritz to the village, they started drinking and brawling in the tavern. As the Bailiff I had to sit in judgment of them in the village square, telling them to get their act together. I’m hoping there will be other interactions like that as the NPCs settle down in the village.
The conclusion is a bit of a letdown. One major problem I noticed is that, though the purpose of the village is to relocate the Skalitz refugees out of Rattay, that never actually happens. I did get to invite a couple of them to work there, but that’s it. Even many days after I finished building everything, I still saw most of the refugees living in tents and begging in the streets of Rattay. That was really anticlimactic, and I hope it gets patched as the final DLC drops in the next months. It just breaks the immersion, especially since Pribyslavitz changes radically from run-down backwoods ruins to a bustling village in a few days. The same should happen gradually with Rattay as the refugees leave to settle there.
And when all is said and done, you’ll be back to square one. Your village will be making more coin than you’ll know what to do with, and there is no other money sink except repairing your gear once in a while. From the Ashes is a decent piece of extra content, but it kind of falls short in that sense. It gives you something extra to do, and it might lead you to some quests you missed, which is great. The reactivity with certain NPCs is also a nice touch, but probably not enough to make it worth the price tag. It’s definitely worth it in a bundle, provided of course you really enjoyed the base game in spite of its flaws.
TechRaptor reviewed Kingdom Come: Deliverance - From the Ashes 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.
From the Ashes meshes well with the base game, and it might help you discover some overlooked side quests. The village building and management is interesting, but ultimately superficial. The conclusion feels somewhat anticlimactic.
- Good Integration With Base Game
- Some Interesting NPC Reactivity
- Anticlimactic Conclusion
- Can't Sink The Money Sink