From the moment I clicked install on Kingdom Come Deliverance’s first DLC, From the Ashes, I was faced with a moment of pause. I noticed that the file size was a mere 10 MB which could only mean one thing; the DLC was built into the game from it’s launch. This has become a major point of contingency over the years as DLC practices have become more and more deceptive and unpopular, however… it is important to keep in mind that the team over at Warhorse Studios is very small and potentially did not even have a say in this matter after publisher Deep Silver signed on. With that minor observation out of the way, let’s get into the review.
From the Ashes is going to require players to be at least 14 quests into the game which is near completion of the main story. I had 119 hours logged into Kingdom Come Deliverance at this point, so if you were hoping to being playing this add-on halfway through the campaign, you are out of luck. From The Ashes plays a lot like Fallout 4’s settlements in which it has you attempting to rebuild and maintain the town of Pribyslavitz. This is the place where you and your company raided through and ultimately took down Runt in one of the games most challenging duels. It is not going to be a simple process rebuilding this rubble into something worth visiting, so be prepared to have a lot of patience… and a lot of gold.
This expansion isn’t void of combat though, as players soon find out when you visit Sir Divish at Talmberg. Divish informs you that there are a group of bandits inhabiting the area of Pribyslavitz and that you must dispose of them before continuing your quest of rebuilding the lands. At this point in the game you should have a strong set of armor and weaponry, but I highly recommend repairing and stocking up on bandages before you set out to take on the bandits. Divish names you Bailiff (finally) after everything you’ve done for him thus far and you are sent on your way.
Unfortunately for fans of the combat system, the action doesn’t last long. The first couple of hours or so is rich with fighting off bandits and the remaining stragglers around the ruins of the forgotten town, but once you’ve disposed of all of the surrounding threats, From the Ashes takes a turn into what I can only describe as Sim City: Medieval edition. If you are not a fan of building and investing into shops and managing various workers in a small European town, then the majority of this expansion is going to feel more like a chore and less like an action RPG.
Things are not cheap in From the Ashes. You are going to need to have some serious coin already to even begin investing in the proper renovations that are needed to make this pile of ash worth inhabiting again. Players are sent from town to town with small fetch quest style missions that will reward you with the coin needed to begin building a better future for Pribyslavitz. This isn’t exactly a roller coaster of a time, but the investments and slow burn of the questline does have its purpose, and if you stick to the grind, you will be heavily compensated over time.
The town your building however will never be your own. It almost feels as though you are the mayor but not allowed to actually live within the city walls. I felt less like the town savior and more like an outside hand and city contractor. Sure, you get money back on your investments and it is rather fun to see the town build and grow over time, but it’s more of a Zoo Tycoon feel where you are viewing your progress from the outside, but hey–you can build beehives!
Aside from just building and renovating like a common contractor, as the bailiff you do have to settle disputes from time to time. Citizens will get into various squabbles and come running to you as the judge and jury. This does add a little bit of entertainment to the monotony of trying to raise money just to spend it, but the excitement of being the Jerry Springer of the town wears thin after the first few times you’re asked to settle a dispute.
There is unfortunately no option to build a home in Pribyslavitz. All of that hard work building up an amazing town for everyone to live in but yourself (come on!). When you are 120 hours into a game and the only real reward for building this town is to grow your coin purse, it makes you wonder if taking the time to do it is even worth it at all. I have all of the best armor, the best weapons and no real reason to keep buying anything else. The town doesn’t offer any special items or any shops that I can’t find elsewhere, so why bother? This almost feels like it should have been free instead of the $9.99 they asked for especially when you know it was in the game from the start. While it is satisfying to see a bustling city where nothing but rocks and bandits used to reside, it feels more like a time waster than a real reason to return to the world of Kingdom Come Deliverance.
Kingdom Come Deliverance and From the Ashes are both available now for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC. This review is based on a PS4 copy of the DLC provided by the publisher. Purchases are available here.