Okay, rebuilding a town in the From the Ashes DLC of Kingdom Come: Deliverance is more involved that I initially thought. Not to mention the Hardcore Mode. But Warhorse Studios is the company that's built the most realistic medieval-life simulator I've ever seen in a video game, so perhaps I should stop acting surprised.
First, the free Hardcore Mode is out now. They didn't just make the bad guys have bigger weapons and thicker armor. That's not what Kingdom Come is about. Instead, Hardcore Mode strips your HUD down further. For explorers like me, my eyes get wide and dreamy when I see that they've removed your pip marker on the map and they've removed the N, S, E, W points on the compass. Guess it's time to learn to read the sun's position in the sky! And when it comes to fights, you no longer have the five-pointed star to guide your strikes. That should make combat harder without artificially buffing your opponents. Also, you have to pick anywhere from two to nine negative perks at the start of your playthrough. There's claustrophobia, which debuffs you when you slide the visor down on a metal helm. There's hemophilia, which means you bleed out faster if you get a nasty cut. The most entertaining one, I think, is the sleepwalker perk, where you sometimes just wake up in an area that you most certainly didn't go to sleep in. Combine that perk with the fact that you don't have a pip marker on the map anymore and you're in for some good times learning the lay of the land. Kingdom Come might not be a "suffer sim" like Darkest Dungeon, but adding up all those negs is certainly a step in that direction.
Rebuilding the previously ruined town of Pribyslawitz, though, gets rather involved, and I love it. It's got a mission-based structure, so there's context for you becoming bailiff of the town. That means you're calling the shots, but you're not running the whole show, if that makes sense; you're not a ruler of that caliber. It looks like you get to decide what gets built, though I'm not 100 percent sure if you decide where. Like, you gotta build your lumber mill down by the water, I'd think, to perhaps take advantage of water wheel, or whatever, I don't know, my last name's not miller and I don't have a degree in medieval studies. As a more extreme example, I don't think you'll be able to, say, wipe the main tower and then put a lumber mill at the top of the hill. Also, since you're the bailiff, you get to judge grievances brought before you by your freshly minted citizens. You might judge one person favorably and have the other person leave town. Maybe it nets you a discount on sweet rolls with the baker on your next visit, though.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance – Hardcore Mode is out now. From the Ashes DLC is due sometime next month in July. Which is coming up here pretty quick for not having a solid launch date nailed down, in case Warhorse Studios wasn't aware.