by Josh Ennor
Christopher Lloyd must have a “thing” for the past.
When the KING’S QUEST reboot was first announced, the internet got a little crazy. I had never played any of the previous iterations, and it existed in my mind as little more than apparently an “old-school classic”. But after sitting down with it for a few hours. I now understand it’s appeal. Because this game is great.
Full disclosure: Sierra/Activision provided us with an early press copy of KING’S QUEST, for which we are truly thankful for!
KING’S QUEST is a five-part episodic adventure game from the developers The Odd Gentlemen, a re-imagining of the classic 1984 graphic adventure game that went on to become a classic much-loved series. You play as Graham, a budding, aspiring knight, reliving tales of his adventures through stories that he tells to his granddaughter, Gwendolyn. Only chapter 1 is currently available, with chapters 2-5 coming later throughout the year.
The gameplay is insanely simple, but no so much in a bad way. There is no tutorial, no real learning section of the game at all; You just get thrown into a scene and you go. I feel like this could be detrimental to some people if they’ve never ever played any video game before, but unless that is the (extremely unlikely) case, you press one button to examine (indicated by an eye, duh) and one button to interact (indicated by a hand, duh). So, it really comes to speak for itself as far as gameplay goes. There’s a lot of trial and error involved, as the narrator will seamlessly guide you along your journey, through a series of story cues such as “I knew I had to hide”, and so… you hide. The story is told from the perspective of the protagonist, Graham (mentioned above), many years after the events of the story. The game features a few “present day” moments which I feel may play a much larger role in the chapters to come. But regardless of where the game gets set, both worlds are cute, fun and so enticing that it does not matter. The actual content of the story can leave a little more to be desired, but it is early days for this series and I shall reserve judgement for once the entire story is out.
A huge fault I’ve had with this style of adventure game in the past has been the amount of “dialogue choices” that influence the game. There is definitely a time and place for these and they are often overdone. KING’S QUEST has them (surprise, surprise) and they are done no better than any other adventure games, however they are not used where they are not needed. A majority of player choices take place in the actual moment-to-moment gameplay, which is so cleverly designed that even players with no puzzle adventure background can feel clever in solving them. This, coupled with a brilliant level design (kudos to whoever worked on the level design, because it is masterful) that is not only clever and beautiful (in an artistic sense) makes for a really fantastic puzzle adventure game. On the topic of the visuals, the aesthetics of the game are spectacular. It gives off a BROTHERS: A TALE OF TWO SONS (only a much less grandeur scale) meets every Telltale game ever meets Disney’s Treasure Island sort of feel with its sprawling landscapes, and marvelous fixed camera angle perspectives, incredible cape physics and animation that would make the animators parents so proud.
It is often seen in episodic games, that the first episode of a game is always the best and the follow-ups are… sub-par (I’m looking at you, RESIDENT EVIL: REVELATIONS 2). But if The Odd Gentlemen manage to stick to the formula they have laid out in Chapter 1, I foresee no issues with the game as a whole.
TL;DR? KING’S QUEST: CHAPTER ONE – A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER is a wonderfully crafted puzzle adventure game. Even for those who, like me, would not call themselves fans in the first place. It has wonderfully crafted characters, cute, hilarious and believable dialogue and although the story leaves a little bit to be desired, it is still early days for this (what is shaping up to be an) incredible game series.
I’m giving this game a:
|Release Date:||Out now|
|Available from:||Steam: $9.99 USD
|Developed/Published by:||The Odd Gentlemen|