King’s Quest – Chapter 1: A Knight to Remember Review

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Released: July 28th, 2015
Developer: The Odd Gentlemen
Publisher: Sierra Entertainment

Genre: Adventure

Reviewer’s Note: I played this game on a PlayStation 4. There may be difference between versions.

The classic King’s Quest series set the groundwork for a lot of adventure games, but hasn’t seen a new entry in a while. With episodic games really on the rise, Sierra looks to The Odd Gentlemen to bring back the series in an updated and episodic format. Does the new format work for the classic series, or should this quest end?

Story

King’s Quest features old king Graham retelling the stories of how he became king to his granddaughter. This first chapter mostly focuses on how he became a knight, and the competition he beat to get there. In this episode Graham has to win three contests against three different knights, which will allow him to be invited to the King’s court. He has to prove he has the strength, speed, and wit of a knight. Problem is that he only really has the brains and needs to figure out other ways to complete the challenges.

I'm going to poke the fuck out of a sleeping dragon

I’m going to poke the fuck out of a sleeping dragon

Graham’s story is a funny tale, and A Knight to Remember is filled with more than enough interesting characters, puns, situations, and comedy to make me interested enough to tune in for the second episode. While the comedy is really what shines above all else, I was surprised to see myself wrapped into the drama as well. Several characters made me care for the world of King’s Quest, and I’m actually excited for episode two to see where the story goes rather than for another barrage of endless, if humorous, puns.

Presentation

A Knight to Remember manages to look decent enough that I never had a problem with its visual presentation. The character models are sometimes a little stiff in cutscenes, but its ignorable enough that I never felt like I was out of the moment. A simple UI helps keep track of everything, and the locations are nice enough that I enjoyed seeing everything without getting tired of it. Where it really shines, however, was in its rather amazing voice acting. Featuring the likes of Christopher Lloyd, Wallace Shawn, Josh Keaton, and Zelda Williams, each voice actor seems to be fully committed to their role and able to give very strong performances.

Gameplay

Those going into A Knight to Remember expecting it to play like one of Telltale’s recent episodic games will probably be surprised to see that it’s much closer to an actual adventure game. I didn’t just travel from scene to scene, make a couple of dialogue choices, and move on. Instead I had to actually solve puzzles along the way. They started out easy enough, taking simple environmental clues and making some easy choices, but eventually I had to dig around into my inventory and make logical guesses to solve rather complex puzzles. Some puzzles can even kill Graham, though A Knight to Remember does take a note from recent adventure games to just have checkpoints to make this a mostly non-issue.

That's cool and all, but I can 360NoScope in Call of Duty

That’s cool and all, but I can 360NoScope in Call of Duty

That said, there are still conversations where what you say will change how the game flows. Graham will sometimes have to talk his way out of or into situations and his responses will make friends or enemies who seem like they will help or hinder him in future episodes. It’s not nearly as in-depth as a Telltale game and I got the impression that several characters were going to end up as my friend or enemy no matter what I said, but it’s still there.

Puzzles and conversations sometimes have several ways to go through them, and the game puts some emphasis on Graham choosing to solve them with one of three things: his brawn, his brain, or his heart. This seems to be a big theme of the coming episodes and it looks like it’ll change how Graham acts once he gets to the throne. For A Knight to Remember, though, all it really does is change a few comments characters make.

The game occasionally breaks up the puzzles with a few different things. A couple of times the game turned into an on-rails shooter, with Graham using his bow to fight off a hoard of goblins, or drive back a deadly dragon. There’s a few quick time event action scenes as well, and also a race where Graham must ride his trusty rabbit and avoid obstacles. It’s there to provide the occasional break from puzzles, and they work well enough and are all fun. There were no particularly bad mini-games present in A Knight to Remember.

Those tiny legs don't look good for running

Those tiny legs don’t look good for running

Conclusion

A Knight to Remember successfully brings back King’s Quest to a position worthy of the throne. With a great opening episode story that has me interested in the rest of the game, some fantastic voice work, and some really fun gameplay, this is not a game that should be missed by fans of adventure games. A Knight to Remember is a great new start to a classic series.

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