King's Quest: Chapter 1 - A Knight to Remember (PC) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 04.08.2015 3

Review for King

King's Quest is the reimagining of the original King's Quest series. The games were developed and published by Sierra Entertainment, which was newly revived in 2014 by its parent company Activision, after being absorbed in 2008. This new adventure is based on the original titles, but is set to reinvent and reinterpret events from the originals, such as the dragon in the well from King's Quest 1. The revival is also not in point-and-click format, and instead relies on a much more direct control scheme. Cubed3 uses every item on every object to come up with a verdict for Chapter 1 of King Graham's adventures.

For the premise of King's Quest: Chapter 1, King Graham is old and, for the most part, bedridden. His granddaughter has come to stay at Daventry Castle, and she likes to listen to his stories. These stories form the chapters that make up the game. This opening episode follows Graham as he first travels to Daventry to become a knight. It's here that Young Graham is introduced: a lanky teenager with a long cloak and a "Robin Hood" hat, who almost instantly befalls some misfortune after tumbling down a cliff. He also finds out that he missed the beginning of the tournament and thus he gets scolded by the guards.

The interactive story elements are very reminiscent of The Walking Dead by Telltale Games, although it has far less story-changing choices. Each conversation is usually followed up with a set of dialogue options, so that more information can be probed from the NPCs. Each scene is carefully scripted to correlate with some of the actions that might take place; for example, if Graham takes the bread from the bakers, it will bite him later when he has to apologise for not paying. This helps make King's Quest feel organic, as if it's actually keeping tabs on what's happening, rather than simply being a static entity.

Screenshot for King's Quest: Chapter 1 - A Knight to Remember on PC

Speaking of the script, all dialogue and events are well crafted. Everything is written in a way that really recaptures the feeling of King's Quest titles. The humour is all very slapstick and pun-based, which is presented in an almost Disney fashion, and harks back to the narration of the older games where puns were a staple, being frequently used in the death scenes. Each of Graham's opponents in the knights' tournament is really very interesting and shouldn't be taken at their original face value. As the chapter progresses, characters evolve into someone different, with almost all of them being extremely likeable. They also tend to react to events that take place (as mentioned before with the baker reacting to the stolen bread).

Puzzles presented involve a fair amount of thought and a small amount of using every item in a situation, just in case the solution is something random. The lack of handholding is something that really helps with the recapturing of the adventure game feeling, and it never detracts from the adventure, as the puzzles are either easy to solve or seem difficult because a stage was missed, such as gaining entry to the bridge troll meeting. In Chapter 1, the main challenges are those of strength, speed and wits. Each of these is very involving and requires a fair bit of planning. The preparations before the events generally involve talking to each of the characters in the game, finding items to open up new paths and forming temporary alliances with the other knights.

Screenshot for King's Quest: Chapter 1 - A Knight to Remember on PC

The presentation really nails the whole story book aesthetic. The backdrops, although static for the most part, are absolutely stunning, and the characters are designed fairly simply, but each is very unique and perfectly captures their persona. Graham himself is tall and skinny, with a fantastically wavy cloak and his trademark hat. His face is designed in such a way that any expressions he makes are instantly recognisable and very pronounced; this helps with removing any possible confusion in the tone of an event. The effects are a really cool mix of 2D and 3D; for example, the cauldron in the curio is rendered in 3D, but its bubbles are a colourful explosion of 2D animations that wouldn't look out of place in an older Disney film. The animations, interface, models and effects all combine to create a fantastical world full of wondrous things to find and interact with.

Voice acting, one of the key elements due to the persistent narration, is incredibly good. Even when there is the odd bit of cheese to a scripted line, the actors put a lot of character into their work, with plenty of emotion and power. No characters in A Knight to Remember speak in a muffled tone, and every word is as clear as day. When Graham is making friends with Acorn, one of the other knight hopefuls, it feels sincere when he apologises for the ridicule he puts Acorn through - it's just nice and believable. The way the Old King Graham tells his story is also great; even when his narration stumbles due to player error and a death scene, his excuses are funny. There are one or two scenes where each time the same action is undertaken, he says something different. The voice acting does its job perfectly, from presenting the story to simply gelling this fantasy world together.

Screenshot for King's Quest: Chapter 1 - A Knight to Remember on PC

Audio design is of high quality, with clear and concise sound effects that depict whether an action has taken place. The music is excellent and is used to highlight and tie together what is happening on screen. The dragon chase has some of the best use of visual effects, action based gameplay and character relations, translating into one of the most epic moments in King's Quest. The tone really "makes" this game.

This is a perfect modern reimagining of a series that is fondly remembered from the era of adventure games, capturing the classic feeling that no other titles have for a long time. King's Quest is made to an excellent quality, but it isn't exempt from the very occasional bug; during the play through for this review, one single glitch was encountered during the test of strength, where pulling on the rope during the second phase did nothing, which, unfortunately, was a game breaker. Thankfully, the auto-save system is very efficient and it was a simple case of quitting to the main menu then loading the game again.

Screenshot for King's Quest: Chapter 1 - A Knight to Remember on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

King's Quest: A Knight to Remember is a great start to Sierra's new take on the series that provides a more than ample introduction to Graham, Daventry and the lore of the world. Battle a dragon, challenge brave knights and drink up the story book atmosphere, while enjoying the start of Graham's adventures. The whole game is a triumph of revival, and it will be very interesting to see what the following chapters have to show!

Developer

The Odd Gentlemen

Publisher

Sierra Entertainment

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Been waiting for this and I'm happy that it's actually very good.

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

How long was this?

It took me between six and seven hours. Mostly because I got stuck on one of the puzzles. XD

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