Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition (iOS) Review

By Chris Leebody 21.08.2015

Review for Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition on iOS

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers came from the golden time of point-and-click adventures in the 90s and from legendary publisher Sierra, presenting a sprawling New Orleans and its eclectic cast of mysterious and interesting characters, as well as a general macabre that punctuated the whole adventure. Rather than laugh-out-loud humour, murder and a foreboding tone are the order of the day here. 20 years later the title was given a fresh coat of paint, including 3D character models and backgrounds, and has made its way to iOS and Android. It's an exciting time for the mobile market, with more serious, full-fledged adventure games such as this now possible. The title comes as both the complete experience as well as the ability to purchase several episode chapters, or days, individually. Is this a worthy port of the recently updated PC version? Uncover the evidence to find out.

What is truly great about Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition is the amount of variety in the tone of the adventure. There's a large helping of murder, a dash of supernaturalism, and then a sprinkling of religion, served with a side helping of great New Orleans and Southern atmosphere. It isn't a tone that's regularly explored in gaming, and it's always a good thing to get a fresh experience.

The main plot revolves around the so called 'voodoo murders,' which tie into mysterious dreams protagonist Gabriel Knight has been experiencing. There's a recognisable True Detective sort of vibe, and it's a testament to the original developers for cracking this first, balancing superstitious undertones alongside a relatable real crime story. The crime scene that Gabriel visits soon unravels into a sprawling murder mystery that does a great job of adding character to Gabriel and giving what could easily have been a blank canvas a bit of depth. The cast of characters he meets are equally interesting, if not a little clichéd.

New Orleans is also a beautiful and authentic setting. It's a wonderful locale for the adventure, with a great hand-drawn feel that still captures the love of the original even in this high-resolution update. The architecture is typical of southern USA, with an old world mind-set. There's a great deal of character brought out in each scene the player navigates, with lots of little touches and additions, for example the paintings and monuments hanging from the walls or the creepy graveyard.

Screenshot for Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition on iOS

Anyone who has played a point-and-click adventure knows what to expect from the gameplay, and it doesn't reinvent the wheel in terms of collecting items and combinations of them together in order to advance the adventure (and solve what are sometimes challenging puzzles). It's fortunate this updated version comes with a hint system, as there are a number of occasions even near the beginning in which the solution is not altogether clear. Speaking of unclear, the iOS version in particular does suffer from the sheer volume of objects in each scene to interact with, and it's frustrating how easy it is to accidently exit the scene and experience a loading screen when trying to simply examine something. It is however pleasing how much of an open world this is, including a day and night setting and a system that separates the game into days that each have their own portion of story, and gives a logical sense of rhythm and variety to the whole experience.

Although it's impressive on this portable tablet version to have such an extensive 3D graphics engine and fully soundtracked experience, it's immensely disappointing that it was not possible to clean up the voice-cast from the original release. Fans of the original title will find it very hard to adjust to a cast that simply cannot match up to an all-star cast. In fact the new release contains one of the most disappointing facets, namely the quality of the character voices. The tone of most of the characters falls very generously into the B-Movie category, and the delivery of most of the lines falls flat or downright misses the mark altogether, entering into 'so bad it's good' territory. This of course does have its charm; to be honest, the whole experience already carries a sort of budget made for TV charm. However, the dialogue is also quite bad, and is badly exposed here. This wouldn't be what you would consider one of the best-written point-and-click adventures out there.

Despite this, the graphical quality deserves praise. It's certainly one of the more impressive-looking titles on iOS and it uses a great blend of both 3D and more traditional hand-painted 2D sets. The art style also fits in seamlessly with the locales, and the characters are all memorable when they need to be, but also retain a good deal of realism, which is much needed in an experience that's supposed to be grounded in a gritty, realistic world. Gabriel himself has a down-to-earth everyman feel about him as the well-read and charismatic southern gentleman. Special mention has to go to the stark and striking cut-scenes that are dotted throughout the adventure, which have a sort of comic book style to them and are filled with superstition and general spookiness.

Screenshot for Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

As a revamp there's not much to fault here. Nearly everything has been improved upon from the original experience more than 20 years ago. It's a memorable story that has much more darkness than many other titles are willing to provide. It also caters to those who like a little more mystery to their adventures. It's disappointing that the quality of the voice-acting makes it very cheesy, and the dialogue has a wide range from fine to poor. It's also a great experience on a tablet or mobile device. For the most part the UI copes, however there is the odd time the limitations of touch screens are laid bare for a game with its heart so firmly lodged in the confines of a mouse. For the price on the app market, it's hard to go wrong here, and having portability on a title like this is a never-ending source of delight.

Developer

Pinkerton Road Studio

Publisher

Pinkerton Road Studio

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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   

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