King's Quest: Chapter 1 - A Knight to Remember (PlayStation 4) Review

By David Lovato 07.10.2015

Review for King

King's Quest has an important role in the history of gaming. Hailing from the early 1980s, the games were among the first to feature things as simple (now, at least) as interactive graphics, point-and-click adventuring, and think-outside-the-box puzzle solving. With the industry seeing a rise in decision-based adventure/exploration titles like Life is Strange and the Telltale games, it's no surprise that King's Quest has been re-imagined for a new generation.

The opening moments of King's Quest are a little confusing, but on the whole do a fantastic job of hooking the player. It's not immediately clear who the character being controlled is or what he's doing, but then the narration comes in, and things unfold from there: Graham is the king of Daventry, but he wasn't always. He was once a clumsy, bumbling but mostly intelligent goofball. Graham in the present day is an old man narrating the story of how he became king to his granddaughter, Gwendolyn. The younger Graham players control is exploring a cave he's visited before for reasons that soon become apparent. After this, there is a series of exploration and puzzles culminating in an on-rails arrow-shooting mini-game. It's a fast-paced sequence and serves to highlight the game's gorgeous graphics: lighting and water look cartoon-like, animations are fluid, Graham is lanky and goofy and brings a lot of slapstick charm.

Unfortunately, the rest of A Knight to Remember doesn't keep pace with its opening. While the graphics and the overall charm remain intact (and both are commendable, especially the latter), the gameplay slows to a crawl. Graham doesn't walk quickly, and cutscenes can't be skipped, meaning a 30-second bit of dialogue that plays if Graham doesn't have the right item to progress the quest will play every single time players attempt to solve the issue at hand until it's solved. These add up quickly, especially with so many guess-and-check puzzles. Much of the game involves wandering the same few hallway-like paths, and while the needed item is almost always readily apparent, it's usually locked away by something—ropes, squirrels, whatever—leading to a Resident Evil-like "get this item to get this other item to get this other item" series of slowly wandering the kingdom of Daventry.

Screenshot for King's Quest: Chapter 1 - A Knight to Remember on PlayStation 4

Most of the quick time events are impossible to fail, and certain events switch to a first-person view so players can either search an area or shoot an arrow. If Graham needs to shoot an arrow with a rope into a tree branch, for example, it will immediately centre the cursor on the branch, so players need only press a button, something the developers call "one-button context". In theory it works, but in practice it falls on its face; the camera is almost always centred immediately on the goal in question. What's worse is the zone for looking around is usually quite small anyway, which is a shame. The developers have created a vivid, beautiful world, but they seem intent on not letting anyone actually see it.

Pacing issues aside, there's a lot to love about King's Quest. The characters are enjoyable, and most are brought to life by incredibly talented voice actors like Christopher Lloyd, Tom Kenny, and Wallace Shawn. Character designs are memorable and tend to relate to characters' personalities, and the world design in general feels visually similar to some of today's finest animated films (How to Train Your Dragon comes to mind). For all its off-the-wall comedy, there are also sentimental, touching moments, and players will be put through the same emotional rollercoaster as Graham on his quest to become King of Daventry.

Screenshot for King's Quest: Chapter 1 - A Knight to Remember on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

A Knight to Remember has some pacing problems, and the world, while quite beautiful, seems a little small. It also feels empty, though the characters that do appear are memorable and wonderfully designed. The gameplay moments that work do so wonderfully, but all too often it practically plays itself, relying on impossible-to-miss targets and quick time events. Most of these flaws are easily overlooked in the face of the overwhelming amount of charm the game has, from its visuals to its characters to the story going on (much of which can change based on players' actions). What replay value it has is dampened by how slow-moving Graham is and how cutscenes and bits of dialogue can't be skipped, but King's Quest begins a story anyone who plays it will want to follow through to the end.

Developer

The Odd Gentlemen

Publisher

Sierra Entertainment

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
hinchjoie, Ofisil

There are 2 members online at the moment.