Gamers of a certain vintage will no doubt fondly remember King’s Quest. Released back in 1984 by Sierra Entertainment, it was an adventure game in the classic sense of the genre, featuring endless puzzles designed to test the grey matter. Since the last installment, way back in 1998, there’s been many attempts to bring this beloved franchise back to life but all fell foul to various problems. In 2014 Activision handed the seemingly thankless task over to LA-based developers The Odd Gentlemen, which brings us to this version we have in front of of us today. Split into episodic content and described as a re-imagining of King’s Quest, rather than a reboot, have they succeeded in bringing the franchise back to life? I played the first episode, A Knight To Remember, to find out.
This 2015 version of King’s Quest is ostensibly delivered in the form of the an elderly and frail King Graham, voiced by Christopher Lloyd, regaling his granddaughter Gwendolyn with tales from his youth. You control the flashbacks of his younger days, with the sequences containing the older Graham being animated story sequences.
Gameplay comes in a variety of formats. You’ll spend time investigating the locales of Daventry, collecting items and solving puzzles. You’ll meet various characters during this, many of which you can talk with in Telltale-esque multiple choice conversations, and may give you certain tasks to complete, such as the baker who asks you to search for two ingredients to help bake a pie. Finally, there’s also some QTE elements, such as an early sequence being chased by a dragon while surfing down a river on a mattress (as one does), when you need to avoid his attacks with swift dodges and shooting down obstacles. All in all, it means the gameplay doesn’t feel stale at any point as it’s constantly being mixed up.
The choices you make throughout A Knight To Remember can have effects on the rest of the game, and notably to Gwendolyn. I particularly enjoyed how the concept of her grandfather telling her tales of how he acted in the past has a direct effect on how she acts in the present day, just how children are influenced by figures they respect.
Before starting A Knight To Remember I was concerned about how long the episode would be, having been burnt by the structure in the past. I was very pleased to find that it took me over 5 hours to play through the episode from start to finish, and thankfully not just due to a ridiculous difficulty level. While some of the puzzles do need somewhat of an old-school adventure game leap of faith to solve, the vast majority are a comfortable level of challenge. While it is possible to reach a fail state at some points, checkpoints seemed fair and well spaced out, plus it’s normally greeted with a witty conversation between Graham and Gwendolyn.
Presentation is superb in every aspect. The graphics are styled like a high quality animated movie, and environments are gorgeous throughout. The caves at the start are particularly beautiful, with waterfalls cascading through the area. Characters are distinctive and physically match their personalities, such as the preening Sir Whisper, with his giant proud chest and plume rising from his helmet.
Special mention must go to the script and voice acting, both of which are exemplary. Many times through the episode I found myself chuckling at a well delivered quip. The assembled cast are superb too, with Christopher Lloyd and Zelda Williams being too notable inclusions. The lines are well delivered, comic timing impeccable, and authentically delivered.
As I’ve hopefully been able to express throughout this review, I had a wonderful time with A Knight To Remember. The beautiful art style, well written story and brilliant voice acting kept me engrossed from the start of my playthrough right to the end, and I’m certainly looking forward to playing the second episode when released. A Knight To Remember has been an absolute joy to play. Long live the King.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 9/10 Format: Xbox One / PlayStation 4 / PC Release Date: Chapter One Out Now, Further Chapters TBC
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Kings Quest by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of three days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.