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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

King's Quest Chapter 1: A Knight to Remember Review!!

This is a review of a game a briefly talked about in my previous post. Now that I have bought the Complete edition of the 2015 King's Quest edition (King's Quest 2015 Edition Complete Edition!? EDITION-CEPTION!?). And as this game is very story focused there will be SPOILERS. I will attempt to keep the ending of Chapter 1 unspoiled but I cannot say the same for the rest of the story. And it's a really good story as well. Of course if you do not want spoilers but still want to read the review just scroll all the way to the bottom where you will find a rating out of 10 and a list of the pros/cons of the game. Also keep in mind I will review chapter 2: Rubble Without a Cause as soon as it is available.

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For those of you who have not read the "Oh hey, shout out to this game I found while window shopping at GameStop since I have nothing better to do with my time" post, King's Quest is a re-imagining of another game, also called King's Quest, that was released in 1983.

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The original King's Quest was a Point-and-Click Adventure game that revolutionized gaming. Sadly people don't remember King's Quest as it did not leave a cultural impact. But it was, at the time, the most technologically advanced game ever made. The first game to introduce depth perception in addition to a fully animated protagonist.

King's Quest 2015 is a not a reboot but rather a re-imagining of the original game. The classic game is still canon, but just changed to fit ye modern times.

First thing to note about 2015 King's Quest is how they set up the story. An old man, named Graham is telling the entire game in bedtime story form to his granddaughter, Gwendolyn. You play as the young version of Graham, but the narrator is the old version of Graham.

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Both Grahams. Young and Old,

The game starts with Old Graham retelling a modernized version of the most iconic scene in the original King's Quest game. A twenty something year old Graham is sent on a quest by King Edward (I guess you could call it a KING'S QUEST!?) to retrieve his stolen mirror. The mirror is magical, as it can show you the future. And expose breadcrumbs tangled within Old Graham's beard. But back to the story!

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The mirror has been thrown down a well.

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At the bottom of said well is a cave.

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Inside the cave is a one eyed Dragon (how said dragon lost his left eye is explained later on in the story). And the Dragon is guarding the mirror.

Oh and in the cave there are literally just random beds everywhere (lazily piled up in some places, hanging from the cave ceiling in others, etc). Yeah. Something you should know about this game is that it does not take itself seriously. At ALL. Except once, but very late into the chapter.

At the end of this mission comes a pretty epic scene. After narrowly escaping the Dragon, Graham returns to the well entrance. There, he is cornered by the Dragon, who took a shortcut to the exit. Graham is armed with a bow, and only a single arrow. You can kill the Dragon with the arrow, Free the Dragon out of sympathy/kindness, or use your arrow to distract it by hitting a bell. I have beaten the chapter three times simply to know what would happen if I tried all the options. That is something I love about this game. It is by far the least linear game I have ever played (let's hope this strong point carries over to Chapters 2-5!).

After you make your choice, Old Graham and Gwendolyn have a chat about the logic Young Graham was using when he (or rather, the player) made that choice. No matter what choice you make Old Graham is still a good person

While I won't spoil all the other moments like this one, All the choices follow a theme of bravery (killing the dragon), cleverness (distracting the dragon with the bell), and finally, kindness (setting the dragon free).

Next Story Old Graham tells is the longer of the two (I am assuming each chapter will have a maximum of two stories). This story stars a much younger Young Graham (during the first story he is in his late twenties). This time Young Graham is around 17-19, and it is the story of how Graham became one of the greatest knights in the town called Daventry.

As the chapter mostly focuses on this story, I will avoid giving away too many details. Basically, Young Graham wants to enter the Knight Hopeful competition to become a Knight of King Edward's Royal Court.

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these are the other Knight Hopefuls Graham meets.
Left to Right: Achaka (he's foreign), Whisper (he's
self absorbed) Manny (he's clever) and Acorn (he's big
and tough).

But now let's get to gameplay. This is a puzzle game, which is a good thing for me since all my favorite games are puzzle games (Portal 2, Valiant Hearts: The Great War, technically Shadow of the Colossus if you count that as a puzzle game, etc).

The controls are VERY simple and easy to learn. You move Young Graham with the Left Joystick, interact with objects with the X button, and access your inventory with the Square button. Sometime's the game shifts to a first person perspective, and while in first person you can shoot with a bow and arrow(s) by pressing X. That's literally it.

Now as this is a puzzle game, something that will bug people is the nonsensical "video game logic" where the solution to a puzzle is something completely random. King's Quest is not that game. Every puzzle is filled with common sense. One early puzzle (albeit a easy one) is that Graham has to flick one of two levers to open a door. One lever will activate a trap. The fake switch has the skeleton of the previous victim on it. SO if you were a twenty something year old man from Daventry looking for a magic mirror and you had to flick one of two switches, you obviously avoid the lever covered in skeletons.

While most of the puzzles are easy enough, there are some VERY difficult puzzles (including the final boss of this chapter, which I will not spoil).

Oh, and I love the graphics in this game. It is almost like a painting and looks like a fairy tale. Which is a good thing since King's Quest is inspired by several well known fairy tales.

My only two gripes with King's Quest is that the loading screens are obnoxious. They are short but they are so frequent it makes travelling around Daventry a lot more tedious than it should be. plus there are random frame rate drops when Graham enters a new area, but the FPS return to normal after a about three seconds.

Overall I give Chapter 1: A Knight to Remember an 8/10. It's a fantastic game, and let's hope that Chapter 2 continues the quality that was seen here.

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