King’s Quest Episode 1: A Knight to Remember
After many attempts it finally worked. King’s Quest has been remade. This time as an episodic story with five parts. Actually, remade is not the correct description. It’s more like the King’s Quest has been reinvented. The episodes are in canon with the rest of the series and therefore take place between the previous parts. King’s Quest promises to tell a hilarious, exciting and adventurous story over the next five episodes. I got to work on the first episode: A Knight to Remember.
Nostalgia with new flavors
As an old acquaintance of the series, it was a pleasure to return to the rich fantasy world of Daventry. The first thing you notice about the game is that it could have come straight from the storytelling fingers of Telltale Games. After some research, it turned out that Telltale Games would revive the series with Sierra in 2011. However, in 2013, it was announced that this collaboration would no longer be continued. When Activision wanted to give Sierra a boost, it also became clear that King’s Quest remake was going to happen, but in collaboration with The Odd Gentlemen. It’s good to see that The Odd Gentlemen looked at Telltale Games. King’s Quest has a nice art-style and the storytelling is excellent.
Episode 1 of King’s Quest is told from the perspective of an ancient King Graham. He tells his granddaughter about his childhood adventures on his way to kingship. Although my first King’s Quest experience came with King’s Quest VI, everything feels very familiar. The funny dialogues, the atmosphere and the characters. It gives famous players a feeling of nostalgia. Of course the controls are a big improvement. The Odd Gentlemen wanted to have a one-button gameplay. That means that you don’t have complicated controls, but you can really concentrate on the story. A nice addition is that you are also presented with choices this time. Unlike The Walking Dead, you can’t make wrong choices in King’s Quest. You can often choose from three options: courage, wisdom and compassion. This gives an extra dimension, because characters react differently to you based on which path you choose. Whether the choices will affect future episodes remains to be seen.
And that’s what would happen if I entered the left door
As mentioned earlier, the storytelling in this game is central. This also has a strong relationship to the gameplay. For example, if Graham has to walk over a log to cross a river, the second time your granddaughter will say she doesn’t need to hear that again. The next time you have to cross the log again, it will be skipped automatically. This makes the game much less slow. Even if you make a mistake as a player and Graham dies, there is a short dialogue that it could have turned out this way. This is often done funny and almost encourages you to make the choice to die.
Nowadays games cannot do without voice actors, including King’s Quest. This is where this game excels. The collection of voice actors is of a high level, who can deliver the dialogues with conviction and good timing. Christopher Lloyd (known from Back to the Future), Kevin Michael Richardson and Wallace Shawn, among others, lend their voices to the special characters.
Open world… Almost
The world of Daventry is, besides being filled with special characters and beautifully animated, also quite large. After the linear introduction you get the freedom to go where you want. You will sometimes have to solve a puzzle here and there to make a bridge, but often you can go on a journey of discovery. Speaking of puzzles, King’s Quest is of course an adventure game and puzzles are an essential part of it. You will have to find and combine different objects to solve the puzzles. The game doesn’t really give you any hints and some solutions seem illogical at first. Often after solving a puzzle you have a clear “oh yes” moment.
The puzzles can be challenging at times because of this, but if you understand the way of solving a bit, you will figure them out faster and faster. This is the only downside of the game. It could all be a little more challenging. The average playing time is around five hours, which is a great playing time for a first episode.
King’s Quest Episode 1: A Knight to Remember offers a good dose of humor, fun puzzles and a whole range of special characters. All this wrapped in a good storytelling makes this a game that will leave you longing for the next installment. Because the voice actors do a good job, the storyline comes into its own and the large amounts of puns come out well. The puzzles may be a bit more difficult, but they are certainly not too easy and you will have to get into the good unorthodox mindset of this adventure game. It is not yet known when episode 2 will be released, but I will definitely play it again.