King’s Quest Chapter 1: A Knight to Remember – Review
Follow Genre: episodic puzzle adventure game
Developer: The Odd Gentlemen
Publisher: Sierra
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

King’s Quest Chapter 1: A Knight to Remember – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Fantastic art, superb voice-acting, great writing, lots of ways to solve a problem, humour
Bad: Switches to the framing story can feel like a drag
User Score
10.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)

King’s Quest has been a leading influence in the adventure game genre since the early 1980s. The series went on until 1998 when the eight and final chapter was released for PC. Now, 17 years later, The Odd Gentlemen and Sierra bring out a whole new Daventry to explore in an episodic frame story. Set to bring five chapters (and an epilogue for those owning the Complete Edition), the very first episode, titled ‘A Knight to Remember’, gives us a glimpse into King Graham’s younger years.

Kings Quest Chapter 1 title

Story

The overall story of this re-imagining of King’s Quest follows an elderly King Graham as he shares the many adventures he has had during his life with his lively granddaughter, Gwendolyn. While the royal is on his sickbed, his witty storytelling draws both the young girl and the player into a world full of wonder.

The first adventure, which serves as an introduction, sees young knight Graham in his quest into a dragon’s lair in search for a magical mirror. While it balances humour and storytelling quite well, it is very short and can easily confuse the player into thinking the game is over by the end of this tiny adventure. Luckily, Gwendolyn’s own little competitiveness with her cousin Gart prompts her granddad to share a lengthier, fleshier and even funnier narrative. In this adventure, his teen self sets out to become a knight for Daventry. However, to do this he has to beat four seasoned warriors in the Knight Tournament either by kindness, trickery or bravery.

Kings Quest Chapter 1 conversation

Whatever choices young Graham made during these tales, has a direct effect on young Gwendolyn and how she reacts to the world around her. The clever part of King’s Quest however is that it is done in such a subtle way that you, the player, probably will only notice Gwendolyn can have different reactions when you try out different things in game or discuss the game with players that picked other options.

The game is very focused on its narration and thus makes you feel as if you are guiding a cartoon along. The many puns, absurd situations and hilarious reactions you can pick (if you so dare at least) make this title perfect for anyone with a taste for clever humour.

Kings Quest Chapter 1 Consequences

Graphics

The graphics for King’s Quest look absolutely amazing. While everything is 3D, the game is made to look like a 2D cartoon, which also includes the atmosphere linked to them. This style is of course nothing new, but works perfectly for this scene-heavy title. The hand painted sceneries frequently splatter off the screen, leaving you near breathless while character design is very lively and even surprising at times. The animation of Graham and the different NPCs are very fluid. For example, facial expressions and postures change in very natural, instinctive ways depending on context without looking as if they ‘jump’ from one setting to the next. This doesn’t only make King’s Quest look very polished, it also allows for a bigger investment of the player into the very varied cast.

King’s Quest works with fixed camera angles. As you get full control over Graham’s movements, the camera can feel rather restrictive at times, especially at the beginning of the chapter when you are still trying to figure things out. Luckily, you quickly get used to it and the angles generally stop bugging you midway the first adventure. We however did encounter one camera bug within the whole title which had us bewildered for a couple of seconds. Luckily running far enough out of the scene did correct everything.

Kings Quest Chapter 1 landscape

Sound

As King’s Quest looks and feels like a cartoon adventure guided by the player, sound is a very important aspect. The soundtrack itself is very subtle as it is there to simply accompany every scene by providing the right ambience. Sound effects and voice-acting however are points that make this game. They are just perfect and their use will surprise you throughout the game if you are willing to pause and listen. Ambient conversations comprise a great part of what makes the storytelling so strong, and add an incredible amount to its more subtle humour. For example, we found ourselves listening in to a handful of stories told by one of the other knights-to-be to others of the knighthood. The situation and the way the NPCs held themselves had us grinning from ear to ear from start to finish, all of which we have to thank the marvellous writing and voice-acting for.

Speaking of actors, King’s Quest is full of big names. Christopher Lloyd, best known for his roles as Doc Brown in Back to the Future, brings old king Graham marvellously to life while Josh Keaton infuses young Graham with enough spirit and personality to allow the character to leave a lasting impression. We personally especially enjoyed Jean Gilpin and Richard White as the voices of respectively Pillare and Whisper.

Kings Quest Chapter 1 Kyle and Larry

Gameplay

King’s Quest is an episodic puzzle adventure game with easy controls and lots of storytelling. In the game, you take control of young Graham as he either enters the Dragon’s den to find a lost treasure or relives the day in which he officially became a knight for Daventry. You start off the game without a proper clue of who you are yet and what you are supposed to be doing. Luckily, the path to walk is pretty straight forward. The commentary provided by older Graham and Gwendolyn provides enough information to get the picture before the adventure cuts to the framing story of the King and his granddaughter.

During the recounting of Graham’s past, you move the protagonist around using your keyboard or controller, depending on your preference. For keyboard this means WASD-keys for movement, TAB to access inventory, Spacebar to interact with something and Escape to pause the game. Keyboard users also control choices and the aiming of arrows with their mouse. All in all, most of it is very instinctive and easy to learn.

Kings Quest Chapter 1 Inventory

Once you get through the introductory Dragon’s den, which teaches general movement and eases the player into the puzzling, choice-making and action aspects of the game, King’s Quest falls into a lengthy exposition on young Gwendolyn and her grandfather. During these scenes, very little can be done by the player besides following what is happening. When the option is given, you also get to help elderly Graham to answer one of the girl’s questions. After this, the actual adventure for the chapter finally starts. We do have to mention here that even though the storytelling in between the playable sequences is great, the long scenes with old King Graham do feel a little too long a pause.

In the actual story for ‘A Knight to Remember’, the different available gameplay elements all get their fair share of coverage. As young Graham needs to get past obstacles to be able to attend in the Knight Tournament in order to be able to become a knight for Daventry, you come across a wide set of puzzles to solve. The fun part about this new King’s Quest title, is that most problems actually seem to have various solutions. This means that puzzles can feel easier than they could have been, simply because the game takes a more intuitive approach to problem solving than most 90s point-and-click adventure games did. They say all roads lead to Rome and with King’s Quest it’s safe to say most certainly do.

Kings Quest Chapter 1 Dragon Bait

While exploring and trying to find ways to get around your problems take up most of your time, the few action sequences are a nice touch. Whether you are firing your bow, jumping pillars, climbing walls or hiding from a massive dragon, the only pressure you ever feel comes from time restrictions. These add a good amount of welcome (but otherwise lacking) adrenaline rushes. During these action scenes, a wrong move can easily lead to your death. Luckily, thanks to the autosave function and the fact Graham obviously survived all ordeals, the game allows for a quick continue whenever something goes wrong. King’s Quest also introduces rounds of extra chances whenever battles against other knights-to-be are failing as some sort of automated continue. While it is a nice gesture, this strategy however does diminish the overall storytelling a bit. Nobody, not even Graham, can be ‘that’ lucky…

Kings Quest Chapter 1 Result

Conclusion

King’s Quest’s Chapter 1: A Knight to Remember is a nice first part to the re-imagined classic series. It already manages to bring various gameplay elements neatly together with high quality art and story-writing. As you get the feeling of being part of a cartoon and your kids can easily help you figure out solutions for your problems, the game fulfils its family-friendly promise with flying colours. Though the jumping between the adventures and the framing story do stump the flow of the narrative a bit, the many hidden gems within the fairytale location of Daventry make up for most of it. If you are looking for a fun, well made story you can engross yourself in in a casual manner, then a Knight to Remember will be right up your ally. However, if punny replies don’t make you grin or Monty Python doesn’t even make you chuckle, you might want to steer way clear. But if you ask us, A Knight to Remember is definitely a great start to hopefully an even better series.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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King's Quest Chapter 1: A Knight to Remember – Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

1 Comment

  1. […] Pass are available in the Playstation Store, Xbox Games Store and on Steam. The first chapter, A Knight to Remember, is also free to download on Playstation 4 throughout […]

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