As you may recall, this reviewer quite enjoyed the first episode of the new King’s Quest game, A Knight to Remember. If not, definitely read that review because so much of what is written below references it.
The second episode, which released the second full week in December, is entitled Rubble Without a Cause. It is, generally speaking, inferior to its predecessor.
This new adventure finds our hero, Graham, and the townspeople of Daventry kidnapped by goblins. For reasons that are wholly inexplicable, Graham is allowed to wander around the prison and work out what to do whilst the rest of the townspeople remain locked behind bars.
Rubble Without a Cause introduces a time element which the first episode didn’t see. On a daily basis—days end by the player choosing to have Graham sleep—Graham must decide which townsperson needs to be fed. Not feeding someone for a prolonged period results in their apparent death. Graham himself is also weak and needs food to get stronger in order to be able to complete tasks.
An interesting mechanic, this need to feed folks is one that is employed poorly. While the player is reminded a few times that there are moments where people can’t be saved, King’s Quest isn’t big on providing instructions so it’s all too easy for a player to find themselves in a situation where folks have to die in order to have the game progress simply because the rules weren’t clear early on.
It is as though the developers are begging us to play the episode over and over again until we do better. While perfection is a nice goal, it feel like we are being tricked into playing again to attain that perfection and at that point, this reviewer loses interest.
While the graphics in this episode retain the beautiful look of the previous one, there are technical glitches in the presentation. Sometimes the player will find Graham standing on a box instead of looking into it, or a chef’s hat floating in mid-air several feet away from the goblin on whose head it belongs.
Finally, Rubble Without a Cause is a good deal shorter, and smaller, than its predecessor. The player is stuck in one location, which is fine, but there just aren’t that many puzzles along the way.
Some of the above issues with this new entry may be related to the amount of time between episodes. A Knight to Remember released this past summer, and four months is a long time to wait for the next portion of an episodic adventure. To then be treated to glitchy graphics, a minimal number of puzzles, and the distinct feeling that the game is begging the player to attempt the episode over and over again is disappointing.
To be fair, this is absolutely an acceptable entry into the series, but “absolutely acceptable” is a big letdown after A Knight to Remember.
King’s Quest: Chapter 2 – Rubble Without a Cause is rated E10+ (Everyone 10+) by the ESRB for Fantasy Violence. This game can also be found on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Windows PC.
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