King’s Quest has been around for years, decades in fact, but after something of a hiatus, it’s back now and being offered in episodic format. Said format is the most disappointing thing about the new title as it means that one can’t simply play it in its entirety right now. Not to spoil the rule, but to be up front about it, this first episode is wonderful.
Titled simply, King’s Quest, the game features an elderly King Graham telling his granddaughter Gwendolyn about an adventure from his younger days. In fact, in this first episode he opens by telling the story of his first visit to Daventry, where he would later become king. At this point, however, he isn’t even a knight, he’s just Graham and he joins a competition to become a knight of Daventry.
It is a puzzle game where you grab everything you can, touch everything you can, talk to everyone you can, and go everywhere you can knowing that eventually all items will be required, every area will have to be explored, and no extraneous characters exist. Put another way, gameplay itself follows in the footsteps of the old LucasArts games and some of the modern day Telltale stuff.
The challenge with such a game is to make these interactions interesting and enjoyable. Too many puzzle games make them tedious, offering long and drawn out explanations for everything, too much stuff to have to get, and too large an area to have to traverse.
This first episode of the new King’s Quest, “A Knight to Remember,” deftly avoids this pitfall. The old King (and Gwendolyn) are both hysterical in telling (and listening to) the tale, young Graham is funny as well, and just about every NPC Graham encounters has something distinctive and different going on. It is a joy to play.
It is also incredibly beautiful to look at. The animation here, whether background or foreground, is utterly beautiful. Voice actors include Christopher Lloyd and Wallace Shawn and they deliver their lines with a sort of glee that fits right into the humorous ethos of the episode.
As with all these sorts of episodic releases, the ultimate question of whether the game is worth one’s time and money cannot be answered until all the episodes are released (five are planned here plus an epilogue). However, if the same level of quality is maintained in future episodes, King’s Quest is going to prove to be an absolute must-have game. This first episode is nothing short of spectacular.
King’s Quest: Chapter 1 – A Knight to Remember 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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