'King's Quest: Chapter 1 - A Knight To Remember' Gives Graham His Adventure Hat Back
August 17, 2015
If you say "King's Quest" to any respectable gamer of a certain age, it's likely that their eyes will light up, and they will begin to regale you with amazing tales of virtual adventures from their youth. Younger players probably won't have a clue what you're talking about.Anyone that even dabbled in the adventure games in the late 1980s and early 1990s were well aware of one of the pioneering franchises in the genre, King's Quest, and they will, undoubtedly, remember it fondly. The first game came on to the scene in 1984, and helped create this a type of graphical adventure game, as you played as a knight who set out to become king. Over time, the series evolved, and so did the genre, creating bigger, and more elaborate quests and puzzles, and as technology advanced, it allowed for more life to be injected into the world of Daventry. The series peaked in the 90s, and then faded away, to be resurrected only for nostalgic-leaning compilations, and when something needed to be compared to LucasArts games. More than a decade and a half have passed since the last original entry into the King's Quest series, but Sierra Entertainment and Activision Blizzard are bringing King Graham back in an episodic adventure that leads with the first chapter, A Knight to Remember. This opening episode takes players back to before the beloved monarch was even a knight in Daventry.
Who: Developer: The Odd Genntleman Publisher: Sierra/Activision
Longtime fans of King's Quest will recognize that the husband and wife development team of Ken and Roberta Williams are as synonymous with the series as King Graham. They are not the ones behind A Knight to Remember, and instead, a small, quirky studio out of California called The Odd Gentleman are at the helm of this latest entry into the series. You may be familiar with The Odd Gentleman's work if you remember the wonderful PC and Xbox Live Arcade game The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, which was studio founder, Matt Korba's graduate thesis. They have gone on to work on a few additional titles, including a rare PlayStation Home game, Slap Happy Sam, as well as an iPhone game, Flea Symphony. Most recently, they have also worked with literary-legend, Neil Gaiman, on a PC game, Wayward Manor. While The Odd Gentleman may be a young studio, they certainly appear to have the chops, as well as the sensibility, needed to tackle King's Quest. As an added boost of credibility, Sierra Entertainment are publishing the game, which should mean something to anyone that has ever played a King's Quest game in the past (even though this is a very different iteration of that company).
What: A Knight to Remember is the first chapter in Sierra's latest entry in the King's Quest franchise. The beloved series has been dormant for many years, but King Graham has returned with a new story and a new developer. In A Knight to Remember we get a glimpse of an aged king, recounting some of his amazing exploits to his equally adventurous granddaughter. This first chapter plays out over two parts: the first, a tutorial that pits Graham against a familiar dragon, and the second, which showcases his ascent to knighthood on his first day in Daventry. Anyone that is familiar with the series will recognize the puzzle-based gameplay, but they may be surprised to see a bit more action infused into the King's Quest formula. Fear not, there are still plenty of obtuse problems to solve by talking to this character, and finding that item, just be prepared to run, jump, and fire your bow a little bit more in A Knight to Remember than in some of the previous games. The Odd Gentleman have certainly brought a new feel to the series (along with a new look) that should be welcomed by today's audience.
Where: Activision Blizzard are known for bringing their games to as many platforms as possible, and King's Quest is no different. You can find the first chapter of this story on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PCs for $9.99. If you want to go all-in, you can pick up King's Quest: The Complete Collection for $39.99 now, and be ready for all of the chapters, as they're released in the coming months, plus get access to an exclusive epilogue chapter down the road.
Why: Anyone that has ever played a King's Quest will remember it: they aren't games games that are taken lightly by the people that enjoyed them. They create lasting memories, and live in a certain place in their fans' hearts. A Knight to Remember isn't one of those games ... yet, but it is off to a really good start. Everything about the opening chapter of this story, from the voice acting (that's Christopher Lloyd you're listening to), to the animation, are really well done, fun, and in the vein of the classic series. It's just not quite on the same level as its predecessors, but that's likely due to the fact that this is just the first slice of a larger game. The original King's Quest games were sizable experiences, and required a full on time and brainpower commitment. The way that A Knight to Remember introduced more action-based gameplay, and the fact that it was only a few hours long, may be holding it back from achieving true King's Quest-level commendations. However, as the opening chapter to a larger story, it certainly sets things up in the right manner, and lays some solid groundwork for things to come. It's best to look at A Knight to Remember as the first step in a five-step puzzle; there's a lot more that's going to happen before the big payoff.