For years the King’s Quest franchise has inspired developers and gamers alike with its sense of adventure and puzzles. After more than eight entries, the series seemed to have died off following the last game in 1998, with fans wondering if it was the end for the adventures of Graham. The series is back though, and King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember is a wonderful return to form from Sierra and the Odd Gentlemen, bringing back a feeling of nostalgia and charm that has been absent in many modern games. With only a few slight flaws, Graham’s many tales to his daughter of his journey through Daventry is an experience many will enjoy.
The Odd Gentlemen decided to go back to the basics when crafting the story for King’s Quest, which turned out to be a very wise decision. A Knight to Remember is the first episode of five where Graham, now an old man in bed requiring care, shares his many tales with his granddaughter Gwendolyn, an enthusiastic girl ready to brave the wilds and take up a sword herself. It is through these memories that the player experiences Graham’s travels through Daventry, with a few kinks of course. Sometimes the story can change due to his memories and Gwendolyn’s appetite for something more exciting.
Gwendolyn is the catalyst for how the stories of Graham’s past are shaped, seeking counsel for her daily troubles, it is up to the player how they wish to proceed. How would you approach an upcoming duel with a fellow family member? While choice isn’t a detriment like in other episodic series, it can help guide the player along in their quest, leaving options open for different outcomes further down the line. King’s Quest is more about leading the player along a series of stories to glimpse into the world of Daventry, and witness how Graham became the man he is.
Along with his hilarious attempts to became a knight, Graham will encounter a colorful cast of characters that will help him rise to the occasion. Characters ranging from giant bridge trolls on strike to various knights with strange personalities, I don’t remember laughing along so much with a game in years. The world was charming every step of the way and I couldn’t help but admire the attention to detail that went into bringing Daventry to life, not just from its visuals but also to its amazing actors.
The charm of King’s Quest comes from its beautiful scenery, which was created using a painstaking hand painted process that compliments the Unreal Engine very well. From bustling forests to underground dungeons, and large castles in the distance, Daventry is a beautiful land. The world is further brought to life thanks to a talented list of voice actors who lend their voices to the unique set of characters Graham encounters: from Wallace Shawn as the upbeat intellectual knight Manny, to Zelda Williams as Amaya Blackstone, with even the wise narrating voice of Graham brought to life by Christopher Lloyd of Back to the Future.
The controls and gameplay are quite simple for King’s Quest, as it was in the original games in the 90s. Progression is made by exploring the world and finding items that can help Graham through many of his dire situations. Walking through many of the areas surrounding Daventry is required, and some backtracking will occur, which I found a little tedious when I realized an item or ingredient I needed was missing. Most of the sections that required action were solved using quick-time events or the use of switching objects found in Graham’s cape. When using his bow, the player is brought to a first-person screen, but its so simplistic that it requires almost little to no skill.
Just as its previous titles, King’s Quest is about exploration and puzzle-solving. Throughout the episode players will encounter a series of puzzles that will require a bit of problem solving, sometimes in the form of using items found back at the beginning. One example has players using a live badger to scare away several squirrels from a pumpkin so they can create a lantern to travel in dark caves. Most of these puzzles are very clever, and the lack of hand holding in a title like this is always a plus.
Ever since it was announced, Sierra has promised a revival of the King’s Quest series, and if the first episode is any indication on the direction they plan to go, then I am very excited. A Knight to Remember is a lovely step back into the past, while managing to move forward with its comedy and fantastical art style. This is the first of five episodes planned, including an epilogue if the season pass is purchased. I can’t wait to see what further adventures Graham has in store to tell Gwendolyn, especially if the voice work is as impressive as it was in the first episode. Its great to see the feathered cap back in action.
- Available On: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Published By: Sierra Entertainment
- Developed By: The Odd Gentlemen
- Genre: Adventure
- US Release Date: July 29th, 2015
- Reviewed On: PS4
- Quote: "A Knight to Remember is a lovely step back into the past, while managing to move forward with its comedy and fantastical art style."