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King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember – Video Game Review

King's Quest - A Knight To Remember (cover)King’s Quest is an episodic adventure game, heavy on story, featuring puzzles and challenges along the way. It’s a reimagining from developer The Odd Gentlemen (published under Sierra) of the original King’s Quest series created by Roberta Williams in the 80s. While most of the game’s content is designed to fit into the gaps and untold stories of the previous games, there are some aspects that have been reimagined or told a little differently. No knowledge of the original game series is needed to understand or enjoy this new game – I haven’t played any of the old games myself, so I will be reviewing this entirely as a newcomer.

A Knight to Remember is the first chapter in this new King’s Quest saga. The story focuses on the hopeful young Graham, an energetic, often clumsy but well-meaning character who has just arrived in the kingdom of Daventry, hoping to become one of the king’s new knights. This is told in a framing story in which an old Graham, now king, relates the adventures of his youth to his granddaughter Gwendolyn. This is used cleverly, both to reveal certain facts when they will have the biggest emotional impact on the player, and to re-frame how the player themselves sees events that they have just played through. It’s also fun to see Graham’s youthful determination and eagerness reflected in his granddaughter, and how his story helps affect to her own choices.

King's Quest - A Knight To Remember (screenshot 2)

Like many of these old adventure games, the focus of the game is on walking around the world, talking to characters and collecting items that will help with your quest. There are also puzzles and challenges along the way, and the occasional ‘on-rails’ action scene where the player needs to press specific buttons or aim an arrow in order to hit targets or get past obstacles. Different options can be selected in dialogue, and the player can make choices and solve problems in different ways, usually picking one of three paths: bravery, wisdom or compassion. There is therefore an element of roleplaying as well, as Graham’s character evolves subtly according to player choice.

Before King’s Quest, I’d never played quite this style of story game before, so I didn’t know what to expect. At first, I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure about it. It seemed too easy, perhaps aimed at very young children, and too linear with far too little player interaction in the story for my tastes. But then, after an introductory episode that was obviously designed to ease players into the game and into a new world, it suddenly opened up. I could wander wherever I liked and speak to everyone I met. There was a lot more to interact with and to do, something between the Telltale Games (but longer and more involving of the player) and Monkey Island (but with perhaps more transparent item use and easier progression). Puzzles and challenges ranged from easy to actually quite tough – I found both a fight involving a rope of yarn and a battle of wits (complete with Princess Bride reference) particularly tricky.

King's Quest - A Knight To Remember (screenshot)

It also didn’t take very long before the game had completely charmed me. The atmosphere and style is spot on, the artwork lovely and the cartoonish style very appropriate. The world is captivating. Daventry is full of traditional fantasy and fairy tale elements, from dragons and magic potions to knights and goblins. Some brilliant voice acting really brings the characters to life, the dialogue is interesting and engaging, and the humour brings such warmth and fun to the adventure. The whole feel reminded me of some of the fairy tale influenced fantasy books that I’ve loved, something between Dianna Wynne Jones and more modern series such as the League of Princes by Christopher Healy. This is a game with a huge amount of personality.

Even amidst the humour and general light-heartedness that runs through the story, there is also a depth and heart to the game that is achieved through very real connections to characters (an incident early in the game affected me more than I was expecting), as well as an emphasis on heroism, goodness, and solving problems without violence. Because of this, I think this would make an excellent game for both children and adults, and is really ideal for a parent and child or two friends to play together, discussing possible options with each other.

King's Quest - A Knight To Remember (screenshot 3)

I didn’t encounter any glitches or game breaking problems in my play-through, and generally the mechanics seemed to work well. There is very little fighting and nothing that requires quick dodging or complicated tactics, and the controls are very easy to understand and use. A feature that would have been very useful is a map, and it seems like a bit of an oversight that one wasn’t included. Going forward, I’d love to see even more emphasis on the clever puzzles in future chapters, as well as a return of memorable characters and a greater insight into how our choices have affected Graham’s character and kingship. I really can’t wait to get back into Daventry!

This was a hugely enjoyable game and I would strongly recommend it to people who are looking for a charming fantasy game with puzzles, great characters and a light-hearted, clever sense of humour. Players who expect more action from a game will be disappointed, but those who enjoy interactive story will find plenty to love here.

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4 Comments

  1. Jennie Ivins Jennie Ivins says:

    lol Yeah, NONE of those games had maps. Even after they were possible (programming wise), they left them out. You either had to have a good memory, wander around blindly, or create your own map on paper. I fell into the last group. I might still have my maps around somewhere…

  2. Avatar Liam says:

    I’ve never played any of the old King’s Quest games but I’m really looking forward this. Not enough comedic fantasy. I say this as someone who dreads finishing Discworld(been reading about 7 years) because I don’t know what I’ll do for my comedy-fantasy fix.

    I know the first three episodes are out but I’m waiting for the full season before I buy it.

    I really hope to see more video game reviews on Fantasy Faction.

  3. Avatar ML Brennan says:

    Oh, the no maps is definitely deliberate. My brother and I played all the original King’s Quest games, starting when we were 8 & 10, and we made many maps on pieces of notepaper. (“Three screens up, then two left and you’ll get to the witch’s house,” was a common phrase)

    Of course, in the first four original games you had to type in your commands, which meant that my brother and I had to play with a dictionary beside the computer so that we could check spellings and look for alternate phrasing. That was certainly character-building.

    “Pick up knife.”

    –I don’t recognize the word “knife”–

    “Okay, pick up blade.”

    –I don’t recognize the word “blade”–

    “ARG! *flipflipflip* Okay, pick up dagger.”

    –You pick up the dagger. It is sharp.–

    “Yay!”

  4. Avatar Brett says:

    I played King’s Quest I-VI and loved them all! Wish I had a PC that could handle this. Someday. These games really make you think instead of just hack-and-slash. I loved that. Also, the inclusion of well-known fairy tale and fantasy characters made it all the more fun.

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