The new King’s Quest is an original adventure game from The Odd Gentlemen that reimagines the early exploits of Sir Graham with the same commitment to charming puzzles, personalities and exploration that has always defined the franchise. Over three decades after it first debuted, one of the most treasured names in the Sierra family marks its bold return for a new generation of gamers.
Now aged and grey, King Graham shares the lost tales of his youth with his curious granddaughter, Gwendolyn, teaching her the noble qualities that make a true hero. And as any good story, it involves knights and dragons.
King’s Quest – Chapter 1: A knight to remember
King Graham of Daventry started out as Guysbrush Threepwood from Monkey Island. There is literally no better way to describe it: he is a young man with big dreams. He is not skilled, he is not strong, he is clearly not the perfect fit for the role he is trying to achieve, but he is clever, dedicated, and full of hopes and passion.
The Kingdom of Daventry is a monarchy and very peaceful and fair land, ruled by King Edward –at this point of the story-, but it isn’t as prosperous as it once was. It has suffered many years of poverty and weakness, its population has shrunken, and the King has no heirs. As he is dying, a tournament full of quests and challenges has been announced, and the reward is up to the dangers the contestant have to deal with: to have a place in the King’s court.
This first chapter covers that part of the story arc. Graham, in his teenage years, has to best others would-be knights. We will get to know them better, we will get to love some of them, hate some of them, and even lose a few tears as the story has its fair amount of sad moments.
The gameplay is everything we used to love from great adventures of the past. It is an inventory-based experience where we walk around the world helping people, solving puzzles, hunting items that will help us in our quest. On top of that, we get elements from more recent games like Life is Strange where our choices have great impact on how the story unfolds.
Unfortunately, games of the past were not perfect. We are used to things like fast travel and maps, and trust me, you will miss them. This first chapter is short and can be completed in 3 to 5 hours, but a huge portion of that time comes from walking around not knowing exactly what to do. Some mistakes will make you restart from your latest checkpoint, while others will be used as a way to include short arguments between Graham and his daughter, which often are used to include dad jokes –or grandpa jokes?- that Gwendolyn doesn’t appreciate.
The inability to skip dialogues and cut scenes can be an issue too. The auto save feature will prevent you from saving on specific points, and the only replay-able part of the game is the ending. This means that you will need to redo the whole game if you want to know what happens with the different choices the young Graham picks.
Issues aside, the experience is warm and touching, like a true graphical adventure. Graham is outperformed in every single aspect, but still his dedication makes others start grow a sense of respect for him. The multiple paths you can choose from will make Graham realize the best hero is not necessarily the strongest or the bravest, but you need to be smart to make up for lack of skill. He will also learn from others: sometimes, doing the good and the best doesn’t end well. Sometimes, you will need to make a more risky choice for the greater good. But still, the choice is yours. Many challenges offer multiple solutions, encouraging you to experiment with your inventory and the environment.
A knight to remember is slowly paced, but sets up the tone for the upcoming chapters. You won’t experience the final battles that shaped the kingdom of Daventry. Yet. It’s a perfect game for those who grew up with amazing gems like Monkey Island. It is full of clever moments, it doesn’t rely on nostalgia to show its personality, the music helps to alleviate the moments where you will wander around completely lost, and the touching story is completely worth it. Mix all of that with current generation graphics and you have a great adventure game.