Almost exactly a year ago, after watching the first trailer for Sierra’s King’s Quest reboot, I decried it as a lie. I had my reasons. A lifelong King’s Quest fan, I’d already been hurt when they switched from the text parser interface to point-and-click with its 5th entry. And now, all these years later, they were going to expect me to play this great series, not with a keyboard, but a controller?
“I’ll wait for the re-reboot,” I said.
I wasn’t wrong for criticizing it. The early trailer was heavy with action sequences and archery. Very little of the footage looked anything like the slow, puzzling gameplay of what King’s Quest is supposed to be. When it was released this past July I had no intention of playing it and, sure, maybe it was because I had no consoles capable of playing it. (Nintendo, why did you fail me?)
Still, I didn’t make any effort to give it a go…until I got a PS4 this Christmas, that is.
Well, I was pondering all the games I’ve wanted to play on PS4 that I couldn’t these past couple of years. Rocket League was one for sure. Nidhogg, too. Heck, it was one one of my favorite games of 2015 and I didn’t even own it! Let’s see, what else…hmmm…and that’s when King’s Quest: A Knight To Remember came to mind. Really? Should I play it? It’s going to be terrible.
As it happens, last month Playstation Plus was offering the game for free with a subscription. Well, alright…let’s give it a shot. I wanted to share the world of Daventry with my family anyway, especially my young kids. So play it we did.
I could not have been more wrong about this game.
In fact, the reboot is incredible! Sure enough, the opening gameplay (what I’d call a prologue of sorts) was one long action sequence really not befitting of Sierra’s classic franchise. It didn’t take long to finish and that is when you truly break into Chapter 1 of this series, and it was a tour de force of mixing the nostalgic joy of an original game with new ingredients that make a reboot great!
First, the graphics are beautiful. I mean…beautiful! The cel-shaded rendering gives the game a great look while masking the 3D models which would’ve harkened back to the mess of Mask of Eternity. The early King’s Quest games have those classic CGA and VGA graphics and this game, while obviously modern and more rich, really makes you feel like you’re playing the originals. It’s just so colorful and charming.
Past that, the gameplay, while it can never bring me back to the text parsing days, is still very good. We spent hours solving puzzles, figuring our way forward, and winning! It was never too easy to be dull, but it was never too hard to get frustrating. (Which I can’t say for the games of old.) Overall, it was definitely not a difficult game. The longest we were stuck for was about 10 minutes and we never had to look up any hints. I refused to, actually. There’s no point in playing a game like this if you’re going to cheat. Don’t cheat.
Overall, I was left flabbergasted at how good the game experience was. And now, I look forward to starting the latest chapter of the series, Rubble Without a Cause, that was released last month. I can admit, hat in hand, that I was wrong. So very, very wrong. King’s Quest isn’t a lie at all, it’s a gift! A gift to all of us fans who’s waited 25 years for another entry worth playing.
And ya know what? I’ve never been more happy to feel like such a fool.