Review: Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition (PC)
Point-and-click adventures in general are a thing of the past, or so it would seem. This genre, once the panicle of PC gaming in particular, has slowly faded away due the rise in popularity of first-person shooters in particular. Two short, yet prosperous, decades later we see the resurgence of one of the most iconic franchises in gaming history. A trip down memory lane combined with a fresh coat of paint that leaves us with the potential of something truly magnificent. In the 20th Anniversary Edition of Sins Of The Fathers we rediscover just how well this game has been written, but at the same time are reminded that how far the gaming industry has come up until now.
Gabriel Knight, the games protagonist, is chauvinistic writer and owner of a book store nestled firmly in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Nearly every word that leaves his mouth is enough to make you cringe and want to slap him through the face on behalf of every woman across the globe. It’s a thing of beauty and one quickly becomes emerged in tasteless yet undeniably charming ways. Gabriel is investigating a spell of ritualistic voodoo-style murders happening in vicinity of what he calls home. The amount of research that has gone into the games story as well as the unique roster of characters is outstanding to say the least. Getting to know more about your investigation and delving into the history of the locals reiterates that even by today’s standards good writing remains just that.
In your research you sift though vast amounts of knowledge gathered by everyone from the cemetery grounds keeper to the local police. Throughout this you are conveniently nudged along by highlighted test prompts displaying the recommended line of investigation. One might argue that this numbs down the difficulty level of the overall gathering of information but without it you could find yourself hopelessly lost in the ramblings of what could be a dead end at any given point throughout the game. Inspecting items isn’t as obvious and while a item description does appear when hovering over a potential lead it isn’t blatantly lit up leaving some room to decipher what could be applicable to your current task.
The graphical refurbishment is what you’d expect from a remake with the tools that developers have at their disposal and yet the environments sill maintain that same ‘feel’ to what we now refer to as retro titles. Something is lost however. While the experience isn’t glitchy it doesn’t seem to flow very well. While the backdrop looks stunning it doesn’t feel as though there isn’t a scene that the characters are necessarily a part of it. Think of a well rendered gif image floating along a painted canvas. The games score has also received a noticeable revamp and helps bring the environment to life as well as create a sense of tension where applicable. The narration, while not dreadful, lingers on and can be frustrating. These voice clips can be skipped but often overlay with the next piece of dialogue, once again creating a lack of fluidity. It’s also a pity that the original voice cast isn’t back for the curtain call edition of the game. The new voice cast provide an adequate rendition but those who played the original title will pick up on the absence of the likes of the iconic Tim Curry.
Sins Of The Fathers is accessible to oldschool adventure addicts as well as a newer generation of gamer who are inquisitive as to what their older counterpart were or are on about. The puzzles can be obscene at times but bar one or two exceptions can be completed with relevant ease. As a remake the game holds its own but it is the outstanding writing that makes this classic, once again, unforgettable.