It has been a long time since we last saw King Graham, that heyday of adventure games and the various Quest games slowly falling by the wayside as games got bigger budgets, shorter attention spans and more guns. Now the king is back and he has a few more tales rattling around in that old noggin of his.
Graham is old and spends most of his time in bed, but give him a chance and he will recount a tale from his past. His current avid listener is his granddaughter, Gwendolyn, who merrily interjects and comments on the adventure at hand. Graham tells the story of his youth, rewriting some of the previous King’s Quest games’ history and events to retell them. The retelling, which is marvelously voiced by Christopher Lloyd (you might know him as Doc Brown from Back to the Future), includes a lot of puns, which Gwen will often comment on or sigh through.
Being a retelling, you don’t have to worry about saving your game all the time or getting young Graham killed, as old King Graham will either point out that “that is what could have happened” or Gwen wakes up a dozing grandfather. Without that pressure you are free to explore and interact with objects as you choose, which the game rewards with extra puns and lines of dialogue, rather than the standard “It doesn’t work that way”.
I wonder if I will need to go to Knight class
A Knight to Remember tells the story of Graham trying to become a knight in a tournament in Daventry. He is an outsider in this strange land and a many of the knight hopefuls are self-absorbed bullies. Graham will have to approach problems obliquely if he wants to beat the challenges in the tournament but luckily, any old King’s Quest fan will tell you, Graham is the king of oblique.
As you tell the story to Gwen, you get to use it as a means of passing on a lesson to her. Will you try to encourage strength and bravery, the use of wits and intellect to win, or will you show her that a compassionate heart can make friends and solve problems? The game never forces you to just be one of the three, but I can already see the influence it is having on characters and interactions only one chapter in, oh which reminds me.
It is a long story, but I will try to be brief
The chapters are rather large. While this game is indeed like the episodic titles you may have enjoyed, there is a lot more meat on the bones here. Chapter 1 will take you just over 5 hours, longer if the odd puzzles leave you flummoxed. Sadly the most perplexing part was when I ran around for close to an hour before noticing in one corner of an area that there was an exit south out of the scene and not just east. The game also suffers from a fair amount of screen-tearing and abrupt load screens between areas, which is something that can hopefully be fixed.
Besides that the game is absolutely beautiful. The water colours are warm and friendly and a reminder that we are staring through the haze of memory and, quite possibly, more than a few embellishments from the narrator.
Get ready for a pun-filled romp full of quirky humour with things getting rather silly at times. The game isn’t afraid to hand you a QTE-packed mission or make you shoot targets while on rails and for the most part it fits in with the idea that Graham is telling a story that his granddaughter can relate to and enjoy. It almost gets away with it too, except for one overly long, oblique encounter that you will recognise when you reach it.
The Odd Gentlemen have done a great job of capturing the essence of King’s Quest while adding their own take to it. I thoroughly enjoyed chapter 1 and if the quality of the writing and the barrage of puns can continue at the same standard and pace for the rest of the story, I think this may be the beginning of one of Graham’s best adventures. Luckily after witnessing the passion the team has for the title at E3, I have good faith in them seeing this through to a powerful ending.