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Found 6 results

  1. It’s no secret that I enjoyed the debut of King’s Quest a few months ago. The lighthearted romp through new-yet-familiar territory represented a wonderful modernization of the venerable adventure game series. Imagine my surprise when Rubble Without a Cause delivers a deeper, more complex experience that packs a surprising punch while maintaining a family friendly demeanor. *slight spoilers to follow* Chapter 2 opens by giving players more insight into the ailing health of the old King Graham. Scared awake by a storm in the middle of the night, Graham’s granddaughter, Gwendolyn, runs to her grandfather’s room to find him struggling with his infirmity. Soon a storytelling session ensues, painting a portrait of a newly crowned King Graham overwhelmed with the weight of leadership as he is thrust into a life or death scenario where his subjects depend on his success for their protection. Taken prisoner by a goblin raiding party, Graham needs his wits to deliver old friends from the clutches of the enemy. This is a far cry from the coming-of-age adventure that comprised the majority of Chapter 1. I would have been perfectly content with more of the same from The Odd Gentlemen, but clearly the studio wasn’t content with a rehash. While Chapter 1 focused on exploration and reestablishing the Kingdom of Daventry after the series’ long absence, Chapter 2 goes hard into puzzle-solving and testing the relationships created in the previous chapter. Not only that, but the tone becomes slightly more serious. While there are still plenty of puns and witty lines, lives are put at stake. As a prisoner, Graham needs to keep his subjects alive and well while searching for a way to free them from captivity. Rubble Without a Cause brings with it a slight biting edge to the humor that was absent in the first installment. The added emphasis on puzzles adds to the depth of the King’s Quest experience. It feels like a slightly better bridging of traditional King’s Quest with modern adventure gaming than what was achieved in Chapter 1. While there were puzzles in the first chapter, they weren’t particularly difficult. However, I’ll confess to finding myself stumped at least twice during my time with Chapter 2. There are few things as puzzling as finding yourself with a chair, chopsticks, a pea, and no idea what you should do with them. This different approach to adventure gaming sacrifices some of the flowing transitions popularized by Telltale Games, but introduces more gameplay decisions. The way you solve the different conundrums presented to the player result in different outcomes. That idea might seem intuitive, but in practice it leads to a varied experience that’s actually pretty neat. King Graham makes progress through the dungeon over the course of several days. In addition to solving puzzles, players have to monitor the health of their subjects. If a subject’s health reaches zero they will definitely remember how their king didn’t look out for them. At one point in my playthrough I made a mistake. That mistake resulted in a sick, pregnant woman being carted off by the goblins to an unknown fate. I felt awful and, of course, attempted to reload my save. That’s when I realized that King’s Quest doesn’t allow for reloading to previous saves. King’s Quest autosaves every time Graham moves to a new screen. There is no rewinding, no do-over. From a user friendly perspective it would be nice to have a rewind feature of some sort, if only so players who want to replay certain chapters don’t have to start from the complete beginning. However, I appreciate King’s Quest as a harsh mistress. It forced me to come to terms with the consequences of my own poor decision making. That tied in really well with the thematics of the chapter; how leaders aren’t always perfect and must live with the weight of their decisions. Not being able to go back forces players into the same position as Graham and I think that’s a good thing, albeit frustrating. If I could suggest a change to Chapter 3, it would be a more obscure choices. The Odd Gentlemen have really made a great amalgamation of new and old with King’s Quest, but I think that the first two episodes have been overly obvious about the various paths open to players. It usually comes down to a choice between one of three paths: Bravery, cunning, and compassion. Level layouts and some really on-the-nose dialogue have often been overly telling rather than allowing the decisions to speak for themselves. It’s not a knock against what Chapter 2 offers, as it easily improves on this over Chapter 1, but King’s Quest can do even better. A bit of murkiness to the decision making process would go a long way. The animation in Chapter 2 remains absolutely gorgeous. Almost every screenshot looks like it could be a painting. Watching everything in motion and seeing the still frames during some cutscenes makes me ache for a King’s Quest film with this aesthetic. There were a few technical issues with the version I played; occasional frame stuttering when entering new areas, lighting effects not appearing properly, etc. However, these were rare and didn’t detract from my overall experience. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the number of great soundtracks that have been released this year, but I wanted more from the soundscape in Rubble Without a Cause. It felt a bit empty and lacked a signature King’s Quest flavor of its own that wasn’t borrowed from the previous chapter. The production schedule for King’s Quest must be ridiculously intensive, but hopefully future episodes can have the same care and attention paid to the soundtrack as the visuals, voice acting, and writing. Conclusion: King’s Quest Chapter 2 drastically increases my faith in The Odd Gentlemen as a studio that can do justice to the legendary Sierra property while bringing its gameplay into line with modern adventure games. It demonstrates that they’re committed to pushing their design and storytelling further with each episode rather than with every adventure series. Most importantly, Rubble Without a Cause brings back crucial gameplay elements that Telltale’s brand of adventures have lacked. If The Odd Gentlemen continue to push the envelope of episodic games, King’s Quest might be able to push the entire genre in new and exciting directions. King’s Quest Chapter 2 – Rubble Without a Cause was reviewed on Xbox One and is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.
  2. It’s no secret that I enjoyed the debut of King’s Quest a few months ago. The lighthearted romp through new-yet-familiar territory represented a wonderful modernization of the venerable adventure game series. Imagine my surprise when Rubble Without a Cause delivers a deeper, more complex experience that packs a surprising punch while maintaining a family friendly demeanor. *slight spoilers to follow* Chapter 2 opens by giving players more insight into the ailing health of the old King Graham. Scared awake by a storm in the middle of the night, Graham’s granddaughter, Gwendolyn, runs to her grandfather’s room to find him struggling with his infirmity. Soon a storytelling session ensues, painting a portrait of a newly crowned King Graham overwhelmed with the weight of leadership as he is thrust into a life or death scenario where his subjects depend on his success for their protection. Taken prisoner by a goblin raiding party, Graham needs his wits to deliver old friends from the clutches of the enemy. This is a far cry from the coming-of-age adventure that comprised the majority of Chapter 1. I would have been perfectly content with more of the same from The Odd Gentlemen, but clearly the studio wasn’t content with a rehash. While Chapter 1 focused on exploration and reestablishing the Kingdom of Daventry after the series’ long absence, Chapter 2 goes hard into puzzle-solving and testing the relationships created in the previous chapter. Not only that, but the tone becomes slightly more serious. While there are still plenty of puns and witty lines, lives are put at stake. As a prisoner, Graham needs to keep his subjects alive and well while searching for a way to free them from captivity. Rubble Without a Cause brings with it a slight biting edge to the humor that was absent in the first installment. The added emphasis on puzzles adds to the depth of the King’s Quest experience. It feels like a slightly better bridging of traditional King’s Quest with modern adventure gaming than what was achieved in Chapter 1. While there were puzzles in the first chapter, they weren’t particularly difficult. However, I’ll confess to finding myself stumped at least twice during my time with Chapter 2. There are few things as puzzling as finding yourself with a chair, chopsticks, a pea, and no idea what you should do with them. This different approach to adventure gaming sacrifices some of the flowing transitions popularized by Telltale Games, but introduces more gameplay decisions. The way you solve the different conundrums presented to the player result in different outcomes. That idea might seem intuitive, but in practice it leads to a varied experience that’s actually pretty neat. King Graham makes progress through the dungeon over the course of several days. In addition to solving puzzles, players have to monitor the health of their subjects. If a subject’s health reaches zero they will definitely remember how their king didn’t look out for them. At one point in my playthrough I made a mistake. That mistake resulted in a sick, pregnant woman being carted off by the goblins to an unknown fate. I felt awful and, of course, attempted to reload my save. That’s when I realized that King’s Quest doesn’t allow for reloading to previous saves. King’s Quest autosaves every time Graham moves to a new screen. There is no rewinding, no do-over. From a user friendly perspective it would be nice to have a rewind feature of some sort, if only so players who want to replay certain chapters don’t have to start from the complete beginning. However, I appreciate King’s Quest as a harsh mistress. It forced me to come to terms with the consequences of my own poor decision making. That tied in really well with the thematics of the chapter; how leaders aren’t always perfect and must live with the weight of their decisions. Not being able to go back forces players into the same position as Graham and I think that’s a good thing, albeit frustrating. If I could suggest a change to Chapter 3, it would be a more obscure choices. The Odd Gentlemen have really made a great amalgamation of new and old with King’s Quest, but I think that the first two episodes have been overly obvious about the various paths open to players. It usually comes down to a choice between one of three paths: Bravery, cunning, and compassion. Level layouts and some really on-the-nose dialogue have often been overly telling rather than allowing the decisions to speak for themselves. It’s not a knock against what Chapter 2 offers, as it easily improves on this over Chapter 1, but King’s Quest can do even better. A bit of murkiness to the decision making process would go a long way. The animation in Chapter 2 remains absolutely gorgeous. Almost every screenshot looks like it could be a painting. Watching everything in motion and seeing the still frames during some cutscenes makes me ache for a King’s Quest film with this aesthetic. There were a few technical issues with the version I played; occasional frame stuttering when entering new areas, lighting effects not appearing properly, etc. However, these were rare and didn’t detract from my overall experience. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the number of great soundtracks that have been released this year, but I wanted more from the soundscape in Rubble Without a Cause. It felt a bit empty and lacked a signature King’s Quest flavor of its own that wasn’t borrowed from the previous chapter. The production schedule for King’s Quest must be ridiculously intensive, but hopefully future episodes can have the same care and attention paid to the soundtrack as the visuals, voice acting, and writing. Conclusion: King’s Quest Chapter 2 drastically increases my faith in The Odd Gentlemen as a studio that can do justice to the legendary Sierra property while bringing its gameplay into line with modern adventure games. It demonstrates that they’re committed to pushing their design and storytelling further with each episode rather than with every adventure series. Most importantly, Rubble Without a Cause brings back crucial gameplay elements that Telltale’s brand of adventures have lacked. If The Odd Gentlemen continue to push the envelope of episodic games, King’s Quest might be able to push the entire genre in new and exciting directions. King’s Quest Chapter 2 – Rubble Without a Cause was reviewed on Xbox One and is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. View full article
  3. The Odd Gentlemen and Sierra released the second chapter in the serialized King's Quest reboot today. The second chapter, titled Rubble Without a Cause, takes place some years after the first tale of King Graham. Players will have to deal with the goblin threat that has spiraled out of control since the events of the first chapter. Chapter 2 sees Graham become a king and struggle with the new responsibilities and duties that come with being a leader under pressure. While the first chapter proved to be a lighthearted romp, the second outing seems to be going a darker route. The trailer promises some tough choices ahead for those who take up the crown of Daventry. King's Quest Chapter 2 - Rubble Without a Cause is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.
  4. The Odd Gentlemen and Sierra released the second chapter in the serialized King's Quest reboot today. The second chapter, titled Rubble Without a Cause, takes place some years after the first tale of King Graham. Players will have to deal with the goblin threat that has spiraled out of control since the events of the first chapter. Chapter 2 sees Graham become a king and struggle with the new responsibilities and duties that come with being a leader under pressure. While the first chapter proved to be a lighthearted romp, the second outing seems to be going a darker route. The trailer promises some tough choices ahead for those who take up the crown of Daventry. King's Quest Chapter 2 - Rubble Without a Cause is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. View full article
  5. Welcome back to Daventry, a kingdom of knights and dragons, where heroes are forged and stories are woven from their deeds. While the watercolor world initially appears to be ageless, a place where Graham, a would-be knight and future king of Daventry, might go on adventures endlessly, we are slowly introduced to the idea that nothing remains forever. A Knight to Remember challenges the assumption that a game has to be dark and gritty to be able to convey mature themes and messages. Yes, there are many light-hearted moments, but the game carries with it a much wider range of expression than just smiles and sunshine. Developer The Odd Gentlemen knows there are times for danger, suspense, and meaningful moments alongside laughter and goofiness. The episodic version of King’s Quest takes place within a framed narrative where an old King Graham tells his granddaughter Gwendolyn stories about the various adventures he’s embarked on throughout his life. Players take direct control of Graham in the stories, wandering Daventry and completing various puzzles. How players choose to solve the various problems in each of the stories, which are conveniently separated into the individual chapters, teaches Gwendolyn how to deal with problems in her own life. It is an uncommon structure and The Odd Gentlemen use it to great effect. If Graham gets burned to a crisp or falls off a cliff, the story will briefly pull out to old King Graham and Gwendolyn with an accompanying joke or quip before returning to the story shortly before the misstep. At no point does the player control Gwendolyn. Instead, players watch as she learns from how they chose to proceed in Graham’s story and puts those lessons into action in her own life. I’m not going to ruin any of the jokes in A Knight to Remember, but prepare yourself for puns. I have never heard so many puns in one piece of media before. It was simultaneously delightful and groan-inducing. I loved it. Many of the puns stem from interacting with objects in the environment repeatedly. Creative director Matt Korba managed to assemble a dream team of voice actors, including Christopher Lloyd, the voice of old King Graham. He delivers puns and wordplay with a suitably dignified and kindly air, at times sounding like a child being allowed to get away with something naughty. There are an astonishing number of lines for even obscure interactions. Seven or eight unique lines of dialogue can be found in some actions, which many players will never even hear or encounter. Beyond Lloyd’s performance, Wallace Shawn is terrific fun as a character very reminiscent of his role as Vizzini in The Princess Bride. The comparison between Telltale’s adventure games and the latest outing from The Odd Gentlemen is too obvious to ignore. At a glance they might seem similar, but there are a number of subtle differences that make King’s Quest feel unique. Since the success of The Walking Dead Season One, Telltale’s games have all been for adults, featuring harsh violence, intense language, and traumatizing scenarios. King’s Quest is clearly aimed at both adults and children. It is the kind of game that a family can play together with both kids and adults finding enjoyment for different reasons. There are mature themes and messages in A Knight to Remember, but they are mature themes that can be digested by both the young and the old. Like all classic works of fantasy, King’s Quest isn’t afraid to go dark places amidst its levity. Sinister threads run through the adventure, threads that will probably become more apparent in Chapter 2. Even with that darkness present, King’s Quest is a game about bridge trolls and squirrel-princess friends, where problems solved with a knife can also be solved with a pie. Beyond tonal differences and a larger intended audience, focusing on the method players choose to use to solve problems is the stroke of genius that truly separates The Odd Gentlemen from Telltale. Players can give advice to Gwendolyn at the beginning of the chapter, but how they proceed, the manner in which they actually play the game is the true choice that will affect how Gwendolyn approaches her problems. There are three core paths: Courage, cleverness, and kindness. Each can be pursued at any given time and lead to vastly different experiences for players. In the first episode, each approach is personified. Courage takes the form of a blacksmith who believes in the hard, straightforward path. The cleverness route appears as an old man and woman who run a magical curio shop. The baker takes on the mantle of kindness, advising players to try to reach hearts instead of relying on their own mind or brave deeds. I hope it is clear by now that I enjoyed my time adventuring once more in Daventry. However, that is not to say that The Odd Gentlemen didn’t fall short in a few places. There were a number of instances where budget constraints became obvious. Incredibly low resolution textures sometimes made it front and center next to detailed objects and the resulting discrepancy was jarring. This happened a few times and appeared at odds with the rest of the gorgeous, watercolor scenery. Another area that felt lacking was in basic story structure. Scenes and moments were missing that I am almost sure were cut for budgetary or time restraints. In particular this absence is felt in Gwendolyn’s sections. It felt like there were supposed to be more scenes reflecting her life in the castle, but we have only a few scant glimpses into what she’s worried about. In A Knight to Remember, Gwendolyn is nervous about an approaching fencing tournament, but there seems to be very little build up to the climax of her story at the end of the Chapter 1. Her problems are important to the story, and cutting short our window into that world was a letdown. It was functional, but lusterless. Visually, the tournament also felt like the result of budget and/or time concerns with no audience to be seen or heard. Additionally, there should probably have been more of an introduction to who Graham is for both newcomers and veterans of the series. Among other absent components, these are critical elements for the story to work better and they just aren’t there. Now, I understand that it is episodic and they didn’t have time to go in-depth with a lot of the characters. That’s the reality of the business. While everything I just suggested would have made the story work better, its current state is quite functional and provides plenty of laughs and tense moments. However, I hope that future episodes build out these characters, as well as the excellent supporting cast, from the basic introduction they were given in A Knight to Remember. Conclusion: A Knight to remember feels like an imperfect, yet solid, entertaining, and endearing foundation on which the future chapters of King’s Quest can build. It is bright, vibrant, and holds deep respect for its roots while breaking into completely new territory for the series. It takes a lot of courage to take on a series with as much weight as King’s Quest after almost a decade of silence (not counting the fan remakes). For the first steps underneath immense expectations, time constraints, and budget, The Odd Gentlemen manage wonderfully. King’s Quest looks gorgeous, plays well, and really is something that brings a series stretching back 35 years into the present day in fine fashion. I’m looking forward to listening to the next story from King Graham. King's Quest Chapter 1: A Knight to Remember is currently available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. View full article
  6. Welcome back to Daventry, a kingdom of knights and dragons, where heroes are forged and stories are woven from their deeds. While the watercolor world initially appears to be ageless, a place where Graham, a would-be knight and future king of Daventry, might go on adventures endlessly, we are slowly introduced to the idea that nothing remains forever. A Knight to Remember challenges the assumption that a game has to be dark and gritty to be able to convey mature themes and messages. Yes, there are many light-hearted moments, but the game carries with it a much wider range of expression than just smiles and sunshine. Developer The Odd Gentlemen knows there are times for danger, suspense, and meaningful moments alongside laughter and goofiness. The episodic version of King’s Quest takes place within a framed narrative where an old King Graham tells his granddaughter Gwendolyn stories about the various adventures he’s embarked on throughout his life. Players take direct control of Graham in the stories, wandering Daventry and completing various puzzles. How players choose to solve the various problems in each of the stories, which are conveniently separated into the individual chapters, teaches Gwendolyn how to deal with problems in her own life. It is an uncommon structure and The Odd Gentlemen use it to great effect. If Graham gets burned to a crisp or falls off a cliff, the story will briefly pull out to old King Graham and Gwendolyn with an accompanying joke or quip before returning to the story shortly before the misstep. At no point does the player control Gwendolyn. Instead, players watch as she learns from how they chose to proceed in Graham’s story and puts those lessons into action in her own life. I’m not going to ruin any of the jokes in A Knight to Remember, but prepare yourself for puns. I have never heard so many puns in one piece of media before. It was simultaneously delightful and groan-inducing. I loved it. Many of the puns stem from interacting with objects in the environment repeatedly. Creative director Matt Korba managed to assemble a dream team of voice actors, including Christopher Lloyd, the voice of old King Graham. He delivers puns and wordplay with a suitably dignified and kindly air, at times sounding like a child being allowed to get away with something naughty. There are an astonishing number of lines for even obscure interactions. Seven or eight unique lines of dialogue can be found in some actions, which many players will never even hear or encounter. Beyond Lloyd’s performance, Wallace Shawn is terrific fun as a character very reminiscent of his role as Vizzini in The Princess Bride. The comparison between Telltale’s adventure games and the latest outing from The Odd Gentlemen is too obvious to ignore. At a glance they might seem similar, but there are a number of subtle differences that make King’s Quest feel unique. Since the success of The Walking Dead Season One, Telltale’s games have all been for adults, featuring harsh violence, intense language, and traumatizing scenarios. King’s Quest is clearly aimed at both adults and children. It is the kind of game that a family can play together with both kids and adults finding enjoyment for different reasons. There are mature themes and messages in A Knight to Remember, but they are mature themes that can be digested by both the young and the old. Like all classic works of fantasy, King’s Quest isn’t afraid to go dark places amidst its levity. Sinister threads run through the adventure, threads that will probably become more apparent in Chapter 2. Even with that darkness present, King’s Quest is a game about bridge trolls and squirrel-princess friends, where problems solved with a knife can also be solved with a pie. Beyond tonal differences and a larger intended audience, focusing on the method players choose to use to solve problems is the stroke of genius that truly separates The Odd Gentlemen from Telltale. Players can give advice to Gwendolyn at the beginning of the chapter, but how they proceed, the manner in which they actually play the game is the true choice that will affect how Gwendolyn approaches her problems. There are three core paths: Courage, cleverness, and kindness. Each can be pursued at any given time and lead to vastly different experiences for players. In the first episode, each approach is personified. Courage takes the form of a blacksmith who believes in the hard, straightforward path. The cleverness route appears as an old man and woman who run a magical curio shop. The baker takes on the mantle of kindness, advising players to try to reach hearts instead of relying on their own mind or brave deeds. I hope it is clear by now that I enjoyed my time adventuring once more in Daventry. However, that is not to say that The Odd Gentlemen didn’t fall short in a few places. There were a number of instances where budget constraints became obvious. Incredibly low resolution textures sometimes made it front and center next to detailed objects and the resulting discrepancy was jarring. This happened a few times and appeared at odds with the rest of the gorgeous, watercolor scenery. Another area that felt lacking was in basic story structure. Scenes and moments were missing that I am almost sure were cut for budgetary or time restraints. In particular this absence is felt in Gwendolyn’s sections. It felt like there were supposed to be more scenes reflecting her life in the castle, but we have only a few scant glimpses into what she’s worried about. In A Knight to Remember, Gwendolyn is nervous about an approaching fencing tournament, but there seems to be very little build up to the climax of her story at the end of the Chapter 1. Her problems are important to the story, and cutting short our window into that world was a letdown. It was functional, but lusterless. Visually, the tournament also felt like the result of budget and/or time concerns with no audience to be seen or heard. Additionally, there should probably have been more of an introduction to who Graham is for both newcomers and veterans of the series. Among other absent components, these are critical elements for the story to work better and they just aren’t there. Now, I understand that it is episodic and they didn’t have time to go in-depth with a lot of the characters. That’s the reality of the business. While everything I just suggested would have made the story work better, its current state is quite functional and provides plenty of laughs and tense moments. However, I hope that future episodes build out these characters, as well as the excellent supporting cast, from the basic introduction they were given in A Knight to Remember. Conclusion: A Knight to remember feels like an imperfect, yet solid, entertaining, and endearing foundation on which the future chapters of King’s Quest can build. It is bright, vibrant, and holds deep respect for its roots while breaking into completely new territory for the series. It takes a lot of courage to take on a series with as much weight as King’s Quest after almost a decade of silence (not counting the fan remakes). For the first steps underneath immense expectations, time constraints, and budget, The Odd Gentlemen manage wonderfully. King’s Quest looks gorgeous, plays well, and really is something that brings a series stretching back 35 years into the present day in fine fashion. I’m looking forward to listening to the next story from King Graham. King's Quest Chapter 1: A Knight to Remember is currently available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.
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