This is a review I should have written a while back. King’s Quest Episode 1 has been out a while now and most reviewers will have already covered it. It’s taken me a while because I needed to find the right time to play.
I was a huge fan of the original 1984 game (which I didn’t play until into the 1990’s in all fairness) and it is one that has stayed in my memories ever since. So when during the Playstation Experience in 2014 Roberta Williams and Ken Williams stepped on stage to announce King’s Quest for a modern era, I was jumping with joy.
What was special about the original game, was how well told the story was, it seemed so far ahead of its time to my young mind, I loved the characters, the setting and the progression. It felt magical, like a story book come to life. It has also aged well and I can still play it to this day.
However, there is a new King’s Quest out and by golly is it amazing. It is as though technology has finally caught up with the visions of our biggest talents of the eighties. This is one epic adventure that from the very first moment will gets its hooks in and never once let you go.
Everything about King’s Quest just feels like perfection to me. Starting with the visuals, this is a game that is art coming to life. The style is comic / adventure book enough that it just feels warm and welcoming, but animated so well it really feels like you are playing an animated movie from the likes of Disney. I found myself hammering F12 on my keyboard taking screenshot after screenshot for my desktop background.
Next is a story that is so wonderfully written it brings this version of King’s Quest into a very unique group of games that can really stand with writing in film and literature. It is fantastical, but the writers know their subject matter and treat it is the respect it deserves.
What’s more, this is a game that is episodic and boy does episode one end in such a way, that the wait for episode two will be painful. I need to know what happens next, because they cannot leave me hanging like this. I felt dumbfounded at the end, lost that it ended at that point.
That is because not only is the writing fantastic, but the voice acting and performances are woven together in a way that you really feel for all the characters, whether you like them all or not, it doesn’t matter, you simply feel something for each and every one of them.
The overall gameplay mechanics too are just right. The interaction is held back enough that you can enjoy the story as it unfolds, but active enough that you feel you are having an influence on proceedings.
Puzzles you encounter are childlike, but they also won’t stump you to the point it is affected the game moving forward. There are Quick Time Events, but they too are handled well and generally you feel at one with the story.
This truly is a game that is the sum of its parts, all the above working together to create a well oiled machine. None of the parts on their own will set the world on fire, but together they create something rather magical.
It’s not a game I have been waiting thirty years for as such. Hell I didn’t even know I wanted a new King’s Quest, not until that night in December 2014, but now it is here, it has filled a hole in my gaming life, whilst at the same time ripping it wide open as I wait for the next episode.
If you have any interest in good story telling, then you have to own this, this is a top of the class game in both its own genre and just overall.