GAME REVIEW | King's Quest Ep. 5 'The Good Knight'
Wrapping up an episodic narrative game game be tricky, as we have seen from many Telltale seasons. King's Quest has been both a triumphant tribute to the series of the past and an incredible story in its own right. Successfully towing the line between fanciful humor and genuinely emotional moments, King's Quest has been one of my favorite games of the year thus far. Episode 5, titled "The Good Knight" wraps up the series by tying up any of the loose ends left and recounting many moments of your journey. The end result is a final episode that provided some of the best nostalgia, not just for the older games, but even for moments from earlier episodes.
Ever since the cliffhanger from episode 4, this final episode clearly builds towards one particular moment. If you're this deep into my reviews, you'll likely know what that is, but on the off chance you don't, I won't go any further with that. Suffice to say that the tension throughout the episode was palpable for me personally. The rest of the episode focuses on tying up loose ends and paying King's Quest the homage it deserves.
Elements from every episode make an appearance during this final chapter in the form of memories that King Graham forgot to include in his stories. I'm not completely sure if this is true, but it felt as though this was the developers cleverly throwing in some ideas that didn't make it in time to be in their original episode. These include things like another musical puzzle, an extra maze and even some character models. Each sequence featured dialogue that broke the fourth wall with Graham practically speaking as though he were the developer when mentioning these left-out elements.
It took the entire series, but if you were waiting for Manny to go fully Princess Bride on us, it happens in this episode. In a tribute to the famous scene, with Wallace Shawn in the aforementioned film, the final showdown between Manny and Graham involves him picking between two cups, one of which contains poison. Okay, roll your eyes back out of your head, it is actually handled as well as possible and they don't rub it in your face too badly. In fact, if you haven't seen The Princess Bride, I suspect you wouldn't realize it as a reference at all.
Probably my favorite scene in the game involves a throwback to the original games in the series. Knocked out by a poison, Graham has a dream that transforms the graphics to what the older PC games looked like back in the day. There are a few extra surprises hidden in this section that I won't mention, but it was tons of fun to see the reimagined world thrown back in time.
This episode, like the two before it, felt a bit more on the linear side. Graham even comments on this fact at one point saying that his adventures have felt a bit linear lately. This isn't a huge problem as the excellent writing and characters more than make up the difference. In the end, I was left wondering how many of my choices in previous episode would've made a difference. Aside from some extra interactions from a few characters, it appears as though they don't mean a whole lot. This doesn't bother me very much, as even the best games of this kind often struggle with this concept, it just creates a feeling of slightly more agency of your actions during the series.
- Series wraps up in a satisfying and emotional way
- Some amazing throwbacks in this final episode
- Final puzzles are varied and fun to solve
- Final episode continues to be a little short and linear
- Choices end up not meaning a whole lot
- The series is over now
In truth, I had not played many of the King's Quest games prior to starting this episodic game. Having played only one of them, I had an idea of what I was getting into, but felt like I could be left behind. King's Quest welcomes you into the narrative with wide arms and doesn't let you go until the end of the final episode. While, as I understand it from speaking to bigger fans of the series, the game is packed with clever nods, I never felt left out. The characters are well-built and by the end it's not difficult to truly care for many of them. It hangs right up there with the best episodic adventure games out there and touts more variety than most. I would recommend the game to nearly anyone and I look forward to what Sierra and The Odd Gentlemen have up their sleeve next. Check out the full King's Quest experience on PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4 and PS3 today.
Final Game Score:
Promotional consideration provided by Sandbox Strategies.