By Justin Guillou / August 29th, 2014
How many of my readers were or still are point-and-click adventure fans? Well, today, I’m here to talk about a remake of an old Sierra classic; Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father 20th Anniversary Edition.
Sierra games were known for having loads of self-referential humor and characters with lots of personality and the Gabriel Knight series was no different. This updated release of the game appears to be shaping up to be a nice love letter to the fans and is a good way to introduce a new generation of gamers to this style and genre. There is a lot of voice acting and initially, I found the voices to be very cheesy, but they grew on me the more I played it. Overall, the writing is solid and the story is interesting enough to keep me playing.
You play as the titular Gabriel Knight, an author and owner of a bookstore who is trying to make it big in the book industry. He is currently following and investigating a series of murders in New Orleans known as the Voodoo Murders due to voodoo apparently being involved. He is a man who doesn’t take things too seriously as he find new ways to hit on women and with and being rejected by his assistant, Grace. However, he is a skilled man when it comes to piecing things together and, at the end of the day, can get a lot accomplished. The supporting cast is pretty varied as you will be investigating and communicating with police officers, a mime, street performers, artists and even some store owners. The narrator also chirps in on occasion with a witty remark or two based on what Gabriel is trying to do in the current area he is in. This often happens if you make a wrong selection or try to do something you are not allowed to do. As a result, it can be fun to just fool around and click on as many random objects as you can just to see what kind of comments will be made by either Gabriel or the narrator.
The game is divided up into a series of days. Each day has Gabriel traveling to several locations to talk to NPCs, gather clues and solve brief puzzles. Due to the day-by-day structure, the game is a bit linear, but, given the context of the game, it works well. However, there are a few issues that could still be polished up before it is released.
One thing that bothers me right off the bat with this demo is that, when you hover the mouse over an option on the bottom of the screen, you are not told what it is and have to click into them and see the menu. I feel that the gameplay could be a lot smoother if we got a preview of what each of the icons are supposed to indicate and do, That way players will know right away that clicking on the star will bring up the hints menu(more on this later). Also, Gabriel has a tendency to turn around very slowly before moving somewhere on screen. It’s a minor issue, but I feel the game could benefit from having more fluid character movement.
Sierra games were known for not holding a player’s hand when it came to letting them know what to do next. Gabriel Knight offers a hint system that will give the players a better idea on what to do. When you activate a hint, you have to wait a while before using another one. This is great for those players that find themselves absolutely stuck, and don’t want to have to consult an outside strategy guide. Overall, the puzzles are not too bad, however, there are a couple moments in the game that had me wondering what to do next. The hint system was definitely helpful during those moments. There are many dialogue options for players to choose, but the ones that are necessary to advance the plot are highlighted for those of you who just want to rush through the game. To be honest, I would not recommend that, as the NPCs have a lot of interesting things to say! I did notice that the voices tend to overlap if you click through the dialogue. Hopefully this can also be fixed before release.
The graphics are looking good so far. Even on a lower setting, they did a great job updating the original game’s visuals. There is actually a gallery mode that allows players to see concept art and even have screenshots of the original game for you to compare and see just how much the game has evolved. The game features gorgeous 2D backgrounds with 3D polygons for the characters and certain objects similar to the earlier Resident Evil games. The polygons are not too impressive, but they get the job done. The character portraits on the other hand are very detailed and look great. The soundtrack features many remixes that are sure to make the longtime fans get those nice, relaxing nostalgia chills. I really like the relaxing theme played at Lake Pontchartrain.
Gabriel Knight also includes a graphic novel to both tell the story of one of Gabriel’s ancestors and give more backstory to this game’s plot. I also noticed some minor graphical glitches on the menu screen, mainly involving the box that houses the game’s settings. Hopefully, this is something else that can be fixed before the game gets released.
Overall, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers – 20th Anniversary Edition is looking to be a great game for those of you with a craving of adventure games in the old style. Be sure to be on the lookout for this one when it gets released supposedly, later this year.
AdventureGabriel KnightPCpoint and clickSteam