I haven’t had as much free time lately as I’d like since I was in deep editing mode, but in the last week or so I’ve found a little time to blitz through a few games.
When we last left off I was days away from jumping into the first DLC release for Fallout 4. Since then a total of 3 expansions have come out – Far Harbor having just come out a few days ago. First off I’d just like to say that the first two expansions were a bit disappointing. Automatron was too short with too little reward, and Wasteland Workshop added virtually nothing I’m interested in. I don’t do much with my settlements, so having more couches or random shit for nameless settlers to stand around doesn’t interest me. I just fired up Far Harbor last night and it seems pretty promising. It seems to be a relatively large chunk of land with a pretty interesting story so far. Bethesda claims it’s the largest landmass for an add-on, but a few other people seem to think Shivering Isles for Oblivion added more content even if it was less acreage. I’ll have more to say whenever I get around to another installment. Now to the bulk of my story – adventure games.
There’s been a bit of a resurgence in recent years for the venerable genre – from fan remakes and pseudo-sequels, to the full on resurrection of franchises and studios. Take for example Activision bringing back Sierra (if only in name) and the King’s Quest series. I picked up the first episode (yeah, it’s episodic) of the game a while back but never made the time to play it. The first episode opens with a wizened old King Graham retelling of one of the major scenes of the original game to his granddaughter – that of acquiring the magic mirror for the old King of Daventry. The remake gets the major story beats of the original quest so that old adventure gaming grognards like myself can say “Oh yeah, I remember that,” but takes enough liberties so that it’s not a boring rehash. Once the link to the original series is established the game ventures into new territory by putting you in the role of young Graham as he first arrives in Daventry. He’s not King, nor is he even a knight – yet.
So the game is actually entertaining and occasionally challenging. I like the way the developers, The Odd Gentlemen, roped in the grognards while creating something the newer generations of gamers would be willing to play. The storytelling/flashback setup, a la The Princess Bride, works well with narration by Christopher Lloyd and makes for the occasional breaking-the-fourth-wall joke. The interface has been drastically simplified for controller use. It’s a context sensitive, single button game instead of the old-school point-and-click. The story is done well enough, and the episode has enough content that I feel like I got my money’s worth. There are several points in the first episode where you make choices that presumably have repercussions further down the line but so far they don’t pay off so I don’t know if they’re clever or ultimately pointless. There were a couple times when I realized that there were different way to accomplish or approach a scenario but it often wasn’t apparent until after it was over. There was one action scene where I realized halfway through I probably could have finished it without killing anything. And another where I was weighing my options, and even though there was no timer or countdown the game eventually took my choice away from me – essentially making me choose the option I was against. Despite that, I never felt like it was important enough to go back and redo, so I never bothered. I may regret that in later episodes, which I’ll let you know.
Even though I did get a good deal of entertainment out of episode one, I have enough doubts about further quality or even the completion of the series despite having the backing of a major publisher. With that in mind I couldn’t bring myself to pony up the $30 for the season pass. Instead I opted to do it piecemeal. As luck would have it, there was a flash sale in the PlayStation Store and the 2nd episode was 60% off so I grabbed it a couple days ago and will give it a spin later. I also finally got around to playing another adventure game, Broken Age, but I’ll get into that one next time.