Paris in the Spring…
Wait wait wait, this isn’t Broken Sword!
Gabriel Knight 20th Anniversary Edition | Sins of the Fathers, a rather long name for what seems to be a short game. Gabriel Knight was an adventure game back in 1993 where adventures games flourished and times were good. The anniversary edition sees the old game come back to life, with new visuals, updated gameplay and redone scripts. The original game was developed by Sierra On-Line, Inc. but was licensed to Pinkerton Road from Activision for the remake.
The game starts off with a short cutscene in the style of a drawn comic strip, with several panels and changing pictures to show movement, depicting a sacrifice/execution on a burning stake. After the demonic images finish it shows our protagonist awaken from his nightmare, Gabriel Knight. Without much backstory or build up the story is talked of slightly in the conversation Gabriel holds with his would be secretary Grace.
Gabriel Knight is currently working on a new book around the Voodoo murders happening within New Orleans, Narhlens to the people who live there. Besides trying to think of subjects to write about Gabriel is also investigating the murders with the help of his friend in the case Detective Mosely. Help is given almost straight away as Gabriel is sent pictures of the newest Voodoo Murder and from that and some other clues around town Gabriel finds the location of the Murder, near the Lake.
From this point onwards the plotlines make themselves clear, with several characters of note popping up, clues to find, puzzles to decipher, leads to follow and paintings to retrieve. Not much is shown within the Demo, only showing off the first 2 days of what would be a 10 day case, if the old game is followed to the T.
To complete the first two days and see the end screen it took me around 2 hours to do, though I am an avid Adventure Game player, so for an average Joe it could take longer than that. There are also varying different chat options to choose, people to talk to and hidden items to find to increase your score. From what I could play, the game looks to be around 6-8+ hours long with just the main story parts.
Gabriel Knights plays like any other Adventure game that follows the mouse control system, simply hover over an object or part of the floor and you will either move their or be given an array of options to interact, either by looking, picking up, combining or something unique to that object. Throughout the different screens in the world you will be able to talk to several different characters, inspect objects, pick up items and combine them together to find more clues or even receive new items.
Talk to people is pretty simple as it brings up an almost Metal Gear Solid Codec screen with two portraits of the talking characters and a list of topics to discuss. Normal non-mission critical discussions are shown in white and can give some lore and background information, whereas story-continuing text is shown in yellow and can often lead to the conversation ending abruptly. Besides talking to the cast you can also show them items from your inventory to ask them about or to offer them, like a hotdog to a tap-dancing boy.
With the voice acting of both Tim Curry and Mark Hamil we can expect quite a lot from this game simple from its introduction of the characters. Each voice in the game feels unique and believable when we meet a new character and hear their voice for the first time. The main character’s voice is one of the most distinctive I have heard in a long while and every time he speaks you never expect that voice to come from him.
The main character’s design has been updated to reflect the newer technology at hand, similarly to the backgrounds, however his new look makes him very familiar to George Stobbart from the Broken Sword series. His resemblance to another character isn’t all bad as Gabriel has a personality all his own, of a rather poor womaniser who is an aspiring Author in a deadbeat Bookstore.
The other characters within the game are more stereotypical and can be a bit boring, as you have what seems to be a stuck up photographer, a gullible detective, an angry deskman and an uptight rich woman. Their voice acting is pretty well done however, especially since the voices were redone and overseen during the remake.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
This anniversary remake is one of the better ones I have seen recently, as most updates/redux/remakes only improve the graphics or add in a new graphic engine, whereas Gabriel Knight has actually been built up from the ground with just the story and designs staying the same. The graphics are on par with the remakes and new versions like Broken Sword and similar to Monkey Island.
There are several bugs I found within the demo version, from moving through objects, animations jumping and abrupt ends to speech. Some of the major bugs aren’t game breaking but they can be very off putting, one being where Grace would go to put her coat on and it will float on her and stay there as she walks away. There are also several screens where when you check for clickable objects it will show the word “Scale” when you cannot interact with the area or do anything with the scale.
Overall, Gabriel Knight 20th Anniversary Edition | Sins of the Fathers is a great purchase in my opinion, it’s a great adventure game with some quirks to it and any fan of the genre will enjoy this release. Fans of the first release will love this updated version, even though it seems to be missing a few points here and there, though those could be added in the final release.