Author Topic: Mostly Praise: a Novella  (Read 1521 times)

Offline Goldenfoxx

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Mostly Praise: a Novella
« on: July 13, 2010, 06:32:29 AM »
Let me start by saying that along with EA's Starflight games, King's Quest is my favorite franchise of all time.  I've been playing these games since my dad brought home a Tandy 1000 and King's Quest II back around '85, and I've been a huge fan since.  What I mainly want to say is thank you for bringing back, even in a form that basically amounts to fan fiction, a series and a genre that never should have died out.  There were a billion little things that could have gone wrong in a project like this that could've torpedoed any connection I felt to the characters or the official games, but I think you guys largely got it right.  It looks and feels like King's Quest, and I have a feeling if a big-budget company had been behind the project, it probably would not have (heck, even the last of the official series didn't).  

What I think you guys got right... first of all, the music.  As a musician myself, I can be pretty critical and nitpicky about sound and orchestration, but I love what your music directors did here.  It's a wonderful score, and especially in the cut scenes, I love how closely they followed the action.  Clearly not amateur work.  Big kudos to the work that went into all that.   Second, the overall play style.  I've personally always prefered the old parser interface games (I think they require more from the gamer in much the same way books require more than movies), but this feels right, and that's an abstract detail which is hard to achieve rightly.  It so easily could have gone the way of the 1990 VGA remakes (which I still detest), or the newer Tierra remakes (which were excellent games, but I personally felt that their version of KQ2 wasnít all that true to the feel of the series).  For the first time since KQ7, I feel like Iím actually playing a Kingís Quest game, and that is something Iíve yearned for for years now.  You bring the sense of exploration back to an exploration game; while that sounds remarkably obvious, it something a lot of other attempts have missed.  Finally, unlike some other reviewers here, I have always felt a connection to the Graham family.  I mean, I grew up playing these games.  I have vivid and visceral memories of playing each one of them (KQ3, for example, I got the chance to play while coping with the flu and a 102-degree fever back in sixth grade, is still my favorite of the series).  So I appreciate the exposition on the characters.  Only two minutes into the game and thereís already a sense of closure thatís been missing for far too long.  

I wasnít initially planning on writing to say anything other than ďthank you and great job,Ē and I wasnít sure that any criticism would be taken constructively.  But Iíve seen the responses to other fans, and feel I may as well make my point on the other side of the coin as well.  There are only two things which really stuck out like a sore thumb to me.  First is the graphic design.  Now, I know nothing about graphic design, but I have like 5 or 6 friends who all graduated from universities like Full Sail and Atlanta Art Institute, and I know the kind of things they talk about frequently.  I know (in the propositional sense) both how hard and how expensive it is to get everything looking right (and donít give me any of that ďitís stylizedĒ jazz, eitherÖlolÖ), and I think that for what you guys had to work with, the game is phenomenal.  My friends would probably have things to say about the character models or lightning, but the only things which really pulled me out of the moment were the lip syncing and the texture of the Oracleís wings.  In regard to the former, I donít even want to know how difficult that is to get right.  I just know that I could be totally immersed in the game, but then someone would open their mouth.  In regard to the latter, it looks like you just drew the feathers on with a magic markerÖLOL.  Iíve watched my friends try and model individual items of which there would be hundreds on the screen at once (and the programs they use to do it canít even laughingly be called ďaffordableĒ) , so I totally get it.  All Iím saying is that itís noticeable enough as to be distracting.  Overall, Iím just nitpicking here and saying I think you guys did an excellent job (certainly better than I could do)Ö just thought Iíd point out what hit me as odd.

The second thing, of course, is the length.  This, actually, kind of made me angry.  It felt like a prologue Ė which is fine Ė but there was no indication that I saw to warn me that interactivity in the first episode would be completely incidental.  People who download this game have been anticipating this thing for a long, long time, and it kind of feels like youíre playing games with them.  I understand wanting to whet peopleís appetites, but if youíre releasing these episodes in intervals of a month or more, youíre crossing the line with this episode between anticipation and a practical joke.  I sat down with my dinner last night expecting to get into the beginning of the game, only to be looking at the end credits before I was half done with my pot pie.  You may as well have just made this an FMV prologue and released it with the expectation that the actual game starts coming out later.  I was certainly hoping to have a chance and the time to get back into the KQ mindset before I start back to college next month, but now Iím thinking that I might be better served to simply wait on all the episodes to be released and do the whole thing at once.  Maybe I will appreciate Ep.1 more when I can see the larger context, but as of now itís more like a sick joke, guys.  

Anyway, overall great job and thank you for the effort.

            -- Topher
« Last Edit: July 13, 2010, 06:36:40 AM by Goldenfoxx »