Author Topic: Honest but Deadly Review (Spoilers)  (Read 2680 times)

Offline Fierce Deity

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Honest but Deadly Review (Spoilers)
« on: September 22, 2010, 05:35:53 AM »
          I've actually been preparing myself for this review, and now I'm hoping I can get my thoughts across, as well as illustrate my point-of-view effectively so as to not spark a heated debate. I will start off by saying that I will be reviewing both Episode 1 and Episode 2. I avoided stating my opinion of Episode 1 when it was first released because I was well aware that Episode 1 was a prologue or an introduction to the entire game and I was giving the team the benefit of the doubt. Regardless, now that I have played Episode 2, Episode 1 serves just as much a purpose as any other episode, and I intend to share my opinions of my full experience thus far. There will most definitely be spoilers, and I will also share a theory that I have been mustering up. So if you want to avoid anything that may ruin your experience, I suggest you return under better circumstances and at your convenience. Happy reading!

          When starting off Episode 1, I was immediately drawn in to the King's Quest world again. For so many years, I had been without a King's Quest game, and am happy to say that the intro cutscene did a great job in bringing me into the world again. Everything from the pleasant sounds of Austin Hayne's music to the lustrous setting of the Green Isles had instilled that feeling of peace. Of course until Alexander was possessed by a dark force that compelled him to stagger into an isolated room and faint into what may be a never-ending coma. But moving on . . .

          I didn't know what to expect when it came to the voice-overs. I was keeping my mind open for anything, but must admit, the voice actors in the first scene had me impressed. I think Graham, Saladin, and even Edgar had all been cast appropriately. It wasn't until I went down stairs and ran into Oberon and Titania. Titania was fine, if not a little lackluster. Though I imagine the scenario didn't call for a convincing role. The scene was meant to be somewhat "moody" after all. Oberon however (which I have mentioned before) was not what I was expecting. I was looking for a deep voice, much like the Oberon from KQ7. He was supposed to have this whole "Greek god" image going for him, I was expecting a voice that could match it. It can't be helped though, cause the voice-actor that did Oberon, had also done the voice for the Arch Druid. I was also put off by this selection too. I mean, even the Druid who had asked Graham to not set sail into the storm had a convincing "Druid" voice. I don't mean to attack this one voice-actor, but I just don't think his voice matches the characters that he is working with. I brought up this voice-actor so I can show a fair contrast to what I'm looking for.

          Mike Fortunato did the voice for Alexander, Jollo, and the Lamp Seller. I am thoroughly impressed with the voices that he did. He played each role as if they deserved their very own performance, and yet I failed to see any qualities that differentiated the voices of the Arch Druid and Oberon. Alexander's voice, while agitated by the state of his character, was very well done. It was mostly screaming and aggressive remarks, but I would find it awkward had he not reacted in such a way. However, I would like to hear his voice under calmer circumstances. Jollo was spot-on in my book. I knew going into Episode 2, that Jollo was going to be a difficult character to mimic. His voice was very unique, and it was one of my favorite voice-overs from KQ6. Mike Fortunato had pulled it off, and I'm glad to see that it was done so well. The Lamp Seller (another voice I was concerned about), had been done just as well as Fortunato's other performances. There's seriously nothing that I can complain about with Fortunato's work. A tried and true art perfected as far as I can see. Azure had another great voice. While not similar to the KQ6's voice-over, the voice-work in TSL helped define Azure's pompous attitude, no doubt about it. Black Widow was lacking in my opinion, because while the voice-actor tried to fit her role, her voice was not cut out for executing the seductive swagger that Black Widow is known for. Hassan, White Knight, The Ranger, Manannan, and even Hole-in-the-Wall (looking at you Cesar) all did a great job. Any voices that I didn't bring up most likely didn't bother me, but didn't impress either.

                Moving on to puzzles. Episode 1 will be excluded, because I didn't even consider the infamous "coin" to be much of a puzzle. Episode 2 had succeeded in preparing the player with a journey of puzzles by offering them the scroll from the Arch Druid and explaining how the scroll was going to work. I am under the impression that we'll be using the scroll again due to the fact that the spell requires many more ingredients than the three items we had attained in Episode 2. If you watch the scroll as it flashes words and phrases, you'll see other ingredients that foreshadow what we may have to tackle in future episodes. I found this system to be fitting, but I hope it doesn't become a copout for the game. I would like to follow a storyline that isn't one big fetch-quest. Hopefully, the spell will be ready in Episode 3. The puzzles in Episode 2 were fairly easy. The puzzle for getting the lethal liquid once you talked to Black Widow and Jollo was obvious. The puzzle for getting the magical bag was simple, once you read the book in the library. The only puzzle that I found myself stumped on, was getting the key to chessboard land. I figured it out eventually, but spraying water on a vine to make it shrivel wasn't the first thought that came to mind. I went back to the library to read the book on botany, thinking that I missed something. Even after getting past the puzzle, I was still questioning what hint or indication would bring the player to that decision. Getting past the guards was not a problem at all, and with help from Hole-in-the-Wall, the animated vessel was very easy to obtain. I am not being critical with the difficulty however. I thought the very fact that there were even puzzles present made Episode 2 vastly superior to the first episode in every way. I'm looking forward to Episode 3 as well as all of the obstacles that it'll have to offer.

          I find the story to be the most crucial part in an adventure game, and this story in particular is meant for tying up loose-ends. I'm truly hoping the story succeeds in doing so. I'm as big a King's Quest fan as anybody else. I too thought there was potential for another sequel, and was disappointed to hear that there wasn't going to be one. It's the main reason why I even started following the TSL project (or KQIX: Every Cloak has a Silver Lining when I was first introduced to it); I wanted to hear how this story was going to end. The Black Cloak Society peaked my interest in KQ6, and I was looking for some sort of resolution. Sadly, neither KQ7 nor Mask of Eternity had anything to offer. TSL however, has something to offer. By adding their own twist to the Black Cloak Society, they are owning a concept that can either make or break the story. We didn't know anything about the Black Cloak Society before it's minor debut in KQ6. However, we do know the members of the Black Cloaks, all too well. People have already been complaining about Manannan's appearance in the game. "Why is he not a cat?" I'm actually more than positive that Phoenix has an explanation. There's a reason why it was a cliffhanger. I also have formulated a theory that may bring some closure to those who may still be concerned with the story thus far.

          As far as the actual plot goes, I wasn't surprised by a lot of the details. We were all informed that there was a war between the Silver Cloaks and the Black Cloaks. We knew that the antagonists of the previous KQ installments were members of the Black Cloaks. I didn't feel like a lot was revealed, until I played through Episode 2 for the second time. I noticed that Shamir had said that the Silver Cloaks honed a magic that could control dreams. They could bring people into their dreams, and even make their dreams a reality. Didn't Graham mysteriously teleport into Alexander's dream before he went back to the castle? Shamir found the letter that was written by Manannan to Alhazred. In the letter, he mentioned that the Silver Cloaks were making a "return". He then went on to say that he found one of the prophesied children. He was clearly referring to Alexander, and that reference was in the same paragraph as the "return of the Silver Cloaks". Is this to suggest that Alexander is a Silver Cloak? He'll have to ditch that red cape if he is. Maybe Rosella is a Silver Cloak as well. Also, didn't Black Widow say that the trees in Serenia had brown leaves that were turning green? She also said that any articles that were written would lose their print almost instantly. The Map Seller said something similar about his maps. Almost seems like time is steadily going backwards. Maybe that's why Manannan is no longer a cat. Maybe that's why Valanice is struggling with those images of the tower and her younger self. Dreams and time are clearly playing a part here, and I also think I'm on to something. So far, I'm intrigued with the story, and can't wait to continue the journey.

Great job, Phoenix! Overall, I'm impressed. Even if I've found some low points, I think the great quality that I have found elsewhere has more than made up for it. I'm looking forward to seeing more. Here's to Phoenix Online, as well as all of the hard work they have done. Shalom! Or "Cheers" for those of you gentiles.       

                     
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Offline KatieHal

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Re: Honest but Deadly Review (Spoilers)
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 06:11:48 AM »
Thanks Fierce Deity! Hah, you had me nervous with your thread title, I admit, but this is a pretty balanced review. Nice attention to detail there too ;) Glad you're enjoying and looking forward to more! :D

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Offline KQ5Fan

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Re: Honest but Deadly Review (Spoilers)
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 06:53:11 AM »
My theory was that ranger is a silver cloak and brought Graham into Alexander's dream....

Which makes me remember - I thought it was funny that Inception and this game both premiered around the same time and they both have to do with dreams. I actually made a line about it in my comedy contest video, even though I didn't really know that TSL was THAT much about dreams at the time... I just saw Shadrack invading Alexander and Rosella's minds :P
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 07:53:19 AM by KQ5Fan »

Offline Enchantermon

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Re: Honest but Deadly Review (Spoilers)
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2010, 07:37:41 AM »
The only puzzle that I found myself stumped on, was getting the key to chessboard land. I figured it out eventually, but spraying water on a vine to make it shrivel wasn't the first thought that came to mind. I went back to the library to read the book on botany, thinking that I missed something. Even after getting past the puzzle, I was still questioning what hint or indication would bring the player to that decision.
Did you talk to the vines? When you do, at the end of the conversation, they start sneezing and tell you to get away because they're allergic to sea water. That was the hint for me.
So what if I am, huh? Anyways, I work better when I'm drunk. It makes me fearless! If I see a bad guy, I'll just point my sword at him and saaaaaaaaaay, "Hey! Bad guy! You're not s'posed to be here! Go home or I'll stick you with my sword 'til you go, 'Ouch! I'm dead!' Ah-ha-ha!" Ha-ha. *hic* See? Ain't no one gonna be messin' wit' ol', Benny!

Offline snabbott

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Re: Honest but Deadly Review (Spoilers)
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2010, 07:49:29 AM »
Excellent review! As for your speculations... I'll refrain from using the Suffer here. :P

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Offline crayauchtin

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Re: Honest but Deadly Review (Spoilers)
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2010, 10:21:05 AM »
Fierce -- the hint for me, was if you sprayed fresh water on the vines. I tried that and when it let me spray but it didn't do anything, I said... "Maybe it's the wrong type of water...."
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Offline tessspoon

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Re: Honest but Deadly Review (Spoilers)
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2010, 12:23:46 PM »
People have already been complaining about Manannan's appearance in the game. "Why is he not a cat?" I'm actually more than positive that Phoenix has an explanation.     
My first thought was that he still is one in "real life", but was able to make the projection of himself look normal in whatever that dream thing they're in is. That or the BCS figured out a way to fix the whole cat issue entirely. :P

Did you talk to the vines? When you do, at the end of the conversation, they start sneezing and tell you to get away because they're allergic to sea water. That was the hint for me.
That would have helped so much, never thought to try and talk to them.

Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: Honest but Deadly Review (Spoilers)
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2010, 01:17:20 PM »
The only puzzle that I found myself stumped on, was getting the key to chessboard land. I figured it out eventually, but spraying water on a vine to make it shrivel wasn't the first thought that came to mind. I went back to the library to read the book on botany, thinking that I missed something. Even after getting past the puzzle, I was still questioning what hint or indication would bring the player to that decision.
Did you talk to the vines? When you do, at the end of the conversation, they start sneezing and tell you to get away because they're allergic to sea water. That was the hint for me.

Fierce -- the hint for me, was if you sprayed fresh water on the vines. I tried that and when it let me spray but it didn't do anything, I said... "Maybe it's the wrong type of water...."

I didn't think to talk to the vines or spray them with any kind of water. I'll take back what I said about the puzzle. I figured it out by just running out of options and realizing that I hadn't used the spray bottle yet. Still, it was a little stranger than the other puzzles I encountered. 

(Posted on: September 22, 2010, 02:53:20 PM)


Thanks Fierce Deity! Hah, you had me nervous with your thread title, I admit, but this is a pretty balanced review. Nice attention to detail there too ;) Glad you're enjoying and looking forward to more! :D

Thanks Katie. I didn't mean to make you nervous. I was just looking for an original thread title.  :P

Excellent review! As for your speculations... I'll refrain from using the Suffer here. :P

Thanks Stephen, I'd appreciate it if this thread was Suffer-free.  ;) 
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