There really is no other way around it, so I'll be blunt: King's Quest Chapter 4: Snow Place Like Home is the weakest entry in the series to date. More numerous puzzles replace the previously clever ones, substituting quantity for quality and while the narrative itself continues to remain charming, overall my decisions felt as though they lacked some of the punch found in earlier entries.
How you feel about this episode will no doubt boil down to your impressions of the prior chapters. The linear story reminded me of chapter 3, and while there are a couple of very memorable moments and one twist in particular that I enjoyed, it was not enough to carry King's Quest Chapter 4: Snow Place Like Home over the hump that plagues so many penultimate chapters in episodic adventure game such as this. It is interesting, because some part of me is compelled to compare these King's Quest chapters to the titles produced by Telltale Games, because there are so many similarities in both structure and execution. One of my biggest gripes about most of the Telltale Games titles is that the penultimate episode usually lets me down, and it appears that King's Quest fell into the same trap.
So first and foremost - puzzles. You will get a lot of them here, but they never really felt like part of the story, at least early on. Also, they were quite traditional and not nearly as clever as those found in the earlier chapters of King's Quest. I am all for having more puzzles, but in the end they began to feel like padding when coupled with the really linear narrative. Admittedly, both the quality of the puzzles and the story itself got stronger as the episode went on, but the early going was a bit bland for my tastes and began to feel like a string of missed opportunities.
Graham still makes for an immensely charming lead, and the talented voice actors continue to breathe life into their characters. However, the dialog did them few favors in this release, especially during the earlier stages of the chapter. It does not help that puzzle failure means having the same introductions and end sequences over and over again, adding repetition to an already somewhat dull affair. It does help that in this chapter some of our earlier choices finally pay off, and maybe the same will hold true of the decisions Graham makes here in the last episode, but the overall feeling of being underwhelmed persisted until right before the end.
Much like the abundance of puzzles hurt the overall pacing of this chapter, I can't help but come away with the impression that the very slow release cycle around these chapters is doing the same thing to King's Quest. It is hard to believe that this series kicked off in the summer of 2015. That is a very long, disjointed release pattern. I do hope that the final chapter does not get rushed out of the door - a satisfying conclusion will go a long ways towards the final impression that Graham's adventure leaves us with. I think it will be an interesting exercise to go back and replay the entire game after the final chapter releases, because I have a sneaking suspicion that the episodes will work better within one another in the grand scheme of things when they can be played in rapid succession. By contrast, the slow release schedule makes each one stand on its own and King's Quest Chapter 4: Snow Place Like Home is simply not up to the task.
The Odd Gentlemen
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Article by Nick