With the final chapter of this charming tale in the books, I can safely say that while King's Quest Chapter 5: The Good Knight is not the best episode in the series, it does provide a satisfying conclusion to Graham's adventures.
Episodic games are something of a mixed bag for me. From a reviewer's standpoint, more articles that come in bite-sized pieces are quite the boon. Logging two or three hours in to get a full review written versus having to spend two dozen hours for the same end result has its benefits, but for games such as King's Quest where the narrative is central to the game's success, the long gestation periods can be a disservice as well. It took about a year and a half for The Odd Gentlemen to conclude the story of Graham and his many adventures, and I believe taken as a whole, this series should certainly be experienced.
This final chapter is a short one, especially when weighed against the meaty initial episode. That can be both good and bad, but mostly for me? It was good. There was not a bunch of backtracking that made The Good Knight feel padded. The developers clearly had a vision for how they wanted to wrap things up, and to its credit King's Quest Chapter 5: The Good Knight ties up most of the dangling threads that have been teasing me throughout the prior four episodes.
The material here is pretty serious stuff. Graham is an old man who has to look back on his life. As someone who is not necessarily old, but turned forty this year and has children in their teens fast approaching adulthood, I could appreciate the narrative's willingness to examine how certain moments in our lives can shape our futures in ways we can not possibly at that time understand. When we look back at some of the major events in our lives, years can provide perspective that maybe the 'big moments' as we experienced them will actually turn out to be insignificant when compared to 'the little things' that we grow to appreciate more as the years go by.
If this all sounds like heavy, emotional stuff - that is because it is. Kudos to The Odd Gentlemen for crafting a story that has a lot of emotion to it. There were moments of outright hilarity, charm, sadness and more throughout the entire five episode arc, and to its credit this fifth and final chapter does an excellent job in bringing those same emotions to the forefront one last time as we see this tale through to its conclusion.
However, there are still some issues with the game that have to be addressed. Puzzles throughout the series have been somewhat hit and miss, and they serve as the primary gameplay element that accompanies the narrative. As with everything else, The Good Knight seems to be a microcosm of the rest of the series. There were a couple of puzzles that felt organic to the story and situation, providing clever problem solving that walked hand-in-hand with where the story was at. There were other moments where old school adventure fans might appreciate the challenges in front of them, but the puzzles themselves are either not terribly fun, seem out of sorts with where the story is trying to convey - or worse both. At its best, the puzzles help to create memorable moments that mesh wonderfully with the tale, and at worst these inconsistencies are a distraction from what is really important.
King's Quest Chapter 5: The Good Knight is a short but well-done episode that represents everything that King's Quest has had to offer over its journey. Each chapter taken individually has strengths and weaknesses, but now that the tale has concluded, I will not only recommend this game to adventure fans, but encourage them to play all of the chapters in rapid succession. Having done that now, playing it through twice so I could see how different decisions made along the way impact the story, I can say that on the whole the experience is far more entertaining and cohesive when tackled as a single game without months of downtime between chapters.
The Odd Gentleman
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Article by Nick