King’s Quest Chapter 3: Once Upon A Climb Review
King’s Quest Chapter 3: Once Upon A Climb Review
If you like beautiful scenery and light puzzles, this game is for you.
Posted: 05/01/16 | Category: Review | Developer: The Odd Gentlemen | Publisher: Sierra | Platform: Xbox one, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Windows

Genre: Adventure
Release date: April 26, 2016

The third chapter of the new King’s Quest has been released. I’m not sure what to think of the series. In my opinion, Chapter 1 had fantastic visuals but had Graham acting more like Guybrush Threepwood, with an emphasis on comic relief. The characterization was all wrong. Chapter 2 lessened the comic relief aspect, and told an intriguing story about being trapped in a Goblin  dungeon. I felt Chapter 2 was superior to Chapter 1. However, many Sierra fans disagree with me, thinking the first chapter was the better game. Chapter 3 is now on my doorstop. It retells the tale of when Graham met his wife, Valanice. This is an elaboration on the end of King’s Quest 2.

I slowly launch the game with cautious optimism.

The Story

Once again the game is framed with Graham telling stories to his granddaughter Gwendolyn. This time, Gwendolyn asks about Queen Valanice, her grandma. Valanice’s birthday is coming up, and Gwendolyn needs to choose a gift for her. Graham starts the story as he approaches the tower where Valanice is held prisoner. This segment was originally at the very end of King’s Quest 2, but is now retold and expanded.

Chapter 3 presents some serious retcons from the original King’s Quest stories. The bulk of King’s Quest 2 is Graham’s quest to rescue Valanice from her tower prison. When he finally gets there, he rescues her and she becomes his queen. The story is of the journey, not the romance.

In Once Upon a Climb, when Graham climbs the prison tower, he finds two princesses - Vee and Neese. Graham is now also trapped inside the tower, and only true love can break the spell. Graham must court the princesses while trying to escape the tower. Hagatha, the witch who imprisoned the princesses, also lives in the tower. Some friends from previous episodes make an appearance, such as Whisper the Knight, the Hobblepots, and Princess Madeline of Avalon.

The game's written to be a light-hearted adventure, and it succeeds. The humor is natural. I criticized Chapter 1 for portraying Graham as Guybrush Threepwood in a King’s Quest setting, but this chapter didn’t use Graham as comic relief. Graham is a nobleman here, and although silly things surround him, he retains a cool, calm demeanor. He’s also been instilled with an unhealthy love for puns, but in the context of this game it works.

The Production

The art style is amazing, and it’s the best thing these games have going for them. Chapter 1 was a sight for sore eyes. Chapter 2 took place primarily underground, leaving us only with dark corners to explore, and frankly, that made me sad. With Chapter 3 we’re back outside where the landscape is wonderful and the colors pop. I love the look of this game.

The voice acting is, once again, top notch. All the actors deserve praise for their performances. Christopher Lloyd knocks it out of the park as Old Graham. Although I was unimpressed with young Graham’s voice in the earlier episodes, the actor grew into the role.

One of the biggest complaints about Chapter 1 was the lack of a skip dialog feature, so the developers added a ‘skip cut scene’ feature in Chapter 2. It was an improvement but not up to contemporary professional standards. Unfortunately, Chapter 3 doesn’t improve on this.

The puzzles in this game are primarily mini-games or dialog puzzles. A seasoned adventurer will go through the game quickly — I spent about three hours on it. I’d have loved to see some more interactivity built into the game, but I don’t have too many complaints about what was there.

Final Throughts

If you’re a fan of King’s Quest, then this game is worth playing. Take a couple of hours to escape reality in Graham’s shoes. If you like beautiful scenery and light puzzles, this game is for you. If you’re a fan of old-school adventure games, you’ll find this one lacking in interactivity. Although fun in its own right, the new King’s Quest doesn’t live up to the standard of the old King’s Quest.

Amazing graphics
Light-hearted story
Superior voice vcting
Light on traditional adventure game-style puzzles
System Requirements
OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 @ 1.86 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ @ 2.4 GHz
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: GeForce 8800 GT or Radeon HD 4770 / 512 MB
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Hard Drive: 13 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
Specials from Digital Download
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