At first Gabriel Knight’s bad voice acting and terrible graphics caused the game to seem irredeemable to me, but after a while, the charm of New Orleans and the bizarre murder story sucked me in, and I’m glad it did.
I’ve never played the original Gabriel Knight games, nor even had I heard about them until I was given this new and remade edition to review, so I won’t be doing any comparisons between the two here. Just a heads up (*sorry to the hardcore fans of the original game and series).
The story begins with a series of strange images flashing up on the screen, soon you hear a gasp and find out it was all a dream Gabriel (the main character) was having. After that enlightening cutscene you are given full control of Mr. Knight and a slap on the butt to get going. You find out very quickly that there had been some strange (and I by strange I mean ridiculously brutal) murders, spreading out around town. Gabriel Knight sets out to find out as much as he can about these murders, and who is committing them.
I don’t really have any complaints about the gameplay, and I can’t honestly criticize it because I’ve never liked point-and-click adventure logic. It’s still fun and rewarding in it’s own way though, and I definitely can appreciate it, I’m just not really a fan.
I will say I didn’t care for (and complained a significant amount to my fellow BG’ers about) the voice acting, it was rather grating at times. And I take back what I said earlier, I will make one comparison to the original games; I went and looked back at the old voice actors and… well let’s just say I liked them significantly more… initially. As time went on though, I did find myself getting used to it, and even after a while, enjoying it. I can’t deny that Gabriel Knight’s voice, as annoying as it was to start out with, with his almost mock New Orleans drawl, is now burned into my mind and even kind of likeable.
Sadly, where I did get used to the voice acting over time, I can’t say the same for the graphics. I understand it’s a remake of a game that came out in 1993, and not liking the look of it may just be my spoiled eyes, which’ve become accustomed to the look of modern PC games. Still, I feel like if during dialogue you’re going to bring up windows with the characters faces, you could at least try to sync their lips to the words. Gabriel Knight’s animating doesn’t even make it close and it, even as a remake, looks like a game that came out in the ’90s.
Although I didn’t care for the looks of Gabe, honestly, the music was good. I thought. The first few dozen times it repeated. After hearing the same tracks multiple times though, it got a little annoying. I actually ended up turning it off when I went to some locations, which should tell you something.
This was a short review for me, but there’s not a whole lot to say about Gabriel Knight in my opinion. It’s not great, but it’s not bad either. My biggest problem is the good things weigh equally with the bad, thus making it mediocre.
It was okay, but I don’t see why some people consider it a classic. I sure as heck wouldn’t want to play it again, though I am glad I played it the first time for a few reasons. The story is intriguing, and after a long while the main characters are likable too, so there are some saving graces for what’s otherwise only a serviceable game.
I wouldn’t say pass it up, but I would say make sure to buy it on sale.