A complete playthrough of Phoenix Online Publishing's 2014 PC horror adventure game, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father 20th Anniversary Edition. Game was recorded running in 720p with all details turned up to their highest settings; video captured with Fraps. Final score: 354 of 362.
For the original DOS version on which this is based, check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbjXuPa1uW0
This is a complete rebuild of the 1994 CD version of Jane Jensen's 1993 Sierra On-line graphic adventure, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, featuring updated graphics, music, interface, some retooling of a few puzzles, and a ton of bonus content.
I'm really torn on this game. The story has always been phenomenal, and this does little to change that, but the presentation doesn't feel right. It's probably me just being stodgy since I played the original many times over the years, but while the backgrounds and the new cinematic scenes look excellent, the character models are beyond terrible. Everyone is damned homely (even though their teeth look nice with the lip-syncing ;) ) and the animation is incredibly stilted - humorously so when people walk right through objects.
The new interface makes the game MUCH easier than the original was, and the couple of puzzle changes thrown in seemed entirely unnecessary... that actually felt like out-of-place interruptions.
I mean, seriously - Magentia Moonbeam won't help you translate the message if you can't win a game against her spiritual cash register. You now have to pay $120 for Willie (the croc mask), and to come up with the other $20 Gabriel now has to smash an urn left at his family tomb to somehow discover a $20 bill stuck inside. Or now, instead of just taking the tweezers and magnifying glass from the counter at the beginning, you have to dig around in a cabinet underneath. Sigh. The game also seems to arbitrarily take away some of the freedom you had in the original game: there are many locations that cannot be visited until the game decides to let you. For instance, Magentia can't be visited until day 6 in this version! There were many viable paths that now (for whatever reason) have been cut off, making the story feel much more linear.
The music, as expected, is great. While I do prefer the original version's mixes better, there's no denying the quality of the compositions here. It is a pity, however, that they're buried beneath the subpar voice acting. I get that the original recordings weren't usable, people change, and that those actors would cost A FORTUNE, but look at what Dean Erickson did to reinvent Gabriel in The Beast Within: he didn't just ape Tim Curry's interpretation of Gabriel, he made it his own. All these guys do is attempt to mimic the originals, and they aren't that convincing. The narrator, especially, sounds really off in many of her lines.
I'm not totally sure what I expected, but I was really disappointed. It's still a good game, and I did enjoy it, but it felt a bit empty. For such landmark game, GK really did deserve a larger budget. Apparently Jane Jansen, for all her gaming might, is only human. Were my expectations impossibly high? Probably, but I would have gladly waited another year and paid twice the price to get an experience that felt as personal and as special as the original game. This one feels a bit cheap and disrespectful in how it "celebrates" 20 years. Go ahead and play it, you'll probably enjoy it. Just don't expect too much.
____________________ No cheats were used during the recording of this video.
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