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Phoenix Online Remaking Gabriel Knight 1

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It's a good thing IMO, that Activision is willing to test the waters of their old Sierra IP's. They've been sitting on them for so long now without doing anything, so this might be a good opener to finally start seeing the other IP's revived as well. And I do like GK series.

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Pretty excited. Wish MGX was a new GK but this is certainly not something to be sad about

 

Yeah, I had also hoped for a new GK. All the more so since Sins of the Fathers is as much of a perfect game as Sierra ever released IMHO, so the remake is going to face some tough scrutiny. Living up to the original won't be an easy task, but I really wish them the best of success with it!

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I view this as simply a pebble over the river in terms of Jane/Robert getting back into the groove of GK and making GK4. It will be awesome to see GK:HD, but I honestly doubt with the graphical style and digitized music that I'll enjoy it on par with the original. But I guess I'm a hard guy to please ;)

 

Anyway, this is very important, as tomimt said, seeing people granted IP usage and it does pave the way for others. Most of the major series now have been revived to a degree, or are one hit game away from the opportunity.

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I'm not all that fond of remakes of things that were great in the first place, so I'm not going to bother cranking up a wine install for this. However Tawmis mentioned downloading the beta, so maybe he will report back some general impressions here (detailed feedback belongs in the backer forum at pinkerton of course)

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Gabriel Knight 20th Anniversary Beta

 

Not the unmitigated disaster I anticipated, but it‘s still quite an unoriginal by-the-numbers remake and whenever it differs from the original game, it‘s usually for the worse. Can‘t blame anyone but Activision, though, they were the ones who apparently insisted on remaking GK1 instead of doing something new. (Hell, spending the same budget on an episodic „Gabriel Knight mini-adventure“ would have been preferable to the highly ungrateful task of remaking one of the very few Sierra games that absolutely does NOT need a remake) It's by no means a bad game, but the main motivation for making it seemed to be for it to be successful enough to warrant a GK4. And frankly, with the current hostility towards adventure games in the gaming media and the potentially problematic content of GK1 in particular (A game featuring a womanizing white guy fighting an evil voodoo cult? Cue faux outrage!), I can't see that happening.

 

People seem to be fairly disappointed in the beta. Too bad. I was hoping it would work out better, but I can't say I'm surprised that it doesn't really take off. Still, I'll probably play the game when it comes out. If only for the revamped soundtrack, which sounds pretty killer. But yeah, I'd prefer a Gabriel Knight 4 as well. Or maybe a re-release of Gabriel Knight 3 so I can actually play it; it's hopelessly broken on Windows 8.

 

Also, I really shouldn't be touching this, but as for the "faux outrage"... am I correct in assuming that "Moebius" is your baseline? Because 2-3 disgruntled reviewers and a minority of anti-Phoenix players having a legit excuse to not touch the game does not an "outrage" make.

 

I also don't perceive any hostility towards adventure games, but then again, my knowledge of what goes on in the gaming press is peripheral at best. Maybe it's because many of the Kickstarter projects that have seen release have been treading waters as to how the genre should be treated. Many of them (BS5, LSL1:R, Moebius) seem to be 1980-1990's games, redressed with pretty graphics. Doing something that's already been done to perfection normally doesn't sit well with gamers; look at the reception "Batman: Arkham Origins" got for not being revolutionary.

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Ugh. That does not bode well for the game  :angry:

 

Do you have any examples of what was cut out handy, or would you prefer not to disclose that here?

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the Monkey Island special editions

 

Little bit off topic, but you know how they redid 1+2 to make the graphics fit in with 3+4...

I thought it would have been way better to do the opposite, redo 3+4 with the graphics of 1+2,

would have made them seem far more Monkey Islandy.

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Doing something that's already been done to perfection normally doesn't sit well with gamers; look at the reception "Batman: Arkham Origins" got for not being revolutionary.

Yeah, which is pretty much precisely the reason GK20 will have a hard time finding its niche. Thing is, a remake of GK1 probably would have made more sense if it came out 10 or even 15 years ago. Back then, someone who played GK1 might have thought "Ewww, look at those pixelly VGA-graphics! This oughta be SVGA!" On the other hand, today we have games that deliberately go for a GK1-like graphical style. A game with good pixel art graphics is more highly appreciated than a game with mediocre "modern" graphics.

 

I absolutely agree that a GK3 remake would have been nice. I never played the original since the whole thing just feels like an unsuccessful attempt to marry traditional point&clickery to a 3D environment, resulting in clunky controls and graphics that have aged terribly.

Also, I really shouldn't be touching this, but as for the "faux outrage"... am I correct in assuming that "Moebius" is your baseline? Because 2-3 disgruntled reviewers and a minority of anti-Phoenix players having a legit excuse to not touch the game does not an "outrage" make.

 

This kinda belongs in the political correctness debate thread, but whatevs: No, it‘s not just Moebius, it‘s become a fad in gaming "journalism" to jump on the being-professionally-offended bandwagon and take a holier-than-thou stance whenever the opportunity arises. Adventure games seem particularly vulnerable to bullshit criticisms since a lot of these games don‘t have a huge (marketing) budget to spend, so reviewers can feel free to tear into them at their heart‘s content for additional totally-not-corrupt-professional-reviewer street cred.

 

I‘m not saying that GK20 will cause some kind of hitherto unseen cataclysmic shitstorm (After all, why go after the little guys when complaining about a lack of female/coloured/LGBT avatars in Assassin‘s Creed makes for that much better clickbait), but faux outrage is bound to happen to some extent. In an atmosphere that brings forth gems such as this, anything is possible.

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Do you have any examples of what was cut out handy, or would you prefer not to disclose that here?

Most of the discussion on the Pinkerton board revolves around stuff being randomly shifted to other parts of the game (for example, the visit to Grandma on Day 1 is now delayed until Day 4). The most glaring omission so far seems to be that Hartridge's office seems to be gone entirely. Perhaps they will put it back in a later build, but so far the conversation between Gabriel and him takes place exclusively in the lecture room.

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Oh. Hmm. The grandma visit I can at least understand. If I remember correctly, the book has Gabriel visit his grandma around day 4 too. Though it's not immediately apparent to me why they'd find that approach better; in any case, it doesn't make much sense for him, narrative-wise, to go visit his grandmother all of a sudden.

 

Hartridge's office, on the other hand, is a loss. I sure hope Gabriel isn't going to stumble upon his corpse in the lecture hall. Having a dead body in there without any students or staff noticing would be yet another case of "Phoenix logic" (let's fly across the U.S. to get a bottle of liquor), which seems to have supplanted the dreaded "Roberta logic" (yessiree, that slice of Gouda can really juice up your magic wand) - these days.

 

Sam's ad saying he's at the Napoleon House is also a bit... yeah. I think these devs need to consider whether something like that would truly ever be able to happen in real life. If the answer is "no", don't implement it.

 

But yeah, let's wait and see what's going to happen. The ad for the jewelry shop would be easy to fix; simply have one of the nondescript New Orleans houses be "Sam's Jewelry" and post an "OUT" sign on the door. The game world only gives him so many places to go to, and there's only one Sam in it. I suppose the only way to deal with Gabe visiting granny would be a bit of railroading. And Hartridge's office probably isn't the most difficult location to implement compared to others.

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From what I've seen of the remake, I definitely prefer the original. The makeover's character portraits, voices and animation aren't great. Unfortunately, the makeover does have a relatively cheap feel to it. This is surprising to me, since I thought Activision was involved in making this one.

 

But maybe for people who can't play the original for whatever reason, this will be a good option.

 

I wonder how many people will be willing to pay for an inferior version of a game they've already played or could get for less money, though. If the continuation of the series depends on the success of this remake, then I don't feel too optimistic. But who knows.

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Yes, it's very strange to me that Phoenix Online would choose to do an almost purely aesthetic remake when their games are always criticized for bad visuals and poor animation. Their one comparative advantage is the writing talents of Jane Jensen, yet they aren't even using that here.

 

Very odd, but ultimately probably just an attempt to get a shot at GK 4.

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Yeah, Activision was funding it as a project for some other dev, with Jane's supervision,  before POS took over and I've understood most of the artwork is done by that oter dev, including the portraits. Maybe it was, that Activision wasn't happy with the quality or that the other dev was going over budget, I don't know.

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Glad to see that my prophecy of doom as far as GK20 reviews are concerned has gone unfulfilled so far. (Polygon, Kotaku - don't fail me now!) Hell, the Rock, Paper, Shotgun piece is actually worth reading.

 

What does it add? Ghastly new puzzles. They’re described in the bonus features as being intended as “surprises” for returning players, and yes, they are, in much the same way as a rattlesnake in your toilet or half a worm in your apple.

 

I didn't get to play a lot of it, but so far I'm quite impressed by the amount of polish they were able to apply since the beta launched. No way did I expect them to fix anything but the most glaring (read: game-breaking) glitches, so it's quite impressive what they were able to do within a few of months.

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So let me get this straight....they're complaining that a remake of an ADVENTURE game made a bad decision by adding PUZZLES....to an ADVENTURE game. Something that would make the experience of playing a remake of an ADVENTURE game more fresh and interesting. What in the heck were you expecting?

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I don't think anyone is complaining that there are new puzzles. I think they're complaining because they're just logic puzzles that seem to break the immersion. I haven't reached any of the new puzzles yet, but I can see what the people complaining about this mean. Gabriel Knight is not Myst, and if the new puzzles don't really add anything to the story (the main focus of this game, IMO), I believe it's fair to ask why the heck they're there.

 

That said, I'm giving Phoenix the benefit of the doubt. I like what I'm seeing so far, even though Jackson Square really suffers from lack of proper collision detection. Either that or Gabriel is channeling Patrick Swayze in "Ghost".

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