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Phoenix Online Remaking Gabriel Knight 1

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I haven't played the game, I'll be waiting for a sale honestly, but as far I know they've added sliding tile puzzle and some sort of wordpuzzle slot machine, which both look like they don't fit at all in the game. I wonder what made Jane think that a sliding tile puzzle was just the thing that was missing from the original design.

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Ah, whatever :p. I like non-plot centric puzzles. Still, if they're not designed well they can still be bad. I think adding some extra puzzles would provide more of a reason to replay it, like I said before. They may just be bad at adding puzzles in that manner, though. I don't think it's a matter of adding what was missing. Some people probably think that's bad anyway, though. Maybe they should have added an option for the original experience or the extra puzzles.

 

I'm not sure what to expect myself because I'm not very familiar with POS's styles of puzzle-design. Never did play episode two of TSL. Nor the first episode of Erica Reed I got somewhere.

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What Frede said.

 

So far I've come across two additional puzzles. One involves an extra bit of plot and is just about the most contrived bunch of bullshit you could think of (apparently they changed that a little due to negative backer feedback, but I haven't played that part in the final version). I did come across the wordpuzzle slot machine and that was total, unneeded shit. And seriously, a sliding puzzle?!? Sorry, but the RPS dude is totally in his rights to call this out for the superfluous rubbish it is.

 

Other than that, I'm really pleasantly surprised so far. The animations may not be top notch, but they did some REALLY good work on some of the things which might have ended up really shitty (such as Gabriel slipping into his coat, which looked atrocious in the beta, or a scene where the fortune teller picks up a snake and dances with it). Some of the animations are really surprisingly well done.

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Other than that, I'm really pleasantly surprised so far. The animations may not be top notch, but they did some REALLY good work on some of the things which might have ended up really shitty (such as Gabriel slipping into his coat, which looked atrocious in the beta, or a scene where the fortune teller picks up a snake and dances with it). Some of the animations are really surprisingly well done.

 

Yeah, overall, the animations are a lot better than those of Moebius, which I'm relieved about. A hunchbacked Malachi Rector stumbling drunkenly around before stopping to pop a pill in slow motion is a sight that will stay with me forever. I have no opinion on the new puzzles yet, as I still haven't reached any of them, so I can't really address that part of your post.

 

The voices are also, much, much better than I had expected. Most of them aren't just good replacements - they're very good in their own right, with none of the wooden acting that sometimes plagued the V.O. of Moebius. Judged solely by the acting and not by the celebrity factor, I actually prefer the new voice of Dr. John to Michael Dorn's original performance.

 

I do wish Phoenix would either learn how to do the 3D right or change styles to something they can handle, to be a bit blunt. The clipping issues at Jackson Square still really bother me. I also had Gabriel walk through the exterior of Marie Laveau's tomb yesterday and I've seen a lot of characters walk through him. And I haven't been trying to break the game or anything. I've just played it in the same fashion I've played the original. At the very least, the remake should be able to cover that ground without any huge bugs. Heck, Grace plunges her foot through the St. George's Books door step at the beginning of each day, and that's a cutscene. 

 

I get that the budget is low, the schedule was tight, they took over from another team, yadda-yadda-yadda, but as much as I want to support these guys, I'm getting a bit sick of the "Sorry about that, we hope you still liked it!"-excuses. This is 2014 - it can't be right that one of the most promising indie adventure developers out there either know next to nothing about collision detection, or, worse, that they simply went "So, he walks through the mime at his first try. No one will notice. It's good enough." No, it's not good enough. If you do not master your craft yet, please don't charge $19.99 for it and don't credit your Quality Assurance Team until they have to balls to point out that there are problems. It gives me the impression that they're a bit too willing to take advantage of the fact that most of us adventure gamers are gonna view this game through rose-tinted glases because it's Gabriel Knight. I'm sure they know the vast majority of players will shrug at these issues because it's Gabriel Knight, and I don't like what that implies.

 

And, should someone from Phoenix stumble across this, I am genuinely sorry for the harsh words, but it's partly meant as a compliment; you're so goddamn close with this one, and that just makes the kinks infinitely more frustrating. Looking at this as a gamer, I just think these problems should have been weeded out years ago, and it's a damn shame that Gabriel Knight now has to pay the price because they weren't. And I have to stress that I really am enjoying loving the game so far, but it is annoying that it should even be remotely tarnished by such superficial issues.

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You should‘ve seen the beta version... Sweet Jesus, that beta version... I was exchanging PMs with some other backers and I remember saying something to the effect that I hope they‘re not serious about the October release date, because this thing was like a year away from anything remotely worth being released. So yeah, consider me really, deeply impressed that they were able to pull off what I expected would take them a year within two months. What‘s even more impressive is that they did actual bugfixing rather than going for Moebius‘ half-assed approach of restricting movement in tricky areas altogether (Amble Dexter‘s office comes to mind).

One thing they didn‘t fix was the title of the book of German poetry. It says „Das Lyrik“, which is gramatically wrong (and makes the author of the book look like an illibured moron). Funny thing is, one of the backers took it onto himself, tinkered with the game‘s files and fixed the title himself, but the correct version didn‘t make it into the final game. I guess JJ decided to keep the wrong title for teh lulz.

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Stuff like that also gets me riled up. Again, you can almost hear someone go "Pah, no one will notice." Trouble is that the adventure game community is arguably one of the most anal ones out there. Of course we're gonna notice; the games we play require us to notice because shitty German grammar could easily be a story clue.

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Aaand the game has now reached an unwinnable state as I have run into this bug. It has apparently been patched, which I am happy to hear, but I still can't continue till the patch is rolled out to GOG.com users  :(

 

EDIT: I tried pulling the trick suggested in the same thread and that did the trick. Still one hell of an ugly bug; I'm glad Phoenix have been so swift to fix some of the most glaring issues with the game.

Edited by Frede

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I still can't continue till the patch is rolled out to GOG.com users  :(

First things first: Two thumbs up for getting the GOG version!

 

986.gif

Also, I'm pretty sure that the patching process will be greatly sped up once they roll out Galaxy.

 

And secondly, I've been pretty impressed with the speed Phoenix takes for fixing things. This is from personal experience, because they somehow managed to misspell my name in the Moebius backer credits (I wonder... How is that even possible? I always assumed that these backer names would be copypastad into some .txt file, but apparently some poor sap had to type a couple thousand names.) I shot them a mail and it was fixed by the time the next patch rolled out a few days later.

 

I know a lot of people were ultimately disappointed with the games that came out of this campaign, but personally, I can say nothing but good things about them.

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I checked Steamcharts just now, out of curiosity, and it does look like GK20h is doing a bit better than Moebius did. The all time peak of players for Moebius was 126 while for Gabriel is 335. Though I don't know if it was that a lot of backers decided to skip Moebius thanks to the poor reviews and chose Gabe instead, or if Gabe is selling much better.

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I've not gotten to play either GK20 or Moebius yet (waiting for Linux port of latter), but most things I've read indicate GK20 appeals to a much wider crowd than Moebius.

 

There is a higher percentage of positive reviews on Steam, and the positive ones seem a lot more enthusiastic, recommending it with a lot fewer caveats, and for both Gabriel Knight fans and new players.

 

Metacritic scores agree that GK20 is much better received than Moebius:

Pro scores 75 vs 54, user score 7.8 vs 6.2

http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/moebius-empire-rising

http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/gabriel-knight-sins-of-the-fathers-20th-anniversary-edition

 

Having read lots of review now, it is apparent that fears based on the rough state of the beta, i.e. there would be an embarrassing release that ruined chance of GK 4, have not come to pass: Gabe's reputation has not been ruined by a dud, so new Sierra is free to fund GK 4 with a proper budget if they want to.

 

Also I suspect most of the people complaining loudest about the remake are probably people like me who rarely appreciate a remake of something that was already so classic. I'd almost like to ask some of those folks complaining at AG forum to list any examples of a classic remake they enjoyed, especially one where the budget actually went down from the original. "Almost" because it's not worth having to register at a forum just to get involved with such a flamey thread :P

 

Speaking of rebooting  classics, I'm still debating with myself whether to watch the new Babylon 5 reboot whenever it comes out, even though it's still the same genius behind it, it's still a remake that has soooo much to live up to...

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Checked out the metacritic site that penguinfan linked (gotta say, that metascore is quite a surprise!). Glad to see that there was at least one gaming rag that didn't shy away from the all-too-tempting "We iz moar progressives nao!" narrative.

You see, Grabriel Knight is, well, a bit of a dick. He’s a sexist and a misogynist, and the game’s dialogue rarely misses a trick in portraying this. [...] In the remake, the language remains the same, but the tone is now one far more endearing, which only serves to - or at least attempts to - validate his misogyny. [...] For those unaware, it probably should be noted here that Gabriel Knight was created by Jane Jenson of King’s Quest fame which, for me, makes it even more baffling as to why she decided to make her protagonist such a sexist prat in these ways, as it regularly feels forced. It could be argued that in 1993 this sort of narrative might have flown a little further under the radar than it does today - but that doesn’t mean it was acceptable then, and certainly doesn’t mean it’s acceptable now.

Such progressive! So critical analyisis! Wow! Note that these are the same assholes that gave Quest For Infamy a 3 bananas out of 10 score solely because of muh soggy knees. And do note that both with GK20 and QFI Strategy Informer is the only publication that gave either game a negative review.

 

Also, lol, they misspelled Jenna Jameson!

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I do find it baffling, that some people think game characters should all be cut from the same cloth, as in being heroic and chivalric and all that jazz. I do wonder why they do feel like writers should shackle themselves in regards of what kind of charcaters they write.  Some people do kind of miss the point in that to write something is not the same thing as to advocate something.  Not always atleast.

 

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Gabriel Knight is a sexist asshole, and I think it's fair enough if some people can't see past that. I think it makes him endearing, and the other characters often get to one-up him, making him the butt of a lot of jokes. It makes the outcome of his romance with Malia all the more heartbreaking and it paves the way for a series-wide character arc. He's a lot mellower in The Beast Within as a result of his experiences in the previous game. As opposed to someone like King Graham who's essentially a walking cardboard cutout throughout the King's Quest series. I don't think it has anything to do with "progressiveness". Seems that some people just don't like human ugliness in their games.

 

I completed the game yesterday. I'm not gonna write a long-winded review, but here's my personal low-down:

 

Pros:

  • The cutscenes are brilliant. Especially the new cutscene in the police station, as well as the way the ending plays out.
  • The music is (mostly) great; there are still some cues that sound like overcompressed crap (listen to the way the drums drown out everything in the Gedde Mansion theme), but there are fewer of them than there was on the pre-release soundtrack. The new take on the Voodoo Museum cue is awesome.
  • The animations are much, much better than Moebius. I'm so happy Phoenix are finally using motion capture. No more drunk hunchbacks!
  • The new voices are surprisingly good, with the lone exception of Wolfgang Ritter whose accent is a Frankensteinian mess of German and American accents. It didn't take long before I had gotten over the loss of Curry, Hammill, Remini and Dorn. In fact, the actor playing Dr. John manages outstage Michael Dorn, in my opinion.
  • The remake sometimes manages to outcreep the original. The rope-skipping girls outside the police station freaked me out and Hartridge's dead body looks a tad grislier to me. I wish Phoenix had let the horror element shine a bit more, cause when they have the balls to do so, they pull it off better than I expected.
  • I love that Gerde, Schloss Ritter and Rittersberg have been retconned to match the more realistic way they're handled in the sequel. No more Disney castles, nor snowfall in June. And Gerde is confirmed to consume food other than a truckload of potatoes.
Cons:
  • The vase-busting cemetery squirrel, Sam's advertising campaign, the Ask-the-Loa machine and the Ritter crest slider puzzle are all - to be frank - moronic additions. The new stuff should have been optional. The former two could have been written by Roberta Williams in her overrated, Cheese Machine-writing "prime" and the two latter, while being relatively easy to solve, don't fit into the narrative at all. The only positive thing is that the first one allows Willy Walker to be even more of an asshole. "I said $120, m'sieur." That made me laugh.
  • The game is still buggy as hell. Now that I've finished it, I feel that my rage against Phoenix was way over-the-top, but it still kinda tarnishes their reputation to me. Why not wait 1-2 months longer before releasing it? Big Finish pulled it off and I'm sure that time helped them make Tesla Effect more stable. It amazes me that the QA team weren't able to find the Moseley's wallet bug on their own and it gives me the (wrongful, I hope) impression that the testers frankly aren't very good at their job.
  • The graphics are rather good most of the time, but sometimes, they also drop the ball. Like Richard Corbett mentioned in his review, some of the gritty locations in the original game are now clean as a whistle. Not the biggest of problems for me, but the graphics often just aren't as atmospheric. Some screens, like the Dixieland Drugstore, are welcome exceptions.
Ultimately, while I think the cons are pretty big, I feel there are more pros to this game. I do recommend that fans of the original play it, and I hope we might see a re-adaption (rather than a 1:1 remake) of The Beast Within some day, if not a Gabriel Knight 4.

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Wolfgang Ritter whose accent is a Frankensteinian mess of German and American accents.

Sadly enough, that's a fairly accurate description of how I sound like in real life... :(

 

No more [...] snowfall in June.

Thanks to global warming, this is sadly also very close to becoming a reality. Ron Paul tried to warn us...

 

But yeah, summers were still summers in 1993, so this is very much a welcome addition.

 

The rope-skipping girls outside the police station freaked me out

Agreed! That's definitely one of the "Hey, Jane Jensen's still got it!"-moments for me.

 

Why not wait 1-2 months longer before releasing it?

I'm sure they would have if they could. But in all likelihood their contract with Activision stated something to the effect of "Have game ready by Oct 15th or we'll have your assetts and your balls." It was very obvious that the game had to be completed in an incredible rush (like I said, the beta I played felt like it was a year or so away from release-worthy game) and I'm really amazed that the pulled off to make a pretty good game under such conditions.

 

The vase-busting cemetery squirrel

Damn, now I have to replay the beta version days! That squirrel wasn't there when I played it.

 

I'll take at least partial credit blame for how that puzzle turned out, since I called the puzzle as it appeared in the beta version "complete bullshit" in Pinkerton's feedback thread. Here's how it originally played out: GK needs $20, checks every other place, goes to the cemetery, notices that he now can visit the family tomb for some reason, checks out the family tomb, BANG! vase asplodes, 20 buckazoids appear, The End. Like, it wasn't even a puzzle as such, it was just pixel hunting. Other people voiced similar complaints while there was also a user who argued that this gave the scene a spiritual quality - as if his family was watching over GK. I guess that spiritual quality is gone now (unless of course that squirrel was sent by the almighty himself to help GK on his quest to buy a crocodile mask :o ).

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The "puzzle" probably wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that the cash register in St. George's books is said to contain about $20 worth of change that Gabriel cannot pick up. A couple of millions worth of blood money, giving away a $20 gift certificate (seriously, what is it with Jane and her 20 bucks?) and stealing from the dead? All peachy. But using your own revenue to help you save the world from the clutches of evil? No way. Someone needs to introduce Jane and her team to Occam's Razor; if I need $20 and the cash register miraculously contains $20, then the game better allow me to pick up the $20 without throwing divine critters at me.

 

Of course, I wasn't aware that Activision had Phoenix on a leash to that extent, so I guess it makes sense that the game had to come out now. Okay, that makes me a bit more forgiving, but I still think Phoenix are repeating a few too many old mistakes.

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I'm pretty sure Activision is the one who shelled out the moolah to produce all of GK20th, they were the money bags before they shut that other dev down before POS and I doubt Jane or POS shelled their own money in order to do pick up the pieces and put it together. That's why they can't release Linux version of it for an example, as Activision wouldn't allow it.

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That's why they can't release Linux version of it for an example, as Activision wouldn't allow it.

For real? Jeez, I can't even begin to... Just... WHYYYY? I guess Bobby Kotick is too busy counting the billions that Cowadoody rakes in to check the Humble Store, or else he'd know that the Linuxers are always the ones who are willing to spend the most.

 

Just a short anecdote about tight leashes and Jane Jensen being awesome and such: When the Pinkerton Kickstarter was still going, I contacted them about whether the physical copies of their games would require Steam. And about five minutes later I get a reply from Jane Jensen herself that was basically two whole paragraphs. So not only did I learn that Jane Jensen can type lengthy, articulate and friendly replies at a superhuman speed, she also let me know very straightforwardly that while Moebius was going to be DRM-free, the situation was different for Mystery Game X, since a major publisher is involved.

 

Now fast forward to two years later: Not only did she keep her word about Moebius, she apparently also managed to get the higher-ups to agree to not only release GK20 on places like GOG on day 1, but also convinced them to let her produce a limited, backer-exclusive quantity of physical copies of GK20. In her final studio update she said that she and Robert "fought very very hard for some things" and I would not at all be surprised if the DRM-free GK20 releases was somewhere near the top of that list of battles.

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Mentioned to my fellow adventure gaming family members that GK 20th has been getting favorable reviews from others who played the original (consistent 90-some positive in Steam reviews), and now my sister is lobbying to do a playthrough in wine... maybe I will end up trying it myself after all, remake of classic or no :unsure:

 

You can bet I won't get cranky like some of those AG posters though, coming into this with more reasonable expectations of what a low-budget remake can achieve...

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I'm still going through Broken Sword series for the first time,  finishing 4 and then play 5, then we'll see what comes next.

 

You're really going to play Dreamfall episodes as they come out? I'm planning to download the 1st chapter and run it just enough to check it plays ok on my computer then wait for the whole thing.

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Even if I'd say I'd just try it to see how it feels like, I know I will end up playing the first book through. I couldn't resist playin BS5 nor Broken Age. I doubt I could end up resisting a game I've been waiting since I played Dreamfall ages ago.

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On the topic of GK, POS has released a demo in Steam and after trying it I must say I liked it a lot. Gabes voice is my only huge issue, he sounds like a mix between Elvis and Tim Curry. But other than that it does look like a solid game.

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On the topic of GK, POS has released a demo in Steam and after trying it I must say I liked it a lot. Gabes voice is my only huge issue, he sounds like a mix between Elvis and Tim Curry. But other than that it does look like a solid game.

Say, what part of the game is in the demo? If it's Day 1, I can assure you that GK's voice actor gets a lot better as the game progresses. That was something the backer feedback was unanimous about. Unfortunately, they didn't have the time or the resources to rerecord the early lines.

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