Best Traditional Adventure: The Book of Unwritten Tales
Enthusiasts of classic adventures were generously rewarded for their patience in 2011 with the long-awaited release of the English version of KING Art's The Book of Unwritten Tales. This lovingly crafted, tongue-in-cheek fantasy homage not only lived up to its advanced hype, it shot straight onto our Top 100 All-Time Adventure Games list. This tale recounts the epic journey of four unlikely heroes – elf, gnome, human and critter – as they strive to save their realm from the clutches of a megalomaniac witch, all the while returning adventure gaming to its idealistic, irreverent, inventory-laden heydays in the process. Filled with affectionate tributes to pop culture icons, the game ribs the genre and laughs at itself, but is all business in treating players to a lengthy, substantial gameplay experience.
Though it won no awards in any single field, the game’s consistently excellent production values create an exquisitely rich fantasy world enlivened by ample animation, accompanied by a charming soundtrack and quality voice acting. The eclectic supporting cast complements the charismatic leads and adds significant emotional depth to the story, while the deceptively sophisticated script is both straightforward and wickedly clever. Though the mismatched swashbucklers are immersed in a grand, all-encompassing mission in the eternal battle of good versus evil, the game focuses on tracing their wobbly, uncertain steps outside of their comfort zones, discovering strengths of character they never imagined they had along the way. In doing so, The Book of Unwritten Tales reveals a great heart of its own, and on the strength of its impressive performance overall, the game overwhelmingly earns the crown of our Best Traditional Adventure of 2011.
Runners-Up: Gemini Rue, Gray Matter, A New Beginning, Black Mirror III
Readers’ Choice: The Book of Unwritten Tales
Thank goodness for KING Art’s perseverance in seeing their epic fantasy adventure through two publisher bankruptcies and nail-biting delays to its long-overdue Engish release, as we both agree that The Book of Unwritten Tales was not only well worth the wait, but a runaway winner of the best traditional adventure of the year.
Runners-Up: Gray Matter, Gemini Rue, Black Mirror III, Hector: Badge of Carnage – Episodes 2 and 3
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