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Ratings by Intense Degree

Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror

Stars - 40

Rating by Intense Degree posted on Aug 13, 2012 | edit | delete

It must be said that this game isn’t as good as the first, but it is still a great game. To be fair, the first is among the contenders for the best game ever so matching it was going to be tricky.

Voice acting is once again great, graphics are lovely sound is good too. The storyline is not as focused as in the first one, there is not the same sense of urgency, and a bit more of a sense of humour and whilst this isn’t necessarily bad it does give a different feel from the first game.

One of the problems with the game is that you get no real sense of what is going on to make you save the world again. In BS1 there is emotional involvement from the beginning with the clown bomber and a group of people who must be stopped, but even Nico’s kidnap in BS2 does not shed any real light or give any emotional involvement with the “evil masterplan” at work in BS2, which comes across rather as an afterthought than central to the game.

Some of the puzzles are a little more “peculiar” than the average ones, but most if not all are logical and not too difficult, although (in my opinion) not too easy either (i.e. Zombie Island).

Having said negative things, this is still a good adventure and well worth playing, there is some good character work and writing and it is, on the whole, a good story and whilst it maybe a little shallow in places it has depth in places too.

So, maybe not as good as BS1, but still a great game.

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Time Played: Over 20 hours

King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

Stars - 45

Rating by Intense Degree posted on Aug 6, 2012 | edit | delete

Childish? No, a classic with some depth.

Firstly, an admission. As I first played this game at about 13/14 years old it is difficult to view this game with anything other than early/mid 90’s specs on! However, I have just replayed this game on my Android phone, thanks to the good folks at Scummvm, so will try and give it some balance.

KQ6, for me, is the game where Sierra finally got everything together and made a really complete classic of a game.

Looking at it now it does, at first, seem a bit childish with the nursery rhyme references and the black and white distinction between good and evil. However, a closer look reveals a good deal of depth to the game. Take the manual for instance.

This is one of the first Sierra games which Jane Jensen really assisted with and the attention to detail and depth of the world which she became famous for, amongst other things, with the Gabriel Knight games is evident here from the manual. I don’t think I have ever seen another manual which I have enjoyed reading as much.

Copy protection, the Starforce of its day(!), was all the rage and the infamous cliffs of logic puzzle in this game is not solvable without the manual (at least in theory). However, gone is the “what is the x letter of the y word on page z” type of system and instead we can read and enjoy a well written and informative manual to decipher the clues to the cliffs of logic.

Anyway, onto the game itself.

Although the story is a continuation of the series, you do not need to have played any of the other games to be able to appreciate the story without feeling that you are missing out on a lot of backstory. I remember being absolutely blown away by the graphics of the intro at the time, although it looks pretty poor now by today’s standards.

The different islands are interesting and varied, each one having its own character and style, from the wacky Isle of Wonder to the classical mythology of the Isle of the Sacred Mountain.

The characters are well voiced although not particularly deep and filled out, however considering the style of the game this is not really so important. The puzzles are a mixture of easy and harder and the game does a really good job of opening up the game world bit by bit so it does not get boring.

Graphics are great, soundtrack is good (although “girl in the tower” isn’t for everyone!) and the story itself, if you’re into that style, is a good and well written one.

The bad? Well death is common (although I personally do not mind this as long as I remember to save regularly) but there are no shortage of “walking dead” situations which force you to re-load an earlier save if you didn’t pick up something earlier etc. which can be very annoying and is a long way from where the genre is today. This can get in the way of the story which is a shame.

Also, the “high fantasy” type story line will not interest everyone. If you need a gritty realistic storyline then this will not be for you.

Overall though, what this game does well is nearly everything and unless death in a game or the possibility of having to backtrack is an absolute no-no for you then you need to play this game!

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Time Played: Over 20 hours

Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars

Stars - 50

Rating by Intense Degree posted on May 22, 2012 | edit | delete

Professional, Memorable, Exceptional.

Sometimes, not often, but sometimes everything just seems to come together perfectly.

This game and in particular the introduction sequence are an example of everything working perfectly together.

The soundtrack is beautiful, the graphics are great, the voice acting is superb, the writing is good and the atmosphere created is exceptional. And that is just the opening sequence!

There is really very little to criticise about this game, the story is a good one, the puzzles fit well and are not too easy and not too hard. The main characters are all brilliantly written and acted and the soundtrack is achingly beautiful in parts.

Stylistically, the game is serious and involved but with a good injection of humour at the right times and places that adds much to the personality of the characters, particularly George, and keeps the game moving along nicely. The feel is therefore light and heavy in all the right places, never getting too serious or too silly, yielding a very pleasing result.

Although some people get upset about “that goat puzzle” there is really nothing of substance that takes away from this game at all. Brilliant and recommended to all.

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Time Played: Over 20 hours

Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned

Stars - 45

Rating by Intense Degree posted on May 22, 2012 | edit | delete

Truly great game despite some problems

This game has come under some criticism due to the “interesting” 3D graphics and one infamous puzzle amongst other things.

Also the control mechanism is not to everybody’s taste. It was brave to try something new here but it was quite hard to get used to and I don’t think I was really comfortable with it by the end.

Personally it was great to see the “real” Gabe and Moseley back and whilst Tim Curry has come under fire for his performance here I thought it was fine, or at the least I was so pleased to see him back I didn’t care!

The other big change in this game is the feeling of space and time. It is set in a sleepy French village and the pace of the game really reflects that with time seeming to stand still throughout most of the game. However, this is not a bad thing. The story, and at least one of the puzzles, are probably the most complicated in any game, there is a lot to get your head round and the relaxed pace helps with this. That said, there is not the same sense of urgency, moving around and getting things done that the first two had. In short, the game is different from the first two in many ways.

It is, however, still a really good game. The characters are not quite as dynamic this time but are still interesting and the slight loss of personality really comes from the blocky 3D rather than less good writing on Jane’s part.

The feel of the game verges more on an “experience” in some ways than a game, but it is a good one and one in which you need to immerse yourself in to really get the most of this game. Having said that, there are no lack of puzzles, characters and everything you would expect from a traditional AG. Casual players may well give up on this within minutes, but if you enjoy a challenging and involved AG then this is a must.

Despite the criticism above, this is a very good game by Jane Jensen, and that really tells us all we need to know.

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Time Played: Over 20 hours

Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within

Stars - 45

Rating by Intense Degree posted on May 21, 2012 | edit | delete

Brilliant FMV.

[DISCLAIMER - here there be much personal opinion]

When I first got my hands on this game a while after playing GK1 I was ridiculously excited. I loved GK1 so much that I couldn’t wait to get stuck in to the sequal.

However, I actually initially gave up on playing it after about 20 minutes. And the reason? It wasn’t the transition to FMV, the move to Germany, the different feel and pace.

It wasn’t the Gabriel I knew.

Now I’m not just talking about looks here, clearly even Tim Curry doesn’t look like good old pixelated Gabe from GK1, it was the change in personality.

For me one of the biggest pulls of GK1 was the character of Gabriel. But here in GK2 he was bland, somehow all the edges were rounded off and (I’m sorry but this is my opinion) he was somehow American-sitcom-ised. At first I was so disappointed I stopped playing.

However I did come back and boy am I glad I did. This is, to my mind, the finest example of FMV. Once again the story is excellent but the characters steal the show. Whilst Gabe in GK2 I’m not too bothered about, Von-Glower is a masterpiece. Brilliantly written, exceptionally acted and probably the most intriguing and charismatic game character ever. All the members of the hunt club and their relationships are excellent too, brilliantly written and acted.

The story is a great one and the 2 parallel investigations of Gabe and Grace keep the depth and intellect of the first game with the more visceral parts of Gabe’s investigations. The game draws you in an keeps you interested and the replay value is very high too.

With a better Gabe this would be 5 stars from me. However, I know many people then Dean was brilliant so only half a star goes.

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Time Played: Over 20 hours

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers

Stars - 50

Rating by Intense Degree posted on May 21, 2012 | edit | delete

A "must" for every adventure gamer.

This is simply my favourite Adventure Game of all time.

Despite (by today’s standards) a horrible user interface of well over 7,000 cursor icons (possibly a slight exaggeration) and what now appears to some to be dated graphics, what this game does well it does so well that 5 stars are justified.

The Characters are first rate, as is the writing and general level of background detail. The story is gripping and definitely the most “grown up” story I had played when it came out. The way the story progresses over the days is excellent too.

While the voice acting splits opinion I think it is excellent, from a surprisingly all star cast (Luke Skywalker and Lt Worf? Really?!). To my ears, the narrator and Tim Curry are excellent as is pretty much all the rest of the cast.

Whilst the puzzles are quite hard in places they are generally logical and pleasing.

No other game has drawn me in like this one and I have lost count of the times I have replayed it.

This is a must for every adventure gamer. Don’t let the graphics or anything else put you off, seriously you won’t even notice these things after 15-20 minutes.

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Time Played: Over 20 hours
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