Publisher: Phoenix Online Studios
Genre: Fantasy, Role Play, Adventure
Rating: E 10+ for Everyone 10 and Up
After King’s Quest VIII: the Mask of Eternity‘s release, rumors abounded about fans making a ninth King’s Quest game to wrap up the series. In the middle of the game’s development some legal trouble ensued and the progress of the game came to a halt, but after numerous fans bombarded Sierra Online and Activision, finally the company allowed them to make the game.
Years later the first episode of The Silver Lining was released. Being an avid fan since childhood, I downloaded this game the moment it came out, but much to my dismay the servers were so overloaded by other downloads it caused a four hour wait! That’s how anticipated this game was by so many fans of the original series. The final episode has yet to be released due to a massive production delay because of loss of data. While we wait, I’m going to review these games to hopefully gain more hype for the series.
On the day of his daughter’s wedding day, King Graham witnesses a dark figure cast a terrible spell on his son Alexander and his daughter Rosella that has made them both comatose. Now he must travel through the strange land of the Green Isles to find a way to disenchant his children.
Violence/Scary Imagery: Nothing of huge note. A few things may disturb more sensitive players such as Alexander’s white eyes when he’s being enchanted or a dark specter seen in the clouds. The only violence in this game is some swordplay and magic used as a weapon briefly.
Language/Crude Humor: None.
Sexual Content: None.
Drug/Alcohol Use: None.
Spiritual Content: Since this is a fantasy game there is a lot of magic, including spells and wizards. They are very incorporated into the plot. Also mythological characters are incorporated into the storyline as well from Greek mythology, Celtic mythology, and other sources. The Arch Druid mentions Mother Nature frequently since they worship her, Fate is also mentioned, and an Oracle divines something for Graham at one point.
Other Negative Themes: None.
Positive Content: Graham is determined to save his children. He is brave, loyal, and wise. His image as a father is very biblical. Many of his lines and actions could easily refer to Christian principals and morals.
The Silver Lining is a point and click game. By right clicking you can select whether to walk, touch, look at something, or speak indicated by feet, a hand, an eye, or a speech bubble. When you walk, you click on where you want to move and double click to run. By touching things you are told whether or not you can pick them up, open them up, or interact with them in anyway. By looking at things you see what they are and often get clues and backstory about the objects and the characters. By talking you can speak to the many characters in the game. You have the option on what you can say to the characters and you have to do a lot of talking to progress in the game.
You also pick up many objects which are stored in your inventory. You can look at the objects within your inventory, use them on each other, and use them on people and objects. This is the exact way the original games were played which as a big fan I was grateful for.
The King’s Quest games were a huge part of my childhood. I loved a world containing all of my favorite fairy tale stories and mythologies. I adored going into the Three Bear’s house, traveling to the Underworld, and defeating many a sorcerer in the eight games of the series. I was very sad when all of them were over–then I discovered this game. From the beginning cutscene, I knew I would love it. Unlike the epilogue/reboot King’s Quest series (Check our review of the first episode!), this felt like the original games in every way, the same tone and fantastical storyline. It’s set in one of my favorite countries of the games to boot!
This first episode of the game is much like a prologue. The story is just getting started and there are a lot of cut scenes. Most of this game is cutscene which may put off some players. Think of it like watching a movie. Throughout the original games, Graham and his family have been targeted by many a witch and wizard and the games never explained why. Finally in this series sanctioned by the creator herself Roberta Williams, we see why Graham’s family is so special. But that’s for another episode. The plot is mysterious and full of magic and old face. You’re constantly wondering what in the world is going on.
Old characters from the previous games of the series return with our playing character King Graham himself. His wife Queen Valanice and their children feature in the game as well along with Alexander’s wife Cassima, Oberon and Titania from King’s Quest VII, Jollo and the Arch Druid from King’s Quest VI, and Edgar first appearing in King’s Quest IV. There are so many references to other characters such as Cedric the Owl from King’s Quest V and Connor from King’s Quest VIII. Nostalgia abounds. For an indie game there is some good voice talent, including the actor who’s played Graham in many of the previous King’s Quest games, Jason Michael Victor.
The graphics are certainly a step up from the original 8-bit (King’s Quest I-IV) and VGA (King’s Quest V-VI). Two other art styles were used for VII and VIII. This game’s style is very similar to King’s Quest VIII‘s 3D style, but it is in far more detail. The graphics move pretty smoothly, but there are some glitches like strange lip movements or unnatural limb positions. This is the company’s first game so I’m not coming down too hard on this.
The score was well done. It carried the fantasy element of the series even with themes alluding to the original games.
The Silver Lining Episode 1: What is Decreed Must Be is a perfect game for fans of the old series. They will be thrilled by the nostalgia and the beginning of the wrap up of the story lines. New fans will be a bit lost and may not enjoy the series as much, but can be inspired to play the original games. Though this game is the slowest of the episodes, it is definitely a great start to his epic conclusion to the King’s Quest series.
The Bottom Line
The Silver Lining Episode 1: What is Decreed Must Be is a perfect game for fans of the old series. They will be thrilled by the nostalgia and the beginning of the wrap up of the story lines. New fans will be a bit lost and may not enjoy the series as much, but can be inspired to play the original games. Though this game is the slowest of the episodes, it is definitely a great start to his epic conclusion to the King's Quest series.