A fan-made adventure fit for a king?
I’ve generally had a pretty average experience with fan-made games. While I recognise that it takes a lot of time and effort to make a videogame, in most of the fan-made games I’ve played, the graphics are mediocre (understandable on a practically non-existent budget) and the plot often starts well but progressively gets weaker through the game. I am of course basing this on my limited experience of this style of game production, but I have yet to play or see any fan produced content which absolutely stunned me, while I have to say that the ‘Metal Gear Solid’ fan made movie came close (if it wasn’t for the ridiculous plot additions & the fact that it wasn’t really wrapped up, and the producers don’t know if it ever will be).
‘The Silver Lining’ is a fan produced addition to the ‘King’s Quest’ series of adventure games, which had its beginnings in 1984 and pioneered the use of animation and pseudo 3D environments. I have to admit to not having followed this series, so I don’t really know the full background to this game, but from what I can gather, Graham of Daventry went through many quests and was ultimately made the king of Daventry, an honour which passed on to his son, who is attacked on his wedding day by a mysterious force, and left comatose along with his blushing bride to be. Graham promptly dons his ridiculous adventuring attire and sets out to find help amongst the neighbouring kingdoms.
The first thing I noticed when gameplay began was that ‘The Silver Lining’ is not only played, but also largely scripted in the third person, with a narrator explaining the action, rather than the character. While this adds to the fairytale atmosphere of the game, it often stands out as being tacked on, and I found it largely unnecessary & even distracting at times. I assume that this is a staple of the ‘King’s Quest’ franchise, so I don’t know whether to put it down as a criticism of this game specifically, or whether it’s just not done as well in this game as in the non fan-made games.
It can’t hold a candle to its contemporaries in the adventure game genre
The graphics are one of the biggest giveaways that this game is fan-made, and not developed by a professional company. While playable, this game certainly isn’t attractively rendered or visually pleasing, but I have played games in this genre with worse graphics, which claim to have been made by professionals, which sets this game slightly below average in terms of graphics. Considering though that it has been made without any serious budget, I think the level of the graphics the developers have attained is something for them to be proud of.
The biggest letdown for people who have been waiting for this game however will be undoubtedly be the content. I would like to think of myself as a fairly experienced adventure gamer, but none of the game’s puzzles came across as even remotely challenging, and finding objects of importance was made unfathomably easy by the lack of objects which can be interacted with. I think that the most time consuming part of this game was walking from place to place, with no option to run or double click to skip to next area function, travelling between locations became a real chore.
Overall, while ‘The Silver Lining’ may please some fans of the ‘King’s Quest’ franchise, it will leave most wondering why they waited 8 years for it. The relatively short play-time and lack of challenge mean that ultimately it can’t hold a candle to its contemporaries in the adventure game genre, and while it may be a treat for some hardcore fans, most people probably aren’t missing out on too much.
The Bad: Incredibly short, lack of interactive content or challenging puzzles.;
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