This was a (not) fun past week. Coming back to work after three unexpected snow days (thanks, Canada’s weather!), I found that my work laptop had bit the big one. This was a pretty fierce blow for a few reasons: I had a great seven-year run with the machine and considered it fairly trustworthy, I lost some files, and I was using it during lunch breaks to get through this gaming series. While I was able to retrieve many files afterward, I couldn’t get the Quest for Glory IV save game files to work on another computer (and believe you me, I spent over an hour trying to troubleshoot that).
Long story short, this is where me and Quest for Glory IV part ways.
While it’s unfortunate that I wasn’t able to finish the game, I had gotten to a part that I couldn’t figure out how to advance anyway, as the next event trigger… didn’t trigger. And more than that, I have come to a realization about this series. I don’t really like these games.
Oh, I appreciate Quest for Glory for what it is. If I was playing this back in the 1990s, I think I might have even loved it. But looking back over the four games that I’ve played in this franchise, I see more frustration than delight. The RPG mechanics are weak and mainly serve to hold the progress of the story back, and the time gating of certain events made me grind my teeth together.
Yet there is plenty to appreciate, especially in QFG4. The visuals, voice acting, and world building are top-notch. I really liked the cartoony large character portraits and the hodge-podge of horror characters that ran through this game (most notably the fireplace mantle creature, Igor, and that lady in the lake). There are some funny puns, and when the game lets me get past the RPG stuff, there’s a solid adventure here.
Still, I wasn’t having that much fun with it in the end. I kept feeling like I was wrestling with the game to let me progress, to find whatever triggers needed to happen to advance the plot, and after a while I got sick of it. I also wasn’t a big fan of roaming around on the open world (which needed some sort of Quest for Glory 3 quick travel map option) or fighting at all. At least there was the auto-combat function, but at that point, why bother even having it at all?
In short, I might as well have been playing King’s Quest or a regular RPG. Sometimes hybrids work, and sometimes they can’t get the mixture quite right. I know this sets me at odds with a lot of fervent fans of the series, but it needed to be said.