It’s funny how much feels new with the Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father 20th Anniversary Edition. From the moment the game begins and the music crescendos, It’s easy to see what’s changed. It’s right there on the title screen, in fact. Instead of being able to just jump into the game, players also get an option to read through a graphic novel talking about Gabriel’s exploits. Think of it as a welcome addition, especially since the original game was accompanied by a novel.
Once the adventure begins, more changes become clear. It isn’t just about the graphic novel and music. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father itself has changed in two big ways. The first is the inclusion of an Easy Mode. The original game wasn’t terribly difficult, but there were a few moments where people might need to consult a guide. Easy Mode makes things a little more obvious.
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father looks more modern as well. Gone are the 2D sprites and environments, many of which took forever to load. Instead, 3D characters and rendered environments appear in their place. It’s quite pleasing, visually. It isn’t on par with Telltale Games’ work, but is a definite improvement over the original.
Then there’s the voice acting. Honestly, I was heartbroken to hear everyone had been recast. After all, the original Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father was filled with legendary actors. You can’t top Tim Curry, Mark Hamill, Michael Dorn, and Leah Remini. The new cast isn’t bad, but it just doesn’t compare. It often feels like they’re attempting to mimick the original actors’ performances, rather than make the characters their own. This is especially true with Jason Victor, the new voice of Gabriel.
Despite all that’s new, one thing remains the same. The gameplay in Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father is just as consistent now as it was 20 years ago. It’s encouraging, because the original was sound. Don’t change anything that doesn’t need it, and fans will be reassured to know this face-lift is improving only the things that really needed touching up.
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father 20th Anniversary Edition is a game that needed to make a comeback. It was a classic, and given the recent resurgence of adventure games, it’s good to see Gabe again. So far, it looks promising and it will be exciting to play through the whole game again.