Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th-anniversary edition
I’m going to suggest playing a game with glaring, nasty flaws that are inexcusable in every year that it was relevant.
1993’s Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers uses New Orleans as a backdrop for horror and mystery with Southern Gothic flavor. You play Gabriel Knight, a busted fiction author and proprietor of a rare bookstore in the French Quarter. Together with the research assistant you constantly sexually harass, you set out on a path to solving a series of murders in 1993 and discover your twisted origins.
In 2014, it got a facelift with an HD remaster, which is the version I played. Gabriel Knight was a great adventure game, to begin with, and the 2014 version builds on that by removing the pixel hunting rampant in the original version. The voice acting was overhauled from the ground up, and the original cast is sorely missed. I mean, get a load of this cast: Tim Curry, Mark Hamill, Michael Dorn, Leah Remini… It’s a shame they couldn’t clean the audio up because I want to play Tim Curry, grilling Worf about Voodoo Murder. The new voice acting is pretty good, for what it’s worth.
The story is great, the graphics are (of course) a huge improvement of over the original, but the entire experience is marred by character dialog; specifically, Gabriel’s.
Holy shit, y’all, this is pretty bad. Gabe leers at every female character and straight-up sexually harasses every single one. More often than not, he strikes out for comedy’s sake- but it simply doesn’t have a place in 2020, 2014, or even in 1994 when the game was initially released. It crosses the line in the first 30 seconds of the game and just keeps on truckin’ into the egregious. I get where we’re supposed to be going with this… a guy who just can’t get lucky. But other games manage to accomplish this without calling a female cop “sweetie” and talking about how she fills out her uniform (yes, seriously). It’s a script cut right out of the early ’90s and slapped into a modern point-and-click adventure.
Why didn’t they change this part of the dialog? The sexist comments don’t progress the story and only make the main character an unsympathetic creep. It boggles my mind that a studio would expend the resources on rebuilding a game from the ground up but fail to fix or even recognize the worst part about it. Someone could argue that it’s a period piece, and it’s part of the character’s DNA, but… oof. You can do it without having him two steps from whipping his dick out at the beginning of every conversation.
If you can see past that, then you’ll find a great adventure game. Both the original and 20th-anniversary edition can be found cheap on GOG, and are both definitely worth checking out.