Review by MarkusIII
Excellent story - mediocre game.
My expectations for this game were really high, to say the least. In most reviews or stores it was deluded into the genre of RPG (Role playing game, for those who did not know). And it was said that you were to explore big mystical worlds, play with three characters, go on big epic quests, solve puzzles and so on. In my imagination I saw this game as one of those typical RPGs where you can upgrade your characters with skills and stuff to make them stronger, a non linear game where I could freely roam the worlds how much I wanted. However, I did really get the wrong picture of the game with all this info, since it in fact was not at all as I thought. I have never played The Longest Journey that came out 6 years before this, I would probably have known a little how this game would have been if I would have played that before.
Surely, this game has cool environments and mystical places, it has three playable characters, it has some puzzles here and there. And on the big whole, the whole game is a epic quest to seek out the truth, but still, it just feels the whole time that something is not right, and that something is missing. But what really is making you play this game is the totally awesome story, it has the best and deepest story I have experience in a very long time. To not spoil anything, or ruin the excitement and greatness, I will not mention too much of it here, and besides this review would have gone on far too long. But to put it up briefly; The game consists of two worlds called Stark (reality world) and Arcadia (fantasy-dream world and you play as a girl called Zoe, the main victim of the game, another girl called April Ryan, and a male warrior named Kian. And withing the game you will travel between worlds and play as all three, and solve each of the characters own little problem. How Zoe became this victim of dreams and magics, you will have to play the game for to find out. But I tell you, the story itself is a clear 10 out of 10, easily.
GAMEPLAY - 5/10
So yeah, you travel between these two worlds, and in them you do all kind of things, but still, things to do is very limited. The main thing you do in the worlds is to run, run and run. It could be seen as a pretty linear game, it is like take this, run there, he is there, go see him then come back, much stuff is like that. Run there come back. And in between all this running, we have some really simple and very boring combat. Luckily, these combat situations does not occur too much. In combat you have one block button and one attack button, and of course one to steer the character. And as I see it, I would rather have seen these stupid combat moments vanished, they do absolutely not make the game better or anything, they are plain and simple just there for being annoying and boring. And if they so necessary wanted to have combat, why the hell didn't they take some time on doing it instead of this simple crap ?
We also have some puzzles tossed in here and there in the game, which are all often very easy. Except one musical puzzle, which had no structure at all, you just had to chance in which order the tones were to go. This puzzle could have been so much better if it had been done with structure and finesse. And sadly most puzzles lack of finesse, since, as I said...most puzzles are very easy. But so is also the whole game.
Other than these two spots, you dont do anything else than running and talk with people. Very monotonous and boring in the length. Its lucky that most conversations are interesting to follow since they are important for the story. Anyway, I do not see any connection with a RPG game and Dreamfall, except cool worlds and great and exciting story. This is more like a linear and mediocre adventure game.
CAMERA/CONTROLS - 7/10
Well, the controls of the game are pretty easy to use and there is not really much to complain about in this section. Other than the combat controls of course, which I have explained already, they are really simple. The player can turn the camera exactly the way you want it, and often works very well. In combat though, it is harder. The camera angle can sometimes change as you circle and then suddenly burst into the wall, and then you dont see anything. Luckily, its out from the wall pretty fast and then its just to punch on. I would have preferred though, a little more challenging combat system and combat controls.
GRAPHICS - 7/10
The graphics look pretty good, especially in the environments. In overall, the graphics are fairly generic, not too great but not too bad either. If we should talk graphics in terms of details and so, here though, the graphics are pretty bad. If you see them in a far distance, it may maybe look really nice. Though the closer you get to something you do really see that the objects are not really that well made. But still, the character design is pretty good, and they all move in a normal way. The exotic and mystical places of the game do really look awesome if you see it from far (if it is a big place the graphics is the best). Ive seen games with better graphics, but for sure games with worse too.
SOUNDS - 8/10
The sound and music is not a thing that you notice too much of while playing. There are some cool sound effects here and there, but in between it can be just silent and you only hear the running of the characters. Though, when music actually appears, its mostly nice and atmospheric music that fits very well in the situation. The voice actors of the game are really good, and seems like they have done this before. Tha manuscript that is written is very well done too, and the actors offers great feeling and vivid speeches.
Dreamfall is a simple and quite easy game, and also quite linear and monotonous. It does though have a really really good story, that made me struggle through all the chapters of the game. So the game is absolutely worth playing through, just for the story, if the story had not been so gripping and exciting I would probably have quit playing the game at the 3-4 first chapters. The game does have other bright moments here and there though, but sadly, they are too few to save the game. Also, the side title of the game is a liar statement. The Longest Journey is a big joke. The game is really short, it did take only about 10-12 hours for me to finish it, way too short in my opinion if the game is called The Longest Journey...Somewhere inside, I do really feel that Dreamfall has the potential to be so much better, if the creators had done this game more like it was said to be; a RPG. If this had been in a RPG-style where you could have done side quests, upgrade your characters, have cool and fun combat system and so on, then it would not have been so linear and monotonous. But the game mostly fails in funny and variated things to do, and the whole game play falls flat. If I had been able to, I would have given the game a 6,5/10, but its not possible here, so I give it a 6 instead of 7. The lack of variation makes it more a 6.
There are many adventure games out there that are better than Dreamfall. If you have other games you want to check, check out those game before this and maybe wait until the price is mid/low, and then buy it and see if you like the game. If the creators should make a follow up to this, so lets hope and dream about that it will be more challenging and not as non-variating as this game. Let it be 6 more years, and that they really think and come up with something great, and with the same godlike story. So now then, dream, Child....
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