Review by X_Caliper
One of a Kind Game with Great Female Characters
This game is beautiful and unique. It could be one of a kind, really. It does have its issues which have been well-covered here. Overall I recommend it, though, because the main character is special, as are the other characters in the game. It is rare in a game, or movie or anything really, to see such lovely, competent female characters who are dealing with a difficult world in such realistic ways. The men in the game are charming, handsome, and... bad news for the women in the game. I recommend it especially for young people because they can identify with Zoe, a lovely character although somewhat naive.
Gameplay: The gameplay here is mostly in your own imagination as you play. This game is like a book that takes you to far off lands. The puzzles are not meant to be difficult, they just serve to carry on the story. There are a couple of times where stealth is used which I did not enjoy. The character's inventory and talk/look options are also not so intuitive, at least for me and the camera was not good for stealth. The fighting was silly, of course. Although I did enjoy Zoe's gym class at the beginning of the game quite a bit.
Story: The beginning, in futuristic Casablanca, just drew me into its world. In it, we see Zoe interacting with her friends, her father, her ex and each conversation suggests the long history these people have together effortlessly. I just loved being there and peeking into Zoe's life. I wanted to know what happened to the people I met there. The story continues into many other areas, but with never as much detail or realism. The ending feels rushed and manipulative, to me, not to mention the loose ends which are such a shame! I think when a story hooks you, and you play a game for many hours, it should provide answers. This is so disrespectful to the player, and amateurish, too, to leave you hanging after all we had been through.
Graphics: This game has beautiful cities and environments which truly add to the experience. Stand outs for me were Casablanca, the Underground City which was like something out of a (real not a horror movie) nightmare, and a library which housed every word ever written. The characters are the best part of the game for me, and they had great body language, too. You could tell someone's basic personality, or the relationship between two characters, just by the way they walked, sat, or stood.
Playtime/Replayability: This game has maturity and intelligence about someone trying to grow into true adulthood. I think that makes it worth a replay, certainly. It is complex and wordy, and a replay may help the player see things that they didn't see before. I myself would like to see these people again, I just want someone else to play the sneak sections!
I think Dreamfall would make a great gift, especially for people who don't play games a lot, enjoy exploring in a game, or for a young person discovering themselves.
Product Release: Dreamfall: The Longest Journey (US, 04/18/06)
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