Micro-Review: Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

Posted by | December 7, 2008

This game made us cry.

We wept like little baby voces who had just got coal for Christmas, and it was strange because we knew what had to happen. Dreamfall is one of those games that starts at the end. Except the difference is: the beginning is without context, without a sense of presence; a perfect, crystalline introduction without emotion…

With all this talk about Funcom and what their current holdings are doing to their company we just had to hearken back to this beautiful game and its predecessor. We still remember the day that we got The Longest Journey (the first one, this review is of the sequel) opened the box with melancholy hearts and read the end of the instructions.

“Dear Funcom, my girlfriend/boyfriend left me and took all my CDs and games with him/her, please help!” it read. And we thought: Wow! That’s exactly what happened to us… The advice was precious. “We can’t promise to make you feel better, but we can certainly help you forget for a little while. Come into our world.”

And into their world we fell. Head over heels.

Dreamfall introduces some new aspects to adventure gaming not seen in its predecessor. Namely an ungainly form of combat that involves a bit of button mashing and paying attention; but it was easy enough to get a handle of. The biggest problem that we find with the combat, though, was that it was totally tacked on. It wasn’t necessary for the game to be well rounded. These are adventure games, after all, point-and-click is more than enough for us. We don’t need the excitement of a sword battle to be immersed.

The old worlds of Stark and Arcadia are back in full force with the interesting addition of strange government conspiracies and a weird little girl who seems to be reaching out to tell us something. The main character is a little scrapper named Zoe with some love interest issues. We’ve left our previous heroine, April, behind in the predecessor and we missed her dearly. (Psst, she’s in this one too.)

The plot splits itself between Stark and Arcadia in ways that The Longest Journey didn’t by giving us access to several characters rather than just Zoe to tell the story. However, really this one is Zoe’s story and we love her for it.

The story unfolds with Zoe tracking down strange emanations from a weird little girl who wants her attention for some unexplained reason. Ticking away like petals falling from a flower, revealing secrets, unveiling strange politics between Stark and Arcadia—including some flittering folklore about Arcadia and scintillating technological dramas about Stark.

Visually, this game is awe inspiring. It is beautiful to look at. Moving between scenes is rarely a problem and it’s always a new experience seeing a different environment before. The stunning vistas are worthwhile and compelling.

Be forewarned. The ending of this game will hurt your heart; but you will be a better entertained person for it.

Funcom! WE WANT MORE!

Last year we were promised downloadable chapters, but they haven’t unveiled themselves. We have been waiting.

Until then…

Goodbye.

 


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