Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

very good
key review info
  • Game: Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
  • Platform: PC
  • Gamepad support: N/a
  • Reviewed on:
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The longest journey to make a sequel! The longest journey to play some really good point-and-click adventure game. The longest journey to meet April Ryan again. The journey took me to Dreamfall! Welcome! Tell a friend! "Dream on!" is not ironic any more. Who wants to wake up from Zoe's dream? Forget the word "real" for some time. Let's play a game. Let's say it's a game... Sweet dreams are made of this Dreamfall experience. Fans of the first title of the series or future fans of Funcom's game, this is an adventure you must not miss!

Story
The game's action is set in the 23rd century, where the young and troubled Zoe uncovers a plot involving dreams and the linked worlds of science and magic. Miss Zoe Castillo is a young chick, a college dropout living with her father. She has just broken up with her boyfriend, Reza and tries to find a purpose for her boring life, when everything goes berserk. While watching TV one day, Zoe gets a message from a little girl that tells her that she must find April Ryan and rescue her. At first it seems to be just a viral add, but when it happens again she starts to be afraid.

April Ryan is the key to Zoe's way out or maybe through this mysterious universe. In The Longest Journey the young April discovered that our world (named Stark in the game) has an alternate magic version called Arcadia. The girl had to restore the balance between the two worlds and got caught in the intriguing plot. Zoe, a young biology engineer from Casablanca must save April, traveling between Stark and Arcadia in her unique and intriguing adventure. It figures that April saved the world 10 years ago. That's the really cool aspect of the game. It answers tons of questions the first game left us with. The storyline is superb, but I was a little disappointed by the end, because it brings up new question marks.

However this is a trilogy and the third part would better pop up soon (considering that there was a six years distance between the release of The Longest Journey and Dreamfall). Confusing plot? Let' not forget that the story is narrated by a girl in a coma. Oh, didn't I tell you? At the beginning of the game you'll find the young heroine in a hospital bed, in a deep coma. She starts telling the story of the events that brought her to the present situation.

Concept
Dreamfall is a great adventure game, the successor of one of the most acclaimed point-and-click adventure games ever: The Longest Journey. OK, we have a brilliant story. Dialog must be of the same quality, right? The lines are pretty original, characters are good actors, but sometimes i just felt the need to skip some discussions when the folks were just asking each other how the weather was or what they did the night before. Funcom implemented some sort of battle system, not developed at all if you ask me. Press the right click and hit the beast! That's about it. Oh, and you'll have to keep your eye on the health meter above, because you either kill them too easy or they strike first killing you in just seconds. And by they I mean some sort of orcs and soldiers.

Some of you may have wondered why is the game rated M for mature. It contains some innuendos and liberal language that most of adults would take with a smile. I couldn't help wondering why is there so much snow in Dreamfall's chapters. It figures the writer is from Norway, maybe that's the reason, maybe not, but the atmosphere it gives to the whole gaming experience is superb. The controls are clearly designed for consoles and you know what that means: weird camera angles at some points in the game. Mist? Syberia? Indigo Prophecy? The Longest Journey? No! It's Dreamfall with the best of the best aspects taken from all of the games above. Far from being predictable, the character's personality is very well defined. She'll swear in situations where you would swear too, she'll kiss exactly when it's the peak of the romantic moment, she'll panic in crisis situations.

Gameplay
The game is divided into 13 chapters, let's say levels . It seems that Funcom was not afraid of the number as they gave the gamers 12 levels to explore plus one to leave you with your mouth open asking for me. The thirteenth chapter is the ending one, so-called ending I'd say (does trilogy ring a bell?). The puzzles are way too easy, comparing the game to the first part. When talking to other characters you have numerous choices in the continuation of your dialog. You can lie, change the subject, or answer questions the way you choose to.

Fans of The Longest Journey, unite! I'm sure that you missed April Ryan. Well, she's back! She's one of the playable characters of the game. Few puzzles in the game imply using objects as most are "to-do" puzzles, like hacking or lock-picking. Maybe Funcom thought that puzzles would be blocking the comprehension of the extremely intricate plot and they placed the objects in the same room with the puzzle they're needed in. I mean, come on! Matching symbols? That's not much of a puzzle. Where there's combat, there must surely be some stealth action and you'll have to sneak to get past different rooms or foes. Interaction with objects is pretty basic as they get highlighted when you approach them and with a press of a button you'll see what they're all about.

Where's the map?! Some of you might have had this tormenting question. You won't need one, trust me, because levels are not as huge as you'll imagine and all the roads that you can take are logic. Where's the fun of exploring if you have a map? The game might seem pretty easy and it takes about 10 hours to finish. Mister Wonkers, a pet robot gorilla adds some fun to the seriousness of the progressing action of Dreamfall. He reminds Zoe of her past, makes jokes, records her daily schedule, leaves her messages from her ex-boyfriend, gives her advice (I have to buy one of those). You'll visit the home town of Zoe, Casablanca that has huge skyscrapers built near cute little Mediterranean-style houses. Take a stroll through the Japan of the future or Marcuria, the largest city of Arcadia.

Video
Graphics stunned the point-and-click adventure fans in 2000, when The Longest Journey emerged and they will be stunned again with Dreamfall. Great backgrounds and great character design transport you to the world of dreams in which Zoe navigates. Staring at an abyss beneath you, or the traffic of space ships in the sky is what the environment makes you do. The characters animations are well done, specially the movements and speech. The shadows are however, a bit odd at times, mostly when Zoe walks on ice, or areas covered in snow.

Bad hair day? That's what I can say about the characters of Dreamfall, as their hair is kind of not well drawn leaving the impression that they all have wigs. Lighting is the strong point of the game's graphics fitting perfectly any scene, be it cutscene or gameplay. Cutscenes fall really at the right time, with the breath-taking backgrounds and great character design. You'll have a bit of "The Ring" feeling when you'll see the little brunette girl whispering stuff in Zoe's visions. Camera gets confused in some corners or when climbing or descending stairs or rocks. The visuals are OK, but this is no hit as it doesn't push the hardware to the extreme. You'll feel some lack of interactivity with the surrounding areas sometimes. Female character as a main character? I just have to say this: she walks around in her underwear people! Imagine that. And she's a good-looker also. Don't imagine you'll be walking all the game in undies, but there are some parts of the game where you'll forget about the background in favor of miss Castillo's asset.

Sound
Last year I got nostalgic and I played The Longest Journey again. The game appealed to me more than before and I enjoyed the soundtrack so much that I listened to the songs even when I was not playing the game. Dreamfall brings back the calm music, that brought me long nights of peaceful sleep thanks to the first game and I must say that Leon Willet is a genius. Lovely British accent for the leading character Zoe Castillo, complemented by the actors of this soon-to-be saga. Welcome to the duel of ladies. April and Zoe come together in one pack: Dreamfall, voiced by Sarah Hamilton and Ellie Conrad Leigh. Thank God for the well-written dialogs otherwise listening to them would be hell, because they are so loooong. Sound effects are brilliant: birds are singing, the wind is blowing, ships are heard when passing above your head, the rain's there too.

Conclusion
I've been waiting for Dreamfall for an eternity! That's what I must say as I am a fan(atic) of the first game and enjoyed each second of the trailers that Funcom released before the real game was out. Knowing that this is a trilogy I can only fear that I'll wait another six years before the third part of the series is released. Dreamfall is a very good adventure, a classic for the fans of the genre, and clearly no to be missed by the fans of The Longest Journey. This is not only a gaming experience, because if you look at Dreamfall from a different perspective you'll see that it brings up concepts like faith, trust, love or freedom. Funcom's game can get you sad, happy or get you thinking sometimes, exposing emotions and situations that a human being might encounter in some parallel universe some day.


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story 10
gameplay 7
concept 8
graphics 8
audio 10
multiplayer 0
final rating 8
Editor's review
very good
 
NEXT REVIEW: Sword of the Stars

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