Developer: Red Thread Games
Release Date: 10/2014-6/2015
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The Good: Dreamfall is back! Interesting story, fantastic voice work, excellent characters, engrossing atmosphere
The Bad: Extremely short, confusing and segmented story, almost no gameplay, frustratingly slow pace, poorly optimized graphics, non-existent facial animations
The Longest Journey was a game that got me into point-and-click adventure games. Released in 2000, The Longest Journey was a fantastic adventure with extremely memorable characters and an original and awesome story. It also looked good and kept you hooked unlike many adventure games of the time. Dreamfall: The Longest Journey was released with mixed reactions. While it was a technical marvel and did well on Xbox, it didn’t feel like a game, and too many other gameplay ideas felt shoehorned in. Despite that, it also had a fantastic story and was very memorable to me.
I was extremely excited when I heard about the Kickstarter campaign for a Dreamfall continuation. Of course it was in development before and had some problems which I felt would effect the current. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t, but Dreamfall Chapters isn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. The atmosphere is here, Zoe is excellent like she always is, and the voice acting is awesome. The gameplay feels more similar to the original, but the story itself is so segmented and it just feels like it doesn’t have much direction.
I wake up in the Dream world where I help people out who are stuck using Dream Machines, which is something Zoe tried to stop in Dreamfall. This felt right, and it was familiar. However, this entire “tutorial” level was one chapter. Imagine paying $40 for this game and only got the tutorial level as your first taste? Absolute bullshit. The second chapter has you playing as a male named Kian escaping from a prison. What his purpose is isn’t discussed as his escape is 20 minutes long and that concludes the entire second chapter. Again, another huge disappointment.
Chapter 3 is the longest clocking in at about 2-3 on its own. That is if you talk to everyone and interact with everything and get lost as many times as I did. Being back in Stark is nice, but holy fuck is this town as confusing as can be. I got lost so many times, even with the directories laid around. There are no landmarks and the entire town is just poorly laid out. Despite that there is literally zero gameplay to this. There’s some useless segment in which you are putting algae into a river for your school research. I felt this was the most pointless filler in the game and was a huge irritating disappointment. The game moves at a snail’s pace as it is, but we don’t need this. Unraveling pieces of the story is like pulling teeth as the events seem trivial compared to the bigger picture like the previous games. I understand this is an episodic game, but nothing here shows me, or helps me, that I can look forward to Book Two. While I will be more than happy to play it, I just didn’t expect this after playing the last two games.
Dreamfall Chapters is too early in development to see if this series has been killed or not. Hopefully Book Two’s pace picks up a little bit and we get a bigger grander picture to the events unfolding. For $40, this game is not worth it. This feel like a $10 game at best. I absolutely love the Dreamfall series, but I feel episodic releases aren’t the right direction. The game looks really well, but it poorly optimized and requires a ridiculous amount of power to render. I would stare at a huge vista at 90 FPS then look over to a wall with some lights and drop into the teens. What the hell is that about? I also noticed the facial animations are nearly non existent and the textures look a little weak. The entire game just feels a bit janky and sloppy, but hopefully it will get worked out.