If you’re a fan of adventure games, you’ve probably played The Longest Journey and Dreamfall. If not, stop reading this and go play them. Quick!
For me, playing through ‘The Longest Journey’ was kind of a chore. I admit, I needed to resort to some googling to solve a few puzzles. It’s all worth it, though. Such a great world. Or, I guess, a great couple of worlds.
‘Dreamfall’ was one of those games that me and my wife could play together. Meaning I played and she watched. While the puzzles and visuals were all top-notch, it was the story that really stood out. Great storytelling, great voice acting. I loved it. I played it on the Xbox360 (using the original Xbox-era game disc), and some of the cutscenes were so long, the display actually went to sleep partway through. You know how it dims when you don’t press any buttons for a while? Yeah.
I was super-excited when they announced a Kickstarter campaign for ‘Dreamfall Chapters.’ See, ‘Dreamfall’ ended in a cliffhanger, and it took a lot of years for anything to happen with it. There was talk (if I remember correctly) of a Dreamfall-based MMORPG, but that seems to have become Funcom’s ‘Secret World’ (which I played a while back on a Backlog Sunday). Maybe. Don’t know for sure, and I don’t feel like looking it up. In any case, we’d have to wait for the resolution of that cliffhanger.
I backed the ‘Dreamfall Chapters’ campaign, getting myself a t-shirt and some other goodies along with the game. And then I had to wait some more. In fact, I’m still waiting, since ‘Dreamfall Chapters’ is being released episodically, something they weren’t originally planning on doing. The game is being developed by Red Thread Games, which is comprised of many of the guys and gals who developed the first two games, including the creator, Ragnar Tørnquist. It’s a small team, and this is a big project. They’ve been upfront about delays and problems, and are working to do this thing right, not quickly. Which is what I, as a gamer, want. Just saying.
So how’s the game? It’s pretty goddamn awesome. So far, I’ve played as three different characters, including Zoë Castillo and Kian Alvane, both from the previous game. The story is deeper and more interesting than just about any other game out there. And it looks beautiful; the dual-settings of Europolis (Stark) and Mercuria (Arcadia) are both lively and very detailed.
Are there bugs? Sure, but no more than in any other game. And we’re used to that, aren’t we? I was watching my brother play ‘Arkham Knight’ on the PS4 and he’d clearly fallen in the habit of simply working around the many (and obvious) bugs in that game. That kinda stinks. Luckily, the bugs in ‘Dreamfall Chapters’ aren’t terribly numerous, and the team works pretty fast to squash them. Much appreciated, that.
There are three episodes (called Books) out now, with a fourth coming soon. The developers have announced that the whole game will be upgraded to run on the new (and powerful) Unity 5 engine. Has any other game developer switched engines midway through development? And make no mistake: migrating from Unity 4 to Unity 5 isn’t just a mere update. This may end up looking and playing substantially different. I may have to start the whole thing over again. But I’ll probably play through Books Four and Five first. Been waiting a long time for this, after all.
So pick up the season pass for ‘Dreamfall Chapters.’ It’s out now for the PC (and can be had without any crappy DRM) and will be out soon for the PS4. You won’t regret it.