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Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
(hx) 08:05 AM EDT - Jun,18 2006

Dreamfall is a sequel to The Longest Journey, a highly regarded PC adventure game from 2000. For those who missed it, The Longest Journey followed the adventures of April Ryan, an art student in the city of Newport, some time in the future. She discovers that there are two worlds: Stark, her own world, the world of technology, and Arcadia, a world of magic; and that she is a Shifter, able to move between the worlds at will. She must also grow from a carefree art student, whose biggest concern is turning in an art project on time, into a heroine who'll save both worlds.

The actual story of Dreamfall continues events from the first game, while there are three playable characters in the game. The main action centers on Zoe Castillo, in the year 2219 in a city named Casablanca. Zoe has everything a woman would seem to want in this time period; a cool pad, great location, and a cute pet robot. She's recently dropped out of college, and she's lost faith in herself and in the future. When her best friend suddenly vanishes, she's forced to take a stand and risk everything by going after him. At the same time, she starts having strange visions of a little girl in a bleak wintry landscape telling her to 'find April Ryan, save her'. As she tries to find a connection between the two events, Zo soon finds herself transported from our world into the parallel magical world of Arcadia, where she....you will see :P. The other two characters are a menacing looking dude by the name of Kian, as well as The Longest Journey's main gal, April Ryan. Although there are distinct connections between both game titles in the series, and there is more enjoyment to be had having played the original, it is by no means a pre-requisite for enjoying the story this game has to offer. If you haven't played the original, it won't hinder you from playing Dreamfall, it just means you missed whole lot by not playing the one of the best adventure game of all time.

While the original game was a classic point-and-click adventure game, Dreamfall plays more like an action adventure game, letting you directly control the character as you explore and run around in detailed 3D landscapes. The controls for the game are simple enough and are near perfect for this type of game. Objects that can be interacted with become highlighted as you face them. You also are given manual control in regards to selecting objects. When your character is going from location to location, for example through an alleyway or hallway, the game is likely to use a chase camera. In larger environments containing puzzles and NPCs, however, it uses a semi-fixed camera. There's a little combat, which is easy and very basic. There are three types of combat moves in the game (light, heavy and block) and the combat is being designed so that you don't have to be masters of fighting games to figure it out. The sneak system is just as simplistic as the combat, requiring you to keep your distance from foes and avoid walking on broken glass to stay undetected. The action and stealth elements at least make sense in the game's story, but they can be a bit frustrating as the camera angles and the actual mechanics behind both elements is surprisingly lacking. Fortunately, these action-adventure sequences make up a very tiny portion of the game, are mostly optional, and are usually short and easy.

Dreamfall's puzzles tend to be less mentally challenging than it's predecessor, typically offering you the 'find the object' or the ever popular 'combine the two objects' styled puzzles. Almost all the puzzles are very logical, making it therefore very easy and thus you always know what you can do. It is in a way satisfying how you can come up with the solution to the puzzle while Zoe mumbles to herself what she should do next. But on the other hand, those of us who are a real adventure-game puzzle solver will get disappointed that they didn't make any headache-puzzles.

In my opinion, the reason why you should get Dreamfall is the story. The game really plays like an interactive movie, complete with drama, light moments, mystery, and danger. For the fans who played the original, it might be slight disappointment because the story lost some of the charm, but they will still no doubt enjoy the story almost as much as the original. Overall, a very decent and enjoyable game, and recommended.

related links: homepage, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey CDROM

System requirements: Pentium 4 1.6 GHz or AMD Sempron 2800+, 512MB RAM, 3D DirectX 9.0c compatible card 128 MB (ATI Radeon 9550+ / NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700+), Sound card 7 GB free HDD space, 8X Speed CDROM or 2X Speed DVDROM.


snd: 4/5 - solid voice acting, fine sound effects, enjoyable music
gfx: 4/5 - fairly good, facial model for Zo is especially realistic and emotive (although the other models are not quite so detailed), believable motion capture, sloppy camera system
playability: 5/5 - memorable/engaging (~10-15 hours), one of the best storylines you can find on store shelves right now, simplified puzzles and terrible action sequences, autosave feature, the ending could have been expanded on a lot more
genre: adventure
platform: PC (6 CDs) (also available on Xbox)
release: April 2006
developer: Funcom
publisher: Asphyr
Excellent
Overall: 85%


last 10 comments:

Gaz(11:39 AM EDT - Jun,18 2006 )
I've finished this game, and i can say. In the beginning it was kinda sad to be so simple, but in the end, the simple style of adventure, combined with a very good history, ended up to be an unforgettable game.

p.s. sorry about my bad english

lmer(11:55 AM EDT - Jun,18 2006 )
Hmm, what settings did you take the screenshots on? Textures look downsized alot. I have a pretty old system and i played the game on highest details with a solid framerate. I mean, it should look better on a 6800 than 5900 O_o.

GG this one. A very engaging story if anything.

(03:22 PM EDT - Jun,18 2006 )
lmer> Hmm, what settings did you take the screenshots on? Textures look downsized alot. I have a pretty old system and i played the game on highest details with a solid framerate. I mean, it should look better on a 6800 than 5900 O_o.

1024x768 / Abit Siluro FX5700-E 128MB (my wife' PC) My PC's hard drive is almost full :]

Ravenheart(05:12 PM EDT - Jun,18 2006 )
I couldn't get the game to install(darned Program FIles check bug). Another game in the trash can...

(05:20 PM EDT - Jun,18 2006 )
Ravenheart> I couldn't get the game to install(darned Program FIles check bug). Another game in the trash can...

Problem: It seems there's a bug with the installer of Dreamfall. When you try to install the game it does a free disk space check on your OS drive and if it doesn't have 8 GB free it throws up an error message asking you to change the install location or change your options - but you can't actually do that, as it hasn't asked you for an install location or install options yet. The error just keeps reappearing.


Solution:

Regedit:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

On the right side is something called: ProgramFilesDir

Change it to another drive with sufficient space, install and change it back to the original.

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