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Metareview - Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

Alan Rose

It's been over five years since Funcom released The Longest Journey, one of the most enduring adventure titles in gaming history. At the time, Ragnar Tørnquist's narrative style and his world-hopping 3D heroine, April Ryan, breathed new life into a genre filled with Myst clones. However, Tørnquist's emphasis on dialog (lots of dialog!) was a bit draining for many gamers, and stood as Journey's only major criticism. Those who toughed it out were left with a memorable experience.

In Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, we return to the worlds of Stark and Arcadia where the balance of technology and magic is once again in danger. New main character Zoë Castillo exhibits all the charm of her predecessor, and the game's presentation quality doesn't disappoint. But if you combine that with Dreamfall's relatively short experience, its seemingly unnecessary gameplay elements, and some overly simplified puzzles, you're left with a genuine mixed bag.

  • GameSpy (100/100) gives Dreamfall the benefit of the doubt in the gameplay department, but shares other critics' admiration for the sights and sounds: "The graphic beauty of the game is matched by the sounds. The voice-cast is extraordinary, something that's particularly important for a game as dialogue-intense as this one. Leon Willett's soundtrack also deserves a mention for the languid, dream-like emotional quality it brings to the whole experience."
  • GameSpot (81/100) elaborates on platform variation: "The differences between the PC and Xbox versions of Dreamfall are slight. Mouse and keyboard controls are fine, but gamepad controls are best suited. The PC version is capable of looking substantially cleaner and more colorful if you've got a good graphics card."
  • IGN (74/100) is at odds with the game's crossover aspirations: "Though Dreamfall retains a few of the best parts of the original, it tacked on a lot of unnecessary gameplay elements while stripping down traditional adventure mechanics, leading to a decidedly less satisfying experience."

  • 1UP (40/100) didn't find many redeeming qualities: "Dreamfall comes to the line between adding dimension to characters and giving too much information, and smashes through it without so much as a thought of applying the brakes. The fighting, hand-to-hand or armed depending on the character, is a numb, mushy, button-mashing mess."
[via Metacritic]

See also: Keepsake's unforgettable adventure

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