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Dreamfall: The Longest Journey Review *mild spoilers*

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I picked up Dreamfall being in the mood for a good ol' fashioned Adventure game, and that is what I got. Dreamfall is the sequel to The Longest Journey, which I heard was indeed very long. Dreamfall sure took long enough on its own though. I don't recall how many hours I had in it exactly, but it sure was more than I'm used to putting into games nowadays.


I haven't played The Longest Journey yet, which was probably a dumb move, since after playing Dreamfall, I now have no motivation of putting forth effort into its predecessor. Dreamfall did for the Longest Journey what Deus Ex 2 did for Deus Ex 1... You get new characters to play as, and when you do run into characters from the first game, they're changed in their personality to where you feel nothing towards them... For example, in Deus Ex 2, you run into the character you play as in Deus Ex 1, JC Denton. In Deus Ex 1, JC Denton didn't really show emotions, but he had a personality, if that makes sense. In Deus Ex 2, they plant an artificial intelligence in him, and he's essentially just a drone now, with no personality traits or any resemblance to the character you played in the first one... Regular A-hole (from what I can remember... I haven't played it in years now).


Well anyway, in Dreamfall, you run into (and play as) April Ryan, the protagonist from the first Longest Journey. I don't know exactly what she was like before (other than YouTube clips) but in Dreamfall, she's a regular self-centered *(once again)* A-hole. I can understand that she already saved the world, and wanted to be free of responsibility, but she could have had a nicer attitude towards the protagonist of Dreamfall, Zoe.


So you play as Zoe Castillo, a 20 (I believe it was 20...) year old girl who finds that she is bored with life, and listless. I can certainly relate... Well, the listless and bored with life part.... not the being a 20 year old girl part :P ... Otherwise I wouldn't have been spending my time playing a video game, eh? ha


So Zoe meets up with an old boyfriend of hers who happens to be doing some big story for an underground newspaper, The Hand That Bites (a very witty title, I must say). Well he disappears, and Zoe is thus sent on a quest to find him, with the help of one of her girl friends, who keeps calling her sweetie, which makes her oddly sound like she's trying to make a pass at her all the time <_<


I kept expecting the friend to betray her, with some lame plot twist, but it never happened, which is good.


All the while Zoe is looking for her guy, this weird little girl keeps popping up on video screens that looks oddly like the chick from The Ring, who keeps telling Zoe to save April Ryan... Over, and freakin over again. At first it was cool and all, but by the 6th and xth time she yells at you to "FIND APRIL!!!", it gets pretty old. To make it worse, when you do eventually meet up with April, all April does is dismiss Zoe in a cutscene, and the characters part, once again.... Despite the fact that April apparently doesn't need saving, the little girl continues to yell at you to save her.




*And when April finally is in need of being saved, Zoe can't even do anything about it!*



End Spoiler*


There is also an Assassin on the "Bad Guy's Side" you get to play as, who has an eventual "change of heart" but this is rather lamely done, with hardly any reason for him to do so, other than some dialog between April and him.



Ranting aside, the graphics and sound are top notch. Well the sound is. The ambiance is good, and the music is terrific. Very good music. The graphics lack in textures in some areas... They could be better, but overall the landscapes and scenes are well done.


The controls took some getting used to, until I managed to find "Reverse Mouse" because for some reason, when I moved my mouse, the camera would move opposite... So I had to actually reverse the mouse to get the mouse to be UN-reversed.

The camera works a bit like Splinter Cell, though not done as well while moving, but still decent. It's a typical adventure game, in that if it ain't nailed down, you probably need it. The puzzles are realistic in nature, since they are pretty much environmental and common sense predicaments, but the lock picking, and hacking bits can be quite a mind bender. The lock picking involves 4 circles, with symbols on each quad, (as if it were a clock, it'd be on 12, 3, 6, and 9) and you have to line up the symbols so that they match a certain sequence... This just takes patience and a bit of skill... No time limit thankfully. The hacking, though, is a pain. you get a grid with randomly generated characters... such as a semi circle over a square with 2 semi circles under it. it looks like a 10x10 grid, and the characters move, and you have to find the one lit on the bottom, usually doing this in a sequence of 4 symbols, before time runs out. This one is just a pain in the *bottom*, but it can be done.


Not trying to spoil it or anything, but the ending is just downright depressing, once you realize just what happened to everyone you met or played during the course of the game. I heard they're making a 3rd game, which I hope resolves a lot of stuff, though there weren't a lot of loose ends, from what I can recall... They tidied up the plot pretty decently.


Overall, I'd say it's worth it if you're into adventure gaming, if you're used to listening to hours and hours of dialog.... There's plenty of gameplay, but there's just as much talking. Your dialog choices don't impact the paths the characters take, but rather just the dialog itself... if you answer angrily, then the rest of the dialog will be angry, etc. but the results are the same.


I'd recommend looking on ebay, rather than paying retail. There's not really any replay value, even just to relive the story, just because the game is so darned long. For a slightly better game, I'd recommend "Shadow of Destiny," but if you liked The Longest Journey, this game's worth a look.

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I believe they are making another game based on that Universe, but the characters are all pretty much left out, and you'll be getting new ones... Though I'm sure they're going to find ways of bringing a couple of them back. I would play the new one, once it came out, sure.

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