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Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

Battle an unseen entity in a bleak netherworld in this futuristic adventure

Who's up for a sequel to a PC adventure game from six years ago? Anyone? Okay, it doesn't sound like fertile territory for a new Xbox title, but when we're talking about an acclaimed slice of Norwegian fantasy, it's worth a second look.

Dreamfall is the sequel to The Longest Journey, a 3D adventure which wowed PC gamers back in 2000, scooping up 15 awards by the end of the year. But it failed to make an impact on those of us still giddy with excitement at the arrival of the next generation of thumb-numbing console games.

You're probably wondering if you can be bothered picking up the plot threads from a years old PC point-and-clicker, right? Fear not. Developer Funcom is keen to point out that knowledge of the previous game will not be essential to enjoying this latest journey. The story opens with a feisty young lass called Zoe Castillo, whose life in 2219AD Casablanca is about to be turned upside-down. Mysterious forces are interfering with the planet's technology, and only a handful of sensitive souls can detect the source of the problem - an unseen entity dwelling in a shadowy house, trapped in a bleak netherworld between dimensions.

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When one of her friends goes missing, Zoe delves deeper into the mystery, meeting April Ryan - heroine of the first game, now a stroppy goth - and Kian, an assassin for a religious cult who is beginning to question his faith. And no modern conspiracy would be complete without the obligatory dodgy corporation - here, it's WatiCorp, and their top-secret new product 'Alchera', which promises to "make all your dreams come true".

You'll play Zoe, April and Kian as their stories overlap, exploring the three interconnected worlds of the game: Stark, a far-future version of Earth, Arcadia, a fantasy world of magic and mystery, and The Winter, the featureless limbo in between.

We're promised freeform gameplay with multiple solutions to sticky situations, an evolving hand-to-hand combat engine and oodles of fully voiced NPCs to rabbit at. With a story that suggests a genre-hopping mash-up between Final Fantasy and the epic fantasy novels of Clive Barker, you'd do well to look beyond the slightly outdated visuals and look forward to what could well be an absorbing adventure yarn.

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