The very epitome of the snazzy adventure sequel, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey is bigger and better, yet somehow exactly the same adventure. Sadly, this includes sharing the same faults that probably stopped the original from bothering your hard drive.
The main draw is the story: a winding, enjoyable romp, falling squarely into 'sci-fi novel' territory. It's a complete melodrama, looking like The Sims crossed with Sunset Beach. In the future.
GOOD COP, BAD COP
However, there's an odd duality at work throughout: the graphics flit between looking gorgeous and downright awful. There's decent acting in places, yet some characters sound like some smack addicts have just been dragged off the street into a recording studio. At times the script dazzles, at others it's little more than a succession of cheesy lines: "I have seen it... With my eyes." Brief moments of excitement are staggered by long periods of drudgery, inane conversations and terrible combat.
Just when things start to look up for Dreamfall, something awful happens and it plummets right back down. So, fleeting moments of high drama and intrigue, such as snooping around a druggy-addled boarding house or a creepy F.E.A.R.-esque little girl with long black hair giving you messages from beyond the grave are either followed by long, dreary conversations about how everybody's feeling or awkward, fumbling combat. All of which will have you nibbling the edges of your monitor in frustration...
What's more, there aren't really any puzzles to speak of: there are never more than a handful of items in your inventory, or more than a single location to explore at a time. This means Dreamfall never taxes the brain, and progression is more often than not a case of running to the next location and having a bit of a chat.
In this way, interaction never feels more than completely superfluous, and as a result, you don't really play Dreamfall - you watch it. With the story as its only saving grace, it's not so much an adventure game as a conversation-'em-up; and unfortunately, that's exactly as exciting as it sounds...
Look but don't touch
- Varied locations
- Plenty of story
- Full of Irish people!
- Minimal interaction on your part
- Dire combat sections