Dreamfall Chapters is the third instalment in the Longest Journey franchise. A series with a deep lore that began life as a point and click adventure back in 1999 with The Longest Journey. It’s at this point I feel it’s important to mention that I’ve not played any of the games preceding Dreamfall Chapters. That didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the game as much as you might think though.

The developers, probably aware that Dreamfall Chapters would be many gamer’s introduction to the series, have made it easy to find out what’s going on. There’s a recap video that lets you know why the protagonists are in the predicaments they’re in, and character bios whenever you meet a new character that has been in previous games. It’s not essential to watch or read these but it’s nice to have a deeper understanding of what’s going on.

Digesting the game is helped by the fact that it is broken in to sections. Originally, Dreamfall Chapters was released on PC episodically, but it’s the complete package here. There’s even some deleted scenes to play that were removed from the compiled version of the game. Due to it being an episodic game though, it does come with the issues most episodic games have.

The first episode is kind of a mess. There’s some irritating minor issues including a lack of map waypointing, dodgy animations, overlong dialogue and some awful voice acting, and it’s not until the tail end of the episode that it starts to pick up. Once it does pick up though, the game really comes on leaps and bounds and they even try and solve the waypointing problem at times. Unfortunately the animations stay a bit odd, especially in moments where physical contact occurs or emotions need to be shown. Luckily the script makes up for it and, for the most part, is delivered well.

Although the story is a big part of the game, and there will be various moments where choices will have to be made that will alter what happens, it’s not the only thing Dreamfall Chapters has going for it. There are still puzzle elements from its point and click past that comes into play. Some puzzles are definitely better than others, but there’s a nice variety to them and they are placed in a way that helps break up the story well. The ones with fail states also quickly reload to a checkpoint, meaning you’re not staring at a “game over” screen and having to hit “retry” each time you mess up.

What about this story though? What’s it all about? There’s one massive overarching plot, but for the most part it is about two tales that run parallel with each other. The first of these stories is a futuristic tale from the perspective of Zoë Castillo. She uncovered a massive conspiracy in the previous game and now finds herself in a coma and trapped in a place known as Storytime. The second is a more traditional fantasy tale from the perspective of Kian Alvane, a former Azadi Apostle that finds himself locked in jail for rebelling against his people.

Both stories have a wonderful selection of characters with some great dialogue between them. The tale told and the characters will be the main thing that keeps you hooked with the game. On your first playthrough it will most likely take you between 20-25 hours to complete Dreamfall Chapters and the option to go back and make different choices is there as well. Considering the recommended retail price it’s a generous amount of playing time and, despite the previously mentioned opening hours, it will do enough to keep you wanting to find out what will happen next.

That is the strength of Dreamfall Chapters. It’s a game that keeps on growing the more you play. One that creates moments that can make you forgive its problems for the most part. If you’re a fan of story driven adventure games with a focus on dialogue and problem solving, then Dreamfall Chapters is a gem even if you’ve not played the series before. If you’re not though, it’s unlikely to be the game that will make you change your mind.



Author

Brett Claxton

I like video games. That's why I write about them. I've played them for years and in that time I've found a love for creepy horrors, indie darlings and the oddities that come out of Japan. Although my main purpose on the site is to write up news and reviews I'm also one of the main Let's Play video creators of the team (or, as I call them, Brett's Play videos). You can check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Bretteh2