Dreamfall Chapters Book Two: Rebels (PC) Review

By Adam Riley 09.01.2016

Review for Dreamfall Chapters Book Two: Rebels on PC

Dreamfall Chapters Book One: Reborn saw the return of Kian Alvane, a former Azadi Apostle now turned rebel ally, and Zoë Castillo, heroine of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, awaking from her coma and attempting to reintegrate herself into the ever-changing futuristic world around her. Red Thread Games did a fantastic job of not only drawing from its past releases, under the Funcom label, to wow long-term fans, but pieced together a very solid adventure in its own right to please lovers of the point-and-click genre, in general. Now, with Book Two: Rebels arriving several months after the first chapter, was there enough time to iron out some of the design niggles that cropped up in Reborn?

Book Two of Dreamfall Chapters flips the roles. In Rebels, more emphasis is put on Kian Alvane’s escapades than that of Reborn, where Zoë was the primary focus. It works well to balance out the two storylines being delivered so far, offering up much more about the stoic soldier’s personality and his inner struggles with the new position of acting with the rebel army against his own people, the Azadi. The narrative throughout is so absorbing to the point where those in control really have to take stock of the gravity of certain decisions that must be made – save the life of an allied rebel fighter who holds a permanent grudge, stating that Kian will never be forgiven for past transgressions; let a known traitor’s identity be withheld for the greater good of using her abilities for the upcoming battle; torture a disgraced commander or release him and run the risk of him betraying everyone. The decision making element of Dreamfall Chapters is strikingly impressive and draws players into the tale, deeper and deeper, complemented by some fine acting performances from the voice cast and the stunning visuals throughout. It almost makes the puzzle element take a secondary role.

When it does come to the nitty gritty of puzzling, however, the initial location of Marcuria (fans of past games rejoice!) is not exactly filled to the brim with overly-taxing brainteasers, although betwixt the cavalcade of fetch quests, there are some intriguing moments, such as guiding a messenger in a different direction to catch him, or analysing people’s mannerisms, actions, and even smells, to uncover a traitor in the midst. There is a lot of wandering back and forth required, yet it all feels extremely gratifying in the end, especially as this land is easy to navigate, even without the use of the maps dotted around.

Screenshot for Dreamfall Chapters Book Two: Rebels on PC

Switching to Zoë’s sections, in Europolis’ city of Propost, though, proves to be not quite as gripping. The story side throws up some powerful developments, and it is clear that the young girl will not just have a fight to recall her lost memories, but other powers are at large, watching over her recovery…and that is on top of the political complications going on in the background, as well as the saga of her (non-)relationship(?) with old flame, Reza. The problem with Zoë’s segments is that the backtracking is too frustrating here, especially given her ‘gentle’ jogging pace. The area was confusing to get around in Reborn, but here it is even worse because the all-powerful Eye that watches over the land has cordoned off numerous routes previously accessible. Therefore, despite the development team possibly thinking that this might help cut down on any aimless wandering, it actually worsens it. Far too often, as well, the supposedly useful interactive map boards do not have the name of the location that must be visited next. When the ‘Goals’ menu gets updated to mention some new area, there is no idea whether it has or has not been visited before, mainly because the names have not been mentioned in conversation before and the map does not list it as a key point of interest. The result? Lots of wandering, lots of getting lost, lots of frustrating dead ends that were open before…oh, and the slew of convoluted puzzles that lack satisfaction just rub salt in the wounds.

Thankfully, Kian’s meaty adventure carries sufficient weight to keep positive thoughts high enough to see out this episode, and the overall storyline of both characters is so intriguing, especially given how paths keep getting amended by even the tiniest of decisions made, that there is enough good grace left in the tank to ride this one out, with the hope that Dreamfall Chapters Book Three: Realms will up the engagement levels.

Screenshot for Dreamfall Chapters Book Two: Rebels on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Dreamfall Chapters Book One: Reborn was a revelation, tickling every nostalgic bone in the body, as well as introducing gripping new story elements and a thoroughly well thought-out decision making system. Book Two: Rebels starts off strong, but peters out somewhat due to too much backtracking and tiresome fetch quests. With enough likeable characters, intrigue regarding the overarching tale, and the lure of seeing how decisions already made will continue to affect future proceedings, however, this latest Dreamfall Chapters edition is well worth grinding through before diving into Book Three: Realms for more juicy revelations.

Developer

Red Thread Games

Publisher

Red Thread Games

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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