Dreamfall Chapters (PlayStation 4) Review

By Sandy Wilson 27.04.2018 1

Review for Dreamfall Chapters on PlayStation 4

Dreamfall and The Longest Journey are quite renowned in the adventure game world. The Longest Journey was acclaimed and its "sequel", more of a spin-off really, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, continued the hype but cast the player as a completely new character. Dreamfall Chapters, a Kickstarter success story, released episodically at an agonisingly slow pace from 2014 to 2016. It continued the story of Dreamfall and linked it back into the original The Longest Journey title. There is another game with potential to release in the series but series producer Ragnar Tornquist says it may never happen. Cubed3 heads back to look at the package as a whole on PS4.

Arcadia, the world of magic. Stark, the world of technology. Dreamers, magical, and humans all in turmoil. The world of Dreamfall is not for the faint-hearted and boy does this game have a lot of swearing! Sporting the current gen "adventure game" look keyed by companies like Telltale and Microids, see Syberia 3, Dreamfall Chapters brought the last part of the Dreamfall universe to the masses with an episodic release that, for some, soured the experience a little. Then, in 2017, came the console release in one fantastic collection. This adventure follows both Zoe Castillo and Kian Alvane as they try to prevent the destruction of their joined universes.

Screenshot for Dreamfall Chapters on PlayStation 4

Gameplay is reminiscent of the previous entries, but with less action-oriented segments and a focus on narrative progressing puzzles. These puzzles usually involve walking around and then doing a single task, but it doesn't get too repetitive or boring thanks to the interactions between the characters - one particular character highlight being Kid Bot, these conversations are the lifeblood of the content. Other than the variety of puzzles, which are fun, there is a quite large world to wander around, split into different segments for each chapter with loads of interaction points, which either provides some cool insight into the story or some world-building lore. These also lead to character interactions that range from cool to awesome. Sadly, the controls are a bit sloppy on the gamepad; far from unplayable but lacking the accuracy of the PC version with its mouse and keyboard controls.

As this is a PC port, it's surprising that upon its release the game had been visually upgraded with new effects and animations after the developer tweaked the engine it was working with. Now it runs smooth as butter, even though it has janky animations, and also has some brilliant lighting. The UI and controls work very well on the console but, as said before, they can sometimes feel a little odd, especially when trying to interact with objects in a busy scene. Also interesting is that the game supports a lot of different languages, with voiceovers.

Screenshot for Dreamfall Chapters on PlayStation 4

Being a narrative driven title, it's important that the dialogue and events are well portrayed and flow towards an end goal with a good few twists thrown in. There is nothing to fear here, as the story is not only fun to see and hear, but has a very impressive choice system where players can check what others chose, and base their decisions off that data. These choices are surprisingly big; sometimes choosing if someone will live or die, these then carry over to the other chapters and influence everything other than the final ending. The story is a real rollercoaster and with the believable and likeable characters, the choice system can lead to some genuinely heartbreaking moments.

With some spectacularly good and some spectacularly cringe-worthy voice acting on show, each locale and character feeds the world's believability and reinforces a sense of immersion. The contrast of the magical and non-magical worlds is fantastical and really captivating, especially when even the vibrant cast has a range of accents and unusual creature features that provides a great variety of audio and visual stimulation. Coupled with a presentation that makes the best of the limited resources available by mixing in an endearing and pleasant visual styles, this fairytale-lite world is hard to dislike and easy to fall in love with.

Screenshot for Dreamfall Chapters on PlayStation 4

The main issue with the characters and story in the presentation side is that the animations sometimes come across as limited or stilted, which can ruin some key scenes near the start of the adventure. Atmospherically, the visuals and sound design are very well paired, though; for example, the futuristic cities of the "real world" are accompanied by dark grungy visual flairs, speckled with bright lights and highlights with a soundscape that employs lots of background chatter to give the area life. It's very easy to get drawn into the different locales, with the odd exception for when a place is heavily traversed and some background noises begin to get familiar and repetitive. The musical score helps, as it is heavenly most of the time, and has great film-like moments where the theme tune is used to emphasise the epic nature of the scene, and others where it's a little background tick, like the musician at the docks with his guitar. It's all very charming and rarely throws out a bad tune.

Screenshot for Dreamfall Chapters on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Adventure gaming may have seen a decline, but with gems such as Dreamfall: Chapters and King's Quest, the genre seems to be on the mend. This particular game is a joy and has a story that has a conclusion that is worth the time and effort. It might not please all fans of its prequels due to its obscure time-hopping scenes, but even they should love the final catch-all scene. It is an excellent entry to the universe and a fantastic addition to the PS4 catalogue, and will leave most hoping for another game in the future.

Developer

Red Thread Games

Publisher

Deep Silver

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

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   

Comments

Terry West (guest) 08.07.2018#1

Totally agree, picked this up on Playstation Store, did not know of previous games, found it to be an excellent adventure game, great characters and story surprisingly weaving in contemporary underlying themes of persecution, authoritarian rule and information / population  control (See Trump, Turnbull / Dutton, Erdogan, Putin, etc), also agree on par with Kings Quest update very promising for single player gaming future, great fun interesting and different, nice diversion from the AAA titles, I recently have also enjoyed Murdered Soul Suspect and Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter,
Regards,
RiffmastaT222

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