DREAMFALL THE LONGEST JOURNEY: Apr 2006
STEAM RATING: Very Positive
DREAMFALL THE LONGEST JOURNEY: Apr 2006
STEAM RATING: Very Positive
The Longest Journey series has indeed been on a very long development journey. This is the second game of three and was much anticipated by fans after the popularity of The Longest Journey. Although Dreamfall takes place in the same universe, it is not a direct sequel and replaces the former main character with Zoe Castillo, although April Ryan still plays a central role.
Long ago, in order to prevent humanity from destroying itself, the earth was divided into two worlds called Stark and Arcadia. One relies on science and the other on magic. The backdrop of the Dreamfall story begins in Stark where ten years previously the earth experienced something catastrophic, which they called "the collapse". But recovery was swift and soon people were back to their everyday business and thriving again. No one can quite remember exactly what had occurred, although they can remember its devastating effects. The upheaval it caused led to the establishment of a world "Syndicate" and its law-enforcement agency called the "EYE".
The "Wire" is a wireless network that links every device on earth from mobile phones, to screens, to toys, to consoles, to cars and even to fridges and is a constant invasion of privacy. For several weeks the world has been experiencing a mysterious and dangerous interference in this network and the media has dubbed it "The Static"
Zoe Castillo is a young lady who has lost all passion for living and doesn't know why. As a result, she has left school, moved back to Casablanca to live with her father, is unemployed and has broken up with her boyfriend Reza, although they remain good friends. She has no purpose in her life, but is helpless to break out of this depression even though she is tired of feeling this way. Two things are about to happen that will change her life; she starts to receive odd visions and messages on the screens that urge her to save someone called April Ryan, and Reza, who is a reporter, asks her to pick up a secret package for him. Upon delivering this to his apartment, she discovers a dead body and Reza seems to have dropped out of sight. The EYE arrests Zoe, but after a night of interrogation, she is released with stern warnings not to leave town. However, now very worried and apparently involved in something she is completely in the dark about, she sets out to find her missing friend.
Ten years previously, April Ryan discovered the other world of Arcadia and her unique ability to travel between the two as a Shifter. (That game is called The Longest Journey) At that time, she embarked on a dangerous journey that saved the ancient balance between the two worlds, but now something threatens this stability again. After her adventure, she stayed on in the city of Marcuria, which was being threatened by a barbaric horde called the Tyren. Salvation arrived from the mysterious Azadi Kingdom, but after the Tyren were defeated, the Azadi armies remained as overseers. Their beliefs call for the eradication of magic and their converts are growing steadily, but there remains a group of rebels who oppose their influence and April is one of them.
Kian is an Azadi soldier and apostle to their Goddess. He serves the "Six" spreading the "Word" to unbelievers and heretics with the edge of his sword. Now he is being sent on a journey that will challenge his beliefs.
At various points in the game, you will play each of these three characters, but most of the story is centered on Zoe. In her quest to find Reza and uncover the mystery of April Ryan, all of these parts will eventually come together and expose a dangerous plot that once more threatens both worlds.
If you were to take Syberia plus the Tomb Raider games of the Dreamfall era, you would come up with this game. It's very much like Syberia minus the point and click controls. The story is centered on a heroine who needs to find herself. The mechanics are similar also in the sense that transition between areas of a map require loading, although these are accomplished much more smoothly and quickly than in Syberia. Like Tomb Raider, it makes use of some puzzles plus some physical elements like climbing heights and ladders and jumping to ledges.
Movement has two options through the Mouse Mode, which enables you to control either the character or the camera with the mouse. However, using it to control the character messes up the combat keys and toggling can only be done in the menu. In fact, the controls in this game are just downright awful, but since combat situations are few as well as being a joke, you just have to stumble through it. The dialogues are also way too long and often have you sitting out doing nothing but watching a movie for much of the time. To be quite frank, there are a lot of boring moments without game interaction. It was not a game that had me so interested that I couldn't wait to get back to it.
On the plus side, it has manual save, the graphics are very acceptable and the story quite fleshed out and interesting enough. However, the ending is completely unsatisfactory leaving all kinds of loose ends. One surmises that this was to lay the groundwork for a sequel, which years later
hasn't materialized. (see development note) As a gaming experience, I would say this game is just average and nothing much to write home about. Just so you know, however, there are people who love this game, but I suspect it's the story that intriques and not the mechanics. If Dreamfall was a movie, it would be pretty good, but as an interactive game, it has decided weaknesses.
Don't confuse this with the game "The Longest Journey". Some sites did have the patches for both games listed together. The US patch #1 apparently removes Starforce on the non North American DVD as well, which is the culprit that makes this impossible to run on Windows 7. Gamershell or Game Watcher. However, I cannot personally vouch for this patch as I haven't tried to play my DVD version on Windows 7. Conversely, you could download a copy from Steam or Gog without the problem.
Using the mouse to control the character movements breaks the combat keys. In the menu, you need to switch the mouse back to camera mode before the combat scene starts
This sequel to The Longest Journey takes place 10 years after the events of that game. The developers, Funcom, did not consider this a direct sequel, even though it takes place in the same universe, and therefore created a different main character. April Ryan does make an appearance, however and there are now plans for a game called The Longest Journey Home, which will return to the 2D point and click format and feature April Ryan.
The direct sequel to this game is Dreamfall Chapters, a game that was originally released in episodic format. It was developed by Red Thread Games under license from Funcom. Chapters was funded through Kickstarter and development was very slow going. However, the entire game is now available.