*** possible mild spoilers***
Just finished Book 2. I was under the impression that it was supposed to be longer than book 1. It felt nearly the same length in my experience. In fact, when it ended, I was totally unphased and unimpressed and felt like nothing really happened... again.
yes I backed this game and paid up to $150. but I'm sure others paid a lot more and firmly believed that we were going to get a fantastic game. I suffered from the illusion that my $150 could go far. I was wrong to think that my backing or anyone else's backing has any influence on the quality of the game. All I did was empower some game creators that I believed in previously to do what they love. But nowhere do I find any clue that they were interested in making a game that won them their fans in the first place. I guess I learned my lesson.
The problem lies not with the budget, or the lack of technology but with the amount of freedom they had with a game that was purely funded by fans. This game suffers from lack of imagination and subtlety. All the features available to the player might have sounded good on paper but when you see it in action, it feels silly, pretentious and contrived. "Your choice will have consequences" - yeah okay thanks. "The Balance has shifted" big sound effects - k, thanks. "Your choices have brought you here" - give me a break. Where is the gameplay? Where is the explorability or even a believable world? When I explore Propast or Marcuria as of book 1 and 2, I just want to quit the game. Is that the feeling the game creators were going for? There is nothing in this world that makes you want to stay. I feel trapped more than anything and there is absolutely NOTHING to do in it. What is the point of being in this place if Zoe doesn't even want to interact with it? What is the point of all those vending machines and street vendors when they seem to add nothing to the game? why allow an interactive button at all if I can't buy anything?
A particular Kian quest has you going back to one of the market stands in OldTown Marcuria, but there is absolutely no clue telling you that you have reason to go back there because non of them were interactive at the beginning of the game. It makes no sense to do this. Bad design.
Also, what is the point of leaving us with just one choice when it could have easily been a movie sequence?
For whatever reason, Casablanca in The Longest Journey: Dreamfall was more believable in several ways than Propast. There wasn't much to do in Casablanca either but the atmosphere and the music hit the right notes. Her conversation with her Father was lovely and their home was nice and made me want to live there. Propast obviously is more dreary and maybe that's what they want you to feel but making the gamers want to get out of the game should not be a function of the game. In fact, the most fun I had in Propast was due to the first bug in the game that allowed me to travel underground outside of the game map.
As many other reviewers have said, there is so much wasted potential in the way this game presents itself. It's mostly bad design and poor direction that affects how I perceive this game. It is ultimately lame and tries to be like everything else in the media world. A lot of players express that this game is for people who want it for the story and not for action or gameplay - makes absolutely no sense that they say this. a game is a game. a movie is a movie. and TV is TV. So many games coming out these days are either trying to emulate one or the other and fails to balance itself properly. In fact, I no longer believe the budget has anything to do with the game creators to come up with innovative or entertaining design - which is what matters most. What makes me want to play a game is a certain amount of relevance and reference to the world around me expressed artfully and naturally...even skillfully. This game might have started off with a theme that is pertinent in today's world but it's going about it in an annoying manner. I doubt future chapters will necessarily get any better unless they decide to scratch everything and redesign it. It was a mistake releasing it in episodes. It is succumbing to current popular trends and creating unnecessary gaps between player experience. And this is all for not even a valid reason other than for the developer's own convenience. I would have gladly waited another year if it meant that the game will be a complete package and have more imagination and more functionality as to actually entertain the players.
Dialogue mechanics. It is simply doing disservice to how humans evolve with gameplay by providing what we should think or not think. For a game that swears as much and obviously meant for young adults and up treats them like 8 year olds. The choices we have to make in the dialogue mechanics is by far the most unnecessary thing I have ever experienced in a game. It's taking what Tell Tale Games did and made it even more frustrating. It's these little things that get on my nerves as a player as I just want to get on with exploring or finding things out on my own. Again. bad design and poorly implemented game mechanics on top of bad writing. When I'm talking to somebody, just because it's crucial to the story should not mean I should be locked down and forced to stare at the wholly uninteresting headshots that is playing out before me. I should be free to move around and even jump around if I want to. That is what gameplay partly means. To be free to do what you want regardless of what is happening in the game. I would have a ton more respect if the game compelled me to sit still and listen to whoever is talking. Better yet, design the game as to give me the illusion of choice. "The Last of Us" did this perfectly even though I saw right through it. "The Last of Us", while I'm at it, is the perfect example of how dialogue should happen. We never had to choose what we wanted to say. In fact, we didn't have to say anything yet it was still immersive. Freeing. All from the simplicity of allowing my character to move freely as things were happening around me. Dreamfall may give us choices with consequences, but the choices are bland and consequences are uneventful. On top of that there are still cinematic sequences which is even more restrictive and frustrating to watch. Where is the cinematography? where is the art direction? Do the game creators really believe that they are bringing us something special by making us sit through soap opera quality dialogue scenes?
Take "Red Dead Redemption". Compared to "The Last of Us", it is more open-world but it was just as compelling to be in it with just a few subtle elements that made you want to stay in it. It did nothing to try and control the destiny of the characters. In fact, giving the illusion of control from what you do outside of the story sequence is all that should matter. The fun part is watching what is happening in the world set before you, the subtle dialogue, the words being said you had no control over and yet you are part of. In Dreamfall Chapters, everything that happens in this game could have easily been a text adventure with a static image on top. But that would have been a better game! What a waste of resources in trying to make it realistic with nothing but fluff and useless graphics.
When I first saw the making of videos before game release, I was excited to see the animation team bring Zoe Castillo to life. Especially with today's technology, you would think that the character will be awesome. Obviously the team did a great job in making her look beautiful and better than the previous game but it means nothing now. This game doesn't bring anything new to the adventure genre as far as I can tell. Compared to TLJ and Dreamfall, this game expelled too much energy on building a meaningless world where the most that you get is boring, over the shoulder dialogue.