I'm very, VERY disappointed.
This game is a sequel to "The Longest Journey", a point-and-click adventure released in 1999.
I bought both games one year ago, and finally got some spare time, enough to play them both.
TLJ was simply beautiful. It had good puzzles (and a couple of difficult ones); I instantly fell in love with the world, the characters and the story.
Then I started playing Dreamfall.
You can clearly tell this game was born in an age when classic point-and-click adventures were dead, and the developers started using different mechanics for them (Grim Fandango comes to mind, but that was actually a wonderful game). Also, Dreamfall was developed in a period when consoles were the main target. This combination caused a long string of very bad design decisions that affect the game negatively.
Here are some aspects of the game I'd like to talk about.
As soon as the first cutscene ended, I noticed a certain difficulty in interacting with the game. The controls are AWFUL. So awkward and counterintuitive. It is clearly designed with controllers in mind, so I said "Hey, I'll just use my Xbox360 Wireless Controller". But it didn't even work. And if you're planning to use one and you somehow manage to make it work, you still need some third party software to bind the triggers to keyboard keys because they won't work otherwise. So, after 30 minutes of googling and tweaking of input options, I ended up playing the game with keyboard and mouse.
Oh, the pain we must endure. This is supposed to be a game about exploration, about searching the environment for clues and items to solve puzzles (I'll talk about "puzzles" later). The way the camera is implemented makes it so frustrating to even look around in smaller rooms. It just gets in the way. Not that there's a lot to look at, anyways. Gone are the descriptions of places, objects and such. There's so much less. And it's written so poorly.
The Main Gameplay and Puzzles
Nonexistant, basically. You have a couple of minigames that you will need to play 5-6 times during the entire span of the game (the hacking one, and the lockpicking one). They're both extremely easy.
There's never been a single moment where I was stuck in this game. The puzzles, which should constitute a good portion of the gameplay, are instead few and boring. The inventory space is very limited, but it's not a problem, since I don't think I ever held more than 5 items at the same time (counting your mobile phone and a lockpick that you always have with you, so that makes it 3). With some characters, you even play big portions of the game without any item whatsoever. At some point, you feel like the game consists only of walking, talking to people, and watching cutscenes. 10-12 hours of cutscenes.
So, puzzles are not a big thing in this one. They instead decided to dilute the gameplay with...
Stealth and Combat
Seriously, this is the sequel to a point-and-click. It's mainly story-driven. so, WHY ON STARK did the designers think that STEALTH and COMBAT sections were a good idea, I honestly cannot fathom.
Stealth sections are EVIL. Note to all devs: DO NOT put stealth "missions" in ANY kind of game that does not make stealth its primary mechanic. It's frustrating and boring at the same time, and it just has no point whatsoever. You get caught, you have to redo the section. Now combine this with awful camera and controls. Oh, the FUN!
Oh, and the combat. Dull, buggy and boring to death. I honestly don't know why they put combat in this. Luckily you don't get to fight a lot, but still... it's like Serious Sam with crosswords in it. It breaks the flow. Badly.
You will control 3 characters throughout the game:Zoe.
She's the "main" character of the game, and gets the most screentime. Some people disliked her, but I actually liked her since the beginning.Kian.
He should play the role of the "Zelous assassin that will slowly come to question the dubious actions of his religious order". But he gets at most 20-30 minutes of screen time during the whole game, provided you don't get lost (which is quite hard in this game). They don't give you enough time and depth to actually see his transformation, or to actually care about him in general. Could have easily been an NPC.April.
By the Balance, girl. What have they done to you?
You suck so much in this game. What a sad, sad person you've become. I loved you in TLJ, you were fantastic. Now you're an empty, self-loathing shell.
The StoryNOTE: I don't consider what follows too "spoilery", but I will be talking about the ending in a general sense, trying to not reveal more than the necessary.
So this game has its flaws, I got it. And I forced myself to play it, because I loved the first TLJ and I really liked the story of Dreamfall. And you get to rivisit some of TLJ locations, and assist to events that you knew happened if you played TLJ. And I think this is just awesome.
So I pushed on. And I played avidly despite the awful gameplay because, well, the story is all this game has to offer, and it's actually pretty good.
And when the story is at its peak, it all abruptly ends with the BIGGEST, most cruel cliffhanger ever done. It just ends.
They managed to close a single arc about an insignificant "The Ring Girl" character that you don't really care about during the whole game. And they leave 10-15 threads not just open, but brutally cut. Including the ones about the 3 main characters, whose fate is unknown. Hell, the fate of the WORLDS is unknown. This enraged me to no ends. I played the whole game just to see the ending, and I got NOTHING out of it. It's like they ran out of money and they had to cut this short. And by "cut" I mean "just leave it this way and maybe we'll make a sequel in 8 years where we'll (hopefully) fix this mess".
I ragequit as soon as the credits began rolling.
Awkward controls and camera management; it's impossible to enjoy the scenery. Then again, you won't be able to analyze half of the things you should be able to in a game like this. Terrible inventory system, but it's not such a big deal since the game has very few puzzles in the first place, and they are all boringly easy. Frustrating stealth sections and dull, boring combat sections, mechanics which were hastily developed and don't belong to this genre anyways. Some great characters but some terrible ones as well. Great story, but AWFUL, rage-inducing incomplete ending with huge cliffhanger.
As much as it pains me to say so, DO NOT
spend money on this game. It's a 12 hours long, frustrating, and incomplete cutscene.
If you loved the first TLJ like me, wait until the last of the Dreamfall: Chapters is released, so that you can at least get a complete story out of it.