Considering that they were only on PC, I never got round to playing The Longest Journey and it’s sequel Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, and so I could only help that developer Red Thread Games would make Dreamfall Chapters easily accessible for those who are joining the adventure for the first time on systems outside of PC.
I’ll hand it to Red Thread Games for creating a video that recaps the story so far, but it’s never the same as experiencing it as things are, inevitably, always left out. If you’ve played the other games then you’re going to glean more from Dreamfall Chapters, but there’s an interesting enough story to entice newcomers too. Zoe, who is in a coma, becomes trapped in another world known as Storyland, a land made of dreams and nightmares, along with other Dreamachine users as she journeys to wake her physical body up. Yeah, this would likely make a lot more sense had I played the others, as well as why she and her dad have a broken relationship, but alas, I’m meeting Zoe for the first time and I’m rooting for her.
References and a bit of confusion aside, I really like the magical worlds of Storytime and the fantastical Arcadia that Dreamfall Chapters inhabits, as well as the more scientific, cyberpunk world known as Stark. Both worlds are at stark (heh) contrast with one another with their own personalities and they’re great to explore. There’s a lot of lore to sift through and I’m sure fans will get a kick out of returning to Zoe’s adventure and seeing how it all wraps up — it finishes neatly and after such a long wait, The Longest Journey is finally over.
Dreamfall Chapters is an adventure game where you’ll be inspecting objects and hearing your character’s thoughts on them, as well as solving puzzles to continue your journey. You can choose how to interact with an object such as touching it, looking at it or thinking about it, and you’ll likely check what each option does most of the time, even if it’s just out of curiosity. You’ll also take control of Kian and Saga to make up three playable characters with intertwining stories. I wish I was more familiar with the Dreamfall universe as what I’ve seen here I’ve quite enjoyed, but I can’t help but feel that I could’ve enjoyed it more had I been more familiar with the series.
Whilst gameplay is straightforward, I did find myself lost from time to time due to lack of direction on what to do next, or the controls sometimes getting in the way of themselves — it can sometimes be a bit clunky in conjunction with the camera. It’s story and character driven with the gameplay there to tell the story, and this is one game that might’ve worked rather well as a visual novel too. I liked exploring its worlds though and it’s interesting enough to keep you returning, and I imagine it must’ve been a struggle to wait and play this episodically when it originally released.
Dreamfall Chapters has a stunning art style and it’s generally a gorgeous game with many breathtaking sights to behold, and characters are wonderfully designed. A smorgasbord of colours threatens to overwhelm you but, thankfully, they’re not overdone and reflect their respective worlds well. The world of Stark is more industrial with plenty of rain, blues, reds and graffiti, whilst Arcadia is imbued with magic, soft orange glows from lamps and homely, old-fashioned buildings. It’s a beautiful game with solid character models and facial animations, and its visuals lend itself to its story-book like tale.
Voice-acting is solid with Charlotte Ritchie providing an excellent performance for Zoe — funny, feisty and emotive, she had me laughing quite a few times. It’s great to see that voice-acting in Dreamfall Chapters is so good considering how character-driven the game is, and its soundtrack aids its eye-catching visuals in providing the right atmosphere. My copy came with a downloadable soundtrack too so that’s a pleasant surprise!
Dreamfall Chapters tells an intriguing story that balances several characters and their own personal stories admirably. It’s neither too heavy-handed or cluttered, and it’s well-paced with an ending that should satisfy fans of the series. I’m encouraged to play the first two games in the series and can only express disappointment that they’re also not on PS4, especially as this would’ve been the perfect time to port them. Never-the-less you can enjoy Dreamfall Chapters without the other games, but you might be a tad confused sometimes. Zoe has been a wonderful protagonist, and I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of her.