If the thought of being trapped in your own dreams and mulling over the consequences of your actions sounds like an intriguing time, then Red Thread Games’ Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey is the adventure game you’ve been looking for.
Action junkies should be aware that the term “adventure game” as used above harkens to the point-and-click adventure games of the ‘80s and ‘90s and the more recent critically acclaimed titles released by Telltale Games (The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and later this year… Game of Thrones). There’s vulgar language thrown about, but no Michael Bay-esque explosions and firefights to exploit for a sizzle reel or yell at the monitor over while spilling your Mountain Dew.
This first “book” in a planned series of episodic games, subtitled Reborn, relies on the strength of its dialogue and character development to drive players forward through cyberpunk cities and fantasy lands, and does so quite well. A sequel to 2006’s Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, you do not have to play the previous game to understand or enjoy this ride. Protagonists Zoë Castillo and Kian Alvane return for Reborn, reeling from the events that took place at the end of the last game. Zoë is trying to find her purpose in life while stuck in a coma, traversing the dreamscape known as Storytime and helping others wake from their nightmares while avoiding her own metaphorical ones. She soon confronts figures she’s not seen for some time, and is forced to make decisions that will affect her future (and subsequent sequels for Reborn).
Catching up with the former Azadi warrior Kian, you find him imprisoned in the fantasy realm of Arcadia for high treason. With his execution imminent, rebels free him in hopes of enlisting his aid while government officials attempt to silence him permanently before he testifies to the Empress. He’s quite the popular ruffian.
Though the visuals are stunning and writing sharp, Reborn’s gameplay progress left me hoping someone would shake a set of shiny keys nearby for some semblance of excitement. I can see how this title may be perceived as a bit of a chore to get through for those not completely enveloped in the story’s nuances, turning it into a tedious session of clicking and skipping past cutscenes. The thing is, cutscenes are CRITICAL parts of a story-driven game, so clicking through them would defeat the purpose of the whole thing.
Those that come to Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey ready to experience an intriguing story filled with drama and Cthulhu knock-knock jokes will absolutely love it. Everyone else might just want to go back to sleep.
Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey: Reborn is now available on Steam.
Dreamfall Chapters Official Trailer