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Dreamfall: The Longest Journey Review

GAME INFO
publisher: Funcom
developer: Funcom
genre: Adventure

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
PIV 1600, 512MB RAM, 7GB HDD, 128MB video card
ESRB rating: M
homepage:
www.dreamfall.com/

release date: Apr 17, 06
» All About Dreamfall: The Longest Journey on ActionTrip


For a bunch of guys who like to use conversational gems such as "now I'm going to show you the raisin in the sausage" freely in conversation, Funcom really are an OK bunch of Norwegians. Their development history includes both hits and misses. Well, I mostly know them for their Longest Journey series and of course Anarchy Online. Let's just say that the Longest Journey was the one to open some doors for them, and while AO sounded very cool on paper (hey, they invented Instanced Dungeons), the actual launch went about as smoothly as a subtle mention of "raisin in the sausage" during a romantic candlelit dinner.

Not so long ago, Funcom got some funding from the Norwegian government, and as a result, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, the sequel to their successful adventure game has hit the stores, while the team is busy as hell working on their next foray in the MMORPG genre, Age of Conan.

Now while Funcom may need to pick up their game in regards to MMOG development (Perhaps another government grant will put the raisin in Conan's sausage? -Mo), it looks like they've pretty much nailed the nearly-extinct classic adventure genre. And that's what Dreamfall is really. The control scheme is somewhat more intuitive, using the WASD keys for movement, but the general gist of it remains pretty much in the realm of classic adventure gaming.

Speaking of the technical side of things, Dreamfall is a pretty damn solid adventure title. The interface is highly intuitive and non-intrusive, the camera feels natural, and so do the character controls. Funcom successfully blended action elements with classic adventure gaming, if only in the technical sense. From a gameplay standpoint, the combat is definitely underwhelming and just... bland. It boils down to a few clicks on the left and right mouse buttons; it's really simplistic and not so well animated. However, the good news is that Dreamfall is not about combat (for the most part), though the whole concept did show promise and was dying for a makeover.

The nitty-gritty adventure gaming stuff, including the story, and puzzles are very well executed in my opinion. The player is eased into the plot, with a well thought out introduction to the characters and a decently laid out and suspenseful plot. At some point in the game, the events in the sequel will intertwine with the original, but even if you haven't played the first one, the way that the story unfolds in the sequel will be engrossing enough to keep you playing.

The design of the puzzles is also very smooth, meaning that there is a good balance of logical and object-finding tasks, where most of the stuff surprisingly makes sense. Using just common logic, I was able to determine very quickly what I was required to do in any given situation. None of the puzzles seemed out of place or hastily put together. The game has a very natural progression in every sense and that is probably its greatest asset.

Voice acting is good for the most part (barring a few off key characters) and the musical score is superb, truly creating several movie-like moments during ZoŽ's adventure.
(By the way, ZoŽ is the name of the girl you'll take control over at the start of the game. For more details on the basic plot outline, I suggest you visit this page here.

Visually, I think Funcom did a very good job of bringing a vibrant and magical world to life. Dreamfall takes place some 20 years from now, and the way that the artists have presented the world of the future, as well as the world beyond our plane of reality shows a lot of skill and a sense for aesthetics. The story also ties in nicely to the visual backdrop with gems such as the fact that in the United States some 20 years from now, the official currency will be the Chinese Yuan. I guess Norwegians do have a sense of humor after all.

In a nutshell, while Dreamfall might not be the most challenging adventure game you've ever played and the action elements might not be comparable to good action-adventure games, it still is a treat for adventure fans. It offers an engaging and imaginative storyline, smooth gameplay and compelling environments for players to lose themselves in. Sure, Dreamfall might not have a lot of replay value, but at $40 bucks, it's definitely worth a purchase if you are a fan of adventure gaming.

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ACTIONTRIP SCORE
8.3   Very Good


HIGHS
A smooth and fun adventure game overall;

LOWS
Combat is lacking, might be a bit too easy for hardcore adventure gamers (if they are still alive and able to walk around without adult diapers).

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