Dreamfall Review

I loved The Longest Journey when it was originally released back in 1999. For a brief moment, adventure gamers were given a small sliver of hope that the genre wasn't dead... however this was not to be the case (although adventure games still exist, it's just they're made by indie developers nowadays :)).

The Longest Journey had a sequel in the form of Dreamfall which was released 7 years later in 2006. While I initially was going to buy this, I decided not to because of the intrusive DRM it used known as Starforce which actually requires you to reboot your computer as it installs device drivers onto your machine.

Fast forward five years and Dreamfall was on sale for a very cheap price on Steam. I decided to give it a shot since it appears that at least the Steam version doesn’t have the Starforce DRM (or at least it’s not as bad as before).

Sound (4/5)
For some of the characters, especially Zoe, the voice acting seems a bit wooden and contrived.

Music (4/5)
No truly memorable themes but Dreamfall, just like its predecessor has a beautiful orchestral soundtrack.

Graphics (3/5)
The graphics look a bit dated now but they’re still surprisingly passable for a game that is five years old.

Plot (4/5)
Just like The Longest Journey, Dreamfall has a strong plot, thanks to the detail that has gone into the creation of the two worlds of Stark and Arcadia. The game’s main protagonist is Zoe Castillo who seems to be your typical spoiled rich kid, until she uncovers a sinister plot once one of her best friends go missing. The game takes you to several locations across the world of Stark and Arcadia (and some places in between) as you unravel the mystery.

Unfortunately I cannot give a perfect score since I have no idea how the game ends… I’ll explain more later in the review.

Gameplay (2/5)
Dreamfall took a big gamble in departing from the traditional point ‘n’ click adventure and made the game more like an action adventure with RPG elements. Basically you now get a choice in several parts of the game where you can choose to either fight your way out, talk your way out or sneak your way out when facing obstacles. While it generally works well, the controls are a bit annoying and it’ll take a lot of getting used to for PC players.

Also while most puzzles are pretty easy to solve, sometimes you get ones which are ridiculously hard – one such puzzle only gives you the solution once (in terms of a sound effect) and if you didn’t hear it the first time, it’s game over! I had to resort to an online walkthrough in order to get past!

Replayability (1/5)
I’ll give the game one point at least for replayability since I can see you will get some replay value by trying different approaches to obstacles. Sadly there is no way I’m going to play this game again because…

Polish (0/5)
… I came across a show stopper bug! At one point in the game a cut scene involves Zoe and a newly met acquaintance walking down some stairs. Unfortunately either of them can get stuck in an infinite loop and it’s pretty much game over. Don’t ask me why, it’s just what happens! I tried several times to get past by reloading games further and further back but to no avail. Since I can’t finish the game thanks to poor testing on part of the developers, I have to give it a bit fat zero for polish.

Score - 6/10

It’s a pity I couldn’t actually finish Dreamfall, since it seemed like a great retro game that could stand the test of time!

If you want to get the game, you can get it off Steam.