Dreamfall, sequel to the outstanding ‘The Longest Journey’, sees you play
three characters rather than the original's one. Zoe Castillo, April Ryan and a
large, square-jawed bloke with a rather large sword whose name I've conveniently
forgotten. As the game progresses you swap between the various characters in
order to further advance the plot, before resuming control of the
game's primary protagonist, the irritatingly angst-ridden Zoe.
Unlike the original, Dreamfall's picturesque environs are entirely 3D,
which makes them very nice to look at, but a little annoying to navigate. In
addition, the challenging puzzles from the first game are pretty much
non-existent, having been replaced by a particularly ham-fisted attempt at a
fighting game. Every once in a while you'll have to engage in an impromptu bout
of either brawling or swordplay, the execution of which is both awkward and
Dreamfall's best feature remains its compelling story; a story which is
rudely cut short by the game's abrupt ending. Various plot threads are left
dangling, the identity of a mysterious cloaked person harbouring nefarious
intent is never revealed. The finale, such as it is, is rather like someone
unplugging your monitor and then holding up a piece of cardboard upon which are
scrawled the words “Are our heroes really dead? Who is that creepy chap in the
billowy cloak? And could an emaciated British girl really beat the crap out of
an aggressive Australian drunk with nothing but her bare hands? Tune in next
time for the answers to these questions and more!”
The sad truth is that Dreamfall plays more like half a game than a whole one.
Which is a shame, because the half we do get to play, with the exception of the
cack-handed fighting, is both interesting and enjoyable.