Dreamfall Chapters: Book One (PC) Episodic Review

Jae Lee

Reborn.

I’ve had a rather tumultuous past when it comes to adventure games.

On one hand, I love stories with intriguing plots and multi-dimensional characters. On the other, I absolutely despise the very nature of classic adventure games; pixel hunting for key items and piecing together ridiculously elaborate solutions to simple problems through trial and error are both mechanics that I cannot stand.

Still, I was interested enough in critically acclaimed titles like Grim Fandango and The Longest Journey to give them a try.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get too far in either game due to my distaste for the mechanics, and even though the story and characters were interesting, they weren’t enough to make me stick around to the end.

Given that I was unable to finish the original, I ignored the sequel that would follow years later.

Now I’m finally revisiting the world of the longest journey for the first time since the last millennium, to find that the series has truly been reborn for the modern age.

MSRP: $29.99 (includes all future episodes to be released as free updates with purchase)
Platforms: PC, PS4 (TBA)
Multiplayer: Tallying choices of other players.
Demo Availability: N/A
Length: 4-5 hours for the first episode.

The story of episode one revolves around building the world and motivations of its characters more than anything else, and it succeeds, on the most part.

From the perspective of someone without any real prior knowledge of the previous two games, I couldn’t help but desire more in-depth explanation on the events that’s come thus far, but all I was given was mostly vague references.

Still, even though I wasn’t getting the full picture, the excellent writing and voice acting brought the characters to life; less like a bundle of polygons and more like real people.

While the first two sections of the game take place in relatively small areas, it inevitably opens up into a wide open city, with pedestrians littering the streets and a multitude of locations to visit.

It’s rather jarring at first, so much to the point that I got lost repeatedly, but luckily there was a interactive direction board which helped me find my way.

The city itself is filled with a ton of detail, most of which the main character will have some kind of comment on, and it was enjoyable just walking around the city listening to her talk.

The world of Dreamfall chapters is expertly crafted with innumerable details.

However, there were some rather serious performance issues in the busy city, and even after turning down the settings, it couldn’t settle on a steady frame rate.

There were also odd little graphical glitches. One in particular came up quite often, where glare and light reflection would go absolutely haywire, and people basically started shooting lasers out of their eyes.

While nothing game breaking, it was enough to break the immersion from time to time, and I certainly hope these are issues that will be addressed in the coming episodes.

The game play itself is rather modest, featuring logic based puzzles with very simple solutions. I believe the most “difficult” puzzle in the first episode revolved around combining two objects together, but it made sense to do so and I didn’t get stuck at any point of the game, not knowing what to do next.

Also, due to the nature of the third-person camera, I had an easier time using my wired 360 controller instead of the mouse and keyboard controls.

Just follow Shitbot and he will lead you to welding. Welding. WELDING. WELDING!

Lasting around five hours, there wasn’t much time to progress the actual story here at all. Instead, the majority of the time was spent introducing characters and the world itself.

Given how delightful many of the characters were and how intricate the world itself was, it was time well spent.

With four more episodes to come, Dreamfall Chapters is off to a great start, and while I hope they will address some of the issues I have with the title thus far, I’m greatly looking forward to the release of the next episode.

Fun Tidbit – Episodic content reviews written by me will follow the format of impressions for the first episode and the final review to follow when all the episodes have been released.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Episodic Reviews are designed to track the progression of games as they introduce new chapters in their story. We break down each entry before giving a final score once all chapters are complete.

Jae Lee
Jae has been a gamer ever since he got a Nintendo when he was just a child. He has a passion for games and enjoys writing. While he worries about the direction gaming as a medium might be headed, he's too busy playing games to do anything about it.
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