First Impressions: Dreamfall

After nearly two weeks of not turning on my 360, I finally got around to downloading some new games.  The first was an XBox Original called Dreamfall: The Longest Journey.  Dreamfall is part of a dying breed… an adventure game.  We all remember those, right?  Where you scour the environment looking for clues & items to solve puzzles & advance the story.  Sadly, adventure games on consoles are few & far between.

Dreamfall was actually released around the same time as the 360, so despite the generally positive reviews, not a lot of people played it.  So what has my impression been so far?  So far I’ve enjoyed my playthrough, even though I’m only on the fourth level… chapter, whatever.  But the game has me interested enough to continue through, in spite of some obvious flaws.

From what I’ve gathered about the game thus far, it takes place in a slightly futuristic world.  The main character is a young woman named Zoe Castillo (pronounced Ca-sti-yo for those who didn’t take Spanish).  She’s recently dropped out of bio-engineering college & moved back in with her dad in Casablanca.  Zoe is experiencing what she hopes in a phase of lack of motivation.  She just doesn’t care to do anything that requires effort.  However, she’s began having these “visions” of a ghostly girl on the tv telling her to find someone named April.  But before Zoe can start to understand what’s going on, she’s drawn into some type of conspiracy after doing a favor for her ex-boyfriend, who happens to be a reporter.  Now he’s gone missing & she has to track him down while avoiding the Big Brother-esque government.

So far the story has me interested.  Zoe’s a relatable heroine, & I like that she’s just an ordinary girl, not some super soldier.  Don’t get me wrong, I like playing as the “chosen one,” but I find stories about unlikely heroes more engaging.  The game reveals just enough story to keep you wanting to learn more.  For example, one minute I was preparing to leave futuristic Casablanca, & the next I’m in some World of Warcraft world fighting knights with a staff.  What’s more, the character is called April, which is the same name as the girl Zoe is supposed to find.  Consider my interest piqued.

The gameplay has been adequate as well.  Nothing ground-breaking, but it works.  Zoe gets illegal tools from her friend that allows her to use her phone to hack & pick locks, which are all done through minigames.  There’s some stealth in the game, but it’s no Thief.  You basically just crouch & avoid making noise or getting in the enemy’s sight.  The combat, however, is atrocious.  I don’t expect adventure games to play like Tekken, but the controls are awkward & clunky.  Thankfully, I’ve been able to avoid most combat by using stealth.

Overall, in spite of the dated controls & graphics, I’m enjoying my time with Dreamfall & look forward to finishing it.

– GamerDame

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