By: Ted Chow
Dreamfall Chapters – Book One is a story-driven, episodic adventure that continues off previous titles, The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. Inspired by those past games, you will continue the long awaited journey in a much changed world where you’ve played a crucial part in unweaving the fabric of events. The first book, entitled “Reborn,” will bring a new story in the captivating series and whisk about a new air of mystery, reflection and a voyage of self-discovery.
The controls are provided in your default WASD standard, but a complete remapping of keys is available if you prefer. If you enjoy playing with a controller, you can also opt in with whatever you are most comfortable. Overall, the controls felt relatively smooth, although character movement and camera rotation can feel a bit weighted and idle to your inputs.
Dreamfall Chapters brings a level of dreamlike (almost transcendent) sense of artistic beauty with its stylized characters and environmental backdrops. It really pushes the fidelity in conveying a multitude of bustling worlds from cyberpunk metropolis to the more fantastical. Enough so that even my computer was struggling from optimization issues in areas of highly condense activity.
This doesn’t discredit the fact that the game is provided with great world building and makes you imagine the infinite possibilities. Combined with the orchestral and transcendent score, Dreamfall Chapters is a downright pleasure to listen to and really captures the tone and essence of the moniker.
If you have played games akin to The Walking Dead episodic series, then you will find many similarities to the overall format. Dreamfall Chapters – Book One is the first of five books in the series and follows the story of Zoe, Kian and Saga in a loose order. Your decisions and actions will come full circle by the end of the fifth book.
It is a tale of reflection, consequence and self discovery within a greater immersive theme. How your choices and actions affect your own personal playthrough are yet to be seen as the first book hasn’t shown too many instances of the results of your decisions. However, I am curious to see where it all goes and if there is true choice with a multitude of resolutions.
As far as gameplay goes, you will control the main protagonists and largely interact with the environment to progress the story. Dreamfall Chapters foregoes combat and skilled acrobatics for a more emotional journey with a heavy emphasis on dialogue and character interaction. You will spend a lot of time navigating through internal monologues and decisions that will have greater implications for your character down the road.
There is a level of depth in these interactions as you can really delve deep into the psyche of these individuals and develop emotional attachments. These internal monologues are also enriched by a cast of great voice actors that provide a level of personality appropriate to the characters. The character development portrayed in Dreamfall Chapters is a crucial part of the immersion, and it is truly fulfilling, even early on, to see the growth of the protagonists.
The world building in Dreamfall Chapters is a sight to behold as the world, especially Europolis, is eerily similar to our own reality. Social strife and issues are prevalent throughout and a multitude of ambiguous agendas are intertwined into the city’s utopian façade. The city can also be portrayed as a living being in itself with all the different cultures and philosophies shaping an ever-changing identity akin to nurturing the curious mind. Even listening to the NPCs that inhabit the world offers a great variety of breadth and curiosity to social causes.
If there is an encompassing theme that Dreamfall Chapters instills it would have to be the power of choice and the resulting fallout of said choices. It is interesting to see how an alternate humanity within the game could have followed down different paths, and it is even more interesting to see what triggers brought about these changes.
Life is about choices after all, and the perceived notion that those choices will come to define the person or entity. Whether the game is trying to convey any particular message is up to the player to analyze and decide, but it is unquestionable that all entities will come upon divergent crossroads that they must choose and live with whatever transpires.
If there’s a complaint about Book One, it would have to be how short the experience was and the longing to see how your decisions affect the world and characters. Hopefully the other books will be released at good intervals to relieve the compulsion of wanting to know how the story evolves.
Beyond that, the story has kept me intrigued and longing to see how everything unfolds for our protagonists. Multiple playthroughs will definitely be needed in order to go through all the different story arcs and divergent paths for the complete experience.
It was definitely hard to be cognizant of spoilers as there is so much to discuss and explore within the given story. That is the sign of good narrative, however, and I hope to those that do enjoy a good story download Dreamfall Chapters – Book One and experience your own personal journey in the embodiment of the protagonists.
What would you do if this was your reality, and how would your choices affect those around you? Only time will tell, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to dream.