The Longest Journey is by far my favourite adventure game. It’s a great blend of puzzles, voice acting, story and myth.
Dreamfall was a departure. An attempt to bring adventure gaming into the third person, mixing some combat and platforming. Whilst the story was great, the mechanics were frustrating. Oh, and let’s not talk about a ten year cliffhanger.
Dreamfall Chapters attempts to return to the adventure gaming roots. It’s still a 3D third person game, but incorporates branching dialog not unlike a modern RPG. You’re told repeatedly that “your decisions will have consequences”. Sort of. Not as much as you might have hoped.
Gameplay wise, there was a clear attempt to emulate the recent success of massive RPG games such as Skyfall and Skyrim. Wander around, talk to people, interact with items. Except that it’s not as big as these games, and despite the promises that “your decisions have consequences”, the consequences aren’t /that/ massive. It’s still a linear game, with a well defined story to tell. The window dressing changes depending on your decisions, but not really the overall outcome of the game.
For an adventure game, there’s a crucial missing component. Puzzles. There are a few, but there is a huge amount of cut scenes and dialog. Weirdly, for the final cut, two of the best puzzle sequences in chapter 1 and chapter 3 were removed from the game to “streamline gameplay”. This is a decision that I struggle to understand. The remaining puzzles take seconds to minutes at most to solve, and rarely present a challenge to a well seasoned adventure gamer. The lack of gameplay gives the effect of some very beautiful cut scenes losely strung together with some walking around.
The writing, voice acting and story are superb. Always have been, and this game feels no different, which makes some of the gameplay sins forgiveable. Questions are answered, and tying up lots of the mysteries from the first game especially is most appreciated, and mild egg face to the players who had made assumptions after playing the first game.
Unlike Dreamfall, this game leaves the story feeling finished, which is a nice place to be.