Dreamfall Chapters Book One

Can you spot Wonkers?

In preparation for Dreamfall Chapters, I rewatched Dreamfall. That seemed like a good idea, given how long it had been. I could have replayed it myself, but… At least this way I got to skip all these tedious combat sequences, which were the sole bad thing about it. I didn’t replay/rewatch The Longest Journey (I wish that game would be remade like Monkey Island 2), because considering how April Ryan was sidelined and ultimately removed, its story seemed no longer relevant to what’s going on now in Chapters (except for the rubber ducky still being at large).
I must admit I was really impressed by this game. The graphics, the music… all a lot better than I expected it to be. The game creates a mood that really agrees with me and so far it looks like the combat encounters from Dreamfall are nothing but a bad memory. :D
That’s not necessarily something to hold against Chapters, but it sometimes seems like they played Telltale games like TWD a little bit too much, when the game starts stating info of the type “x will remember y”, but that’s still easy to forgive, I mean the Telltale stuff sells after all…
The story seems alright so far, it certainly offers a nice re-entry into the world of Dreamfall (they managed to keep the tone of the previous game surprisingly well and I liked a lot how it continues exactly where the story stopped) and I don’t think it’s possible to say a lot more about it, after only experiencing 1/5 of it.
I’m a little bit torn about “decisions” in games like this, because they too often either offer little difference and/or it’s not possible to make an informed decision on what to choose, given the way such options are usually presented. What I mean by that, is that often the already mentioned “x will remember y” message pops up at the top of the screen, when I didn’t even realize that my actions would be counted as a choice. An example for this is a scene, in which a character known to Zoe is threatened by some thugs and if the player walks towards them, he has made the choice to intervene. So the other option obviously would have been to not move at all, or even walk into another direction, but the problem is that in many other, typical scenarios in the game nothing happens when walking towards anyone, not unless the appropriate action button to talk to them is pressed. How is the player supposed to know, that in this single instance, just walking without doing anything else, is the choice? In my opinion it’s not possible for the player to know that, unless someone has already played the game before. That might branch the game somewhat, but it’s still not a consciously made choice.
There are more problems with the “choices” in the game, I remember a scene in which a normal dialog option prompted the ominous “he will remember that” message. I don’t want to sound too negative about it, it’s great that they are really trying to do something here, but considering how this gameplay mechanic is implemented or works sometimes, I often feel confused or even angry, when I selected something I never recognized as such a choice beforehand and I’m certainly detached from all of it, when I have to choose between options that I absolutely can’t make an informed decision about. In these instances, I only end up selecting SOMETHING simply to proceed… Sure, sometimes in life you have to make choices without being able to know their outcome, but I still can’t imagine this was always the intent in such a game.
So far the patch support has been great, they managed to roll out some significant improvements in only a short amount of time and I hope they can keep it up in the future, should this be necessary.
There are now only 2 more Kickstarter games I backed and haven’t gotten yet. I’m almost shocked how, so far, none of them have disappointed me/couldn’t fulfill their promise. I always hear these KS horror stories, but so far I’ve been completely spared.
I’m definitely going to replay Book One to benefit from the latest patches.

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  1. 1 Life is Strange™ Episode 1 | adrift

    […] was previously sharing my thoughts on “decisions” in games of these formats because of Dreamfall Chapters, so it comes as a relief that they too have a little different, maybe more interesting approach […]

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