Dreamfall Chapters Book One: Reborn Review

Dreamfall Chapters Book One: Reborn is the continuation of The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey games. The story continues where the previous game left off. It’s an action adventure point and click that emphasizes choices and consequences. Similar to other games of its genre, the story of Dreamfall Chapters is what gives the series its legs. The game is developed by Red Thread Games, an independent studio based in Norway. The game is being released in an episodic format and there will be a total of five books. The first book, Reborn, is available now. Buying the season pass gives you access to each book as it is released.

The story follows two protagonists who live in separate worlds. Zoë Castillo lives in a futuristic version of our own. Through events of previous games she’s gained a few supernatural powers. She can influence people’s thoughts, provide them with “light”, and slow down time. As the player you utilize theses abilities to accomplish tasks including puzzle solving. Kian Alvane, on the other hand, lives in the parallel world of magic called Arcadia. He’s an experienced soldier and a special agent of the Six Empresses of the Azadi. Unfortunately, after his introduction chapter, you play as Zoë for the remainder of book one. He is a primary character, so expect to see and play as him again in book two.

Something the game has done very well, is build a world that feels believable. Zoë’s world seems like it could be a possible place to live 200 years from now. The city of Europolis is dark and gritty. Junkies fill the sidewalks of the slums and dubious political players jockey for power where they can. The puzzles are also a highlight, though there are only a few. When the game does implement them, it does it well. You’ll look for items, sometimes having to combine two, to use as tools to finish your objective. The solutions aren’t always obvious, which is great. Aside from the puzzles you’ll make several choices that the game remembers. Upon completion of the book you’ll be shown a summary of your choices and you’re given some foreboding hints about what the impending consequences could be. This should lead to some interesting twists in story later on down the road.

However, there are a few things I’d like to see improved. First and foremost, the game needs to better convey how it expects the player to interact with the world. I spent at least fifteen minutes trying to buy a certain item from a vendor on the street before discovering I had to click an object on the table and then talk to the vendor again. A nice prompt could have saved time and frustration. Also, most of the important dialogue will occur in your normal third person view. The camera doesn’t move to face who’s speaking like in most voice acted adventures. However, near the end, the camera suddenly does focus on the person who’s speaking. It’s great that it does, but why wasn’t it implemented throughout? When the camera was focused on the characters during dialogue I was significantly more invested in what was being discussed.

Something that’s worth nothing is that’s some people have found the pace of this book to be fairly slow. It’s a fair point and in response to players’ reactions Red Thread Games has said that this was their intention. They’re hoping the pace of the subsequent books will stand in stark contrast to these slower chapters. It’s great that they’ve specifically addressed fans’ concerns. Most developers aren’t so prompt in reassuring their fan base.

I’m new to the series, Dreamfall Chapters was a captivating foray into the game’s universe. I wish I had been following the story from its inception but after the introductory chapters I didn’t feel lost. The writing is great and the story has a lot of room to grow and improve. Knowing that the developers have a pulse on the what the fans are wanting is reassuring and goes a long way toward building good faith with new players. I really enjoyed playing through Dreamfall Chapters Book One: Reborn one and I’m definitely looking forward to playing book two.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@brashgames.co.uk.

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