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SummaryA sequel that shows the adventure genre is dying.
The GoodThe graphics of Dreamfall are the strongest part of the game obviously. The locations remain exact replicates of the locations in the first game(except those who are new of course) and everything looks absolutely stunning(taken you have the machine to run this game on optimal performance that is). The models look realistic(my biggest grief with the first game were the models which always looked too polygonized for me), but sadly, that's where the game stops impressing me.
The BadBecause underneath the layer of impressive state-of-the-art graphics, lie a confusing story with thousands of continuity issues, horrendous voice acting, and music that fails to live up to the awesome jazzy tracks of the first game. The decision to not have the Jukebox in the Fringe Cafe in the sequel just baffles me, it was one of the coolest elements of the first game and I missed it. A lot.
As mentioned, the story is very confusing and a lot of it makes no sense if you keep the first game in mind. 1. Charlie is still working on the Fringe Cafe, 10 years after the first game, where he mentioned that the job on the cafe was only to pay for his education(he was studying to be a dancer). Therefore, he either failed miserably on his biggest dream, or the writers just didn't keep in mind he studied to be a dancer. He never mentions in the script of Dreamfall that he wanted to be a dancer, only that he took over the cafe after the previous owner, Stan. 2. Emma(who looks nothing like she did in the first game) mentions that when April told that she had gone to another dimension, she believed April and Charlie was the one in doubt. In fact, April never tells Emma and Charlie about Arcadia in the first game, and Charlie was the one who wanted to listen while Emma claimed April had gone mad. 3. Despite this being a game developed by Norwegians, the Norwegian version of Dreamfall sounds terrible. It's more like a badly translated version of the English script. While in the first game, the script was all Norwegian, the Norwegian script in Dreamfall contains a lot of English words for places and names(which makes no sense since they were Norwegian words in the first game). Also, a lot of the voice actors have been replaced. I have nothing against Petronella Barker, but I think a lot of the fans were disappointed that Synnøve Svabo didn't return to her role as April Ryan.
I have one thing to say about the voice acting: It sucks! The actors don't sound like they know what they are saying, they also sound completely uninterested, like they were paid to say the lines, but never instructed on what they are talking about. The music sounds incredibly stock, but this is perhaps done on purpose to make you pay more attention to the lackluster voice acting...
The Bottom LineCompared to The Longest Journey, Dreamfall is a sequel that could have been an awesome game with awesome graphics, but because of the issues I had with the story and the voice acting, which should be the essences in the game, it fails to impress me. Not to mention it has been simplified and the action elements makes it feel more like an action game than an adventure game.
The adventure genre is clearly decaying, which this game really shows. Stick to the first game, it may not have impressive graphics, but the original story remains the best.
Why this became the Game Of The Year is beyond my comprehension.