Somewhat long and boring, but a fun game nonetheless.
Adventure game fans rejoice! The genre isn't dead!
The Longest Journey certain is the "longest" journey I've played. badum-chink!
The game is played through a point-and-click method with a pre-rendered background. Similar to Grim Fandango, in many ways, as well as a number of other adventure games dating back to Sierra's golden age in the early 90s, there's nothing so new to the interface that will leave anyone confused.
The graphics are beautiful, especially the pre-rendered backgrounds. There is amazing scenery throughout the game, from the beautiful areas in the near-future Venice to the colorful island with the snoring giant, to outer space, every part of the game you visit is eye candy. The character models aren't that bad, either.
The story I didn't care for - I'll explain why in the "bad" part - but the setting
of the human world I love. It's a solid setting. It's in the near-future, with flying cars and other cliche'd sci-fi elements, but it's not so overly done to the point where it's not at all believable.
You'll fall in love with the characters in this game. My favorite part about the "adventure" game genre is that it's less of a game and more of an interactive movie. The characters in this game are all great, with great voice-acting and unique personalities. April, the talking crow, the sailor, the guy at the cafe, each character, those that had a large part and those that didn't, have a place in the story and I'll miss'em.
The game is four discs long, and it is a loooooong journey. Depending how much you like the game, you'll be spending a long time with it. The puzzles are pretty hard, and can take some work to solve.
The game is filled with lots of humor, and after you beat it you can access outtakes and other extras. THAT is a great thing, and more games should do that.
Allright, the story is just dumb. The premise of the story - girl dreams of a world, finds out the world is real, goes and saves the universe - has been done before, but it's still a nice idea. Unfortunately, like far too many games of every genre, you can't progress anywhere in the story until you finish running errands for EVERYBODY. It's not the case in every part of the game. In fact, most of the things you do in the game have to do with the story - like placing the monkey in the garbage to fool the guard so you can sneak into the building or something - but there are way too many times when you have to get help from a certain character, but they won't help you until you do them a favor, which leads to another, and another, and another, and another until you've almost forgotten why you needed the guy's help in the first place.
Some of the puzzles aren't very practical at all. Also like most adventure games, every puzzle has but one sollution and there's no other way around it. It's up to you to solve the puzzle, but you can't do it in a practical way. Like, say, you have to fix a broken electrical wire in the subway. Call a technician? No, you have to use a rubber duck (this is actually a part of the game, though I can't remember exactly how it went about). How do you get the rubber duck? You throw gum out the window...maybe in the end, the idea works (use the rubber to ground the electricity or something), but who would ever think to do the things that get
it done in the first place?!
At one point of the game, you have to hear a bunch of stories. Allright, now I'm fine with playing a long game that has a lot of different stories to be told, but I'm not up for sitting down and waiting for an hour while a bunch of bird-people tell me about their history. It's a vital part of the story to hear these stories, too.
The entire story of the game, while executed poorly, was good enough to get you by until the very end. Toward the end, the story just went "kaplooey" and left me pretty damned confused.
April is too ditsy to really be taken seriously. Ever. I wouldn't trust her to take care of my cat, let alone two universes.
The FMV cinematics are awful. The in-game characters looked more realistic than April did. In the cinematics, she looks like she has two black eyes and just got beat up. The animation doesn't seem as good as the in-game animation, either, which is pretty dumb. The FMV is there for dramatic effect, but with a little less effect and better animation, it could have been done in-game and produce the same thing.
There's a race in the game that doesn't live on the same "plane of time". Oh shut up. If it could tell the future, it would have been useful to tell me how I end up solving the damned puzzles.
The Bottom Line
Despite my ranting, as an adventure game it is fun. The story's kind of annoying, but the characters - especially the crow - are great. The graphics are wonderful and you'll spend hours and hours in this game. If you're an adventure fan, get it. If not, save yourself the aggrivation.