PS4 Review: Dreamfall Chapters

Dream or Nightmare?

I’ve only heard references to Dreamfall or The Longest Journey in the past, so I was unsure what to expect when I heard that the Kickstarter funded sequel would be headed to consoles. I thought it was finally time I saw what all the fuss was about and if I was able to get into it, what with not playing any past games and them not being available on older consoles, you can play them on PC..but that option is limited to me since my laptop is basic beyond belief.

Chapters begins by explaining the premise of the story, which follows the lives of 3 characters across multiple universes. Zoe is a Dreamer from the Stark universe which looks futuristic like Blade Runner, but she can also access the bridge between the worlds called Storytime as well as Arcadia, which is a fantasy world full of magicials. Kian is a former soldier who is charged with treason against his own people, but is soon rescued by the resistance to fulfil his destiny. Finally, we have Saga who we see during the game’s Interludes from baby all the way to old woman, she remains a mystery but she can walk between the dimensions too, but across much more than anyone else.

The plot itself is seriously confusing and will leave you with a lot of “WTF” moments, you know this when even a description for one of the game’s trophies is “What the actual F**k?”. You will switch between the three characters, making decisions that will impact the story in huge ways that aren’t apparent at the time. A second or third playthrough will show you the other ways it can pan out, but there are a lot of consequences to your choices…so be wary is what I’d recommend.

It doesn’t become apparent till quite late as to what connects both Kian and Zoe, but it all comes full circle towards the end and what a crazy, emotional journey it is. The script is brilliant, the characters are all truly memorable and the voice-acting is pretty good too. My favourite character definitely has to be Crow the…well, talking crow who has plenty of sarcasm, wit and funny lines that are brilliant.

As a PC port of sorts, Dreamfall Chapters looks surprisingly good on PS4. It has PS4 Pro support for a higher framerate and resolution, it’s not 4K per se, but it looks better regardless. I did notice a few framerate drops here and there, but overall it’s a decent performance. I did come across a few bugs, but only once did it actually stop me from progressing, which just required a quick reload of the save.

One niggling problem is the constant load screens you’ll come across. Imagine a load screen for a small cutscene, followed by another, then another cutscene, another load screen, then main game, then load screen when entering new area and so on. Each one can take around 30 seconds or so too, so it becomes frustrating after a while…especially when the game itself will take you quite a while to get through, more so if you are planning to do it more than once.

The game feels reminiscent of a point-and-click adventure with it’s puzzles, which aren’t always clear. I did have to look up the solutions on a number of them just because there wasn’t any real clues or the answer was so obscurely hidden that I’d probably still be searching now without it.

These issues aside, Dreamfall Chapters has to be one of the most interesting games I have played in years. The impact of your choices and the following consequences puts to shame anything that Telltale have attempted over the years, and as a huge Telltale fan…that’s hard for me to say.

The Verdict

It’s a shame that Dreamfall Chapters is probably the only game in the series that will be on consoles, since the characters were already established before in the past games along a 20 year period! But playing the old games is not a pre-requisite to understanding Chapters. There’s even a “Story so Far” video you can access in-game, as well as online to fill in the blanks. Chapters has it’s issues with performance and the puzzles are sometimes incredibly vague, but the story and choices you make, plus the repercussions from them are truly amazing. Add in a great cast of characters, believable voice-acting, great dialogue and amazing locations, then you have something truly special and something definitely worth picking up.

Score: 8.5