Dreamfall Chapters is an emotional, nail-biting and enchanted journey with a unique plot. Though I haven’t played the two games that came before it, this game was a conclusion to the series that didn’t need players to have any prior experience with the universe or characters. I was really interested in the fact that the game trailer promised to make the player immersed in two worlds, one a sci fi futuristic goldmine and the other a steampunk/medieval world of magic. At first, I was feeling kind of sceptical about how that would work… but I was proven completely wrong!
Our main heroine, Zoe Castillo, is trapped in a coma somewhere in the waking world. When Zoe went after her missing journalist friend Reza who had been on the trail of the shady WATIcorp (known for selling their popular Dream Machines), she discovered a conspiracy leading her to believe that the machines were addictive and dangerous to the public. Things got even worse when it was discovered that Zoe’s mother was somehow behind it all and she put her own daughter into a coma to shut her up.
The game starts off in the world of Storytime, described as the place between waking and dreaming. Though her body is trapped, Zoe’s mind is walking through Storytime. There, she can use her mental abilities that let her do epic things like slow down time or get in someone’s mind. She sees firsthand what the Dream Machine is doing to people who use it and tries to save them one by one but it’s not enough. After a visit from a familiar face, Zoe is motivated to finally wake up and return to her world of Stark (or the world of science and machines) where she can get more answers and save the two worlds threatened by an impending darkness.
Our other lead character is a traitor to his people, the magic hating Azadi, and has been arrested for it. However, Kian is broken out of prison by a member of the resistance – a group of people who believe that he will fight alongside him and beat out the Azadi so that the magicals can live freely again. Now on the side of the rebels, Kian goes on a journey of redemption among characters who are either seriously distrustful or really excited about him being there.
Right off the bat, I found myself connecting with Zoe. Maybe it’s because we’re the same age or that the sarcasm in her narration had me laughing within seconds of starting the game. I loved that she was willing to help a defenceless little girl caught in a nightmare even when she was feeling frustrated and shitty about her own situation. In the waking world, Zoe is good with tech and an intelligent person so despite not having some crazy ninja assassin skills or something, she can take care of herself.
When it came to Kian, I felt almost as distrustful of his loyalties as his fellow rebels. I worried that he sounded like a self-righteous brute at the beginning until he started interacting with the other members of the rebellion and a little thief named Bip. As the game went on, I slowly got attached to Kian like I had Zoe – even if it took a bit longer.
The third main character that I was introduced to was a mysterious girl named Saga. Between chapters, you get to play as Saga for a bit – first as a toddler, then a child, a teen and finally a young woman. She was mysterious and clearly had powers (which include walking between worlds) but seeing as you only ever saw her in her home, you have no idea how she’ll affect the rest of the story/characters until the end – the suspense was killing me!
Gameplay wise, the controls were easy to figure out and I played without encountering any glitches which was awesome – However, I did have one tiny problem when playing. Sometimes the directions were incredibly vague about what to do next and a short mission turned into a bit of a headache, trying to figure out what I was supposed to do. If the instructions had been a little clearer in the ‘goals’ box, I definitely would have gotten frustrated a lot less.
Despite that though, the story was really engaging and I found myself tearing through it to uncover the ending. The game offers a ton of choices whether it be in dialogue or actions and at the end of every chapter, the game recaps those choices you made. It was clear early on that this is a game where you must be careful of who you trust and keep in mind that even the smallest decisions that seem mundane will affect things. I knew that even before the credits rolled, I’d be replaying this game again so that I could see how things might change if I had done things differently.
The details in the environments were gorgeous and each place that you visited – whether it was in the world of science or magic – was drastically different to the one you visited before it. It really made me appreciate the imaginations of the writers and artists behind the game who created a universe so interesting and unique. Whether I was running through the futuristic Chinese market of Stark, visiting the magical marketplace in Marcuria or was busy being in serious awe of Storytime and it’s northern-lights-like sky, it was all very stunning to look at.
Even the characters all looked drastically different from the others. Some of the secondary characters were seriously striking to look at, like Enu, a young Zid farmer turned rebel. Her big eyes, fur and ears were so cool and unlike anything I’d ever seen in a fantasy game – she also looked nothing like her fellow magicals Shepard or Likho.
And the last thing that I thought I’d mention about the game was the music – between the immersive world and unique characters, the music really helped set the mood for action packed scenes or several moments that made me want to tear up. If that’s on iTunes or something, I’m down to pick it up!
With all that said, aside from the few frustrating things I found in the game, it was absolutely worth the play through! Dreamfall Chapters is a game that would appeal to a ton of different fans because it includes two of the most popular genres in games and the option to make your own decisions is a awesome feature! It makes you more invested in the characters and the pace of the story is killer – always unraveling some of the mysteries but not enough.
So then you decide ‘one more chapter’ and before you know it, it’s 4 am and you’ve gone through 3 more chapters by accident. I’ll definitely be recommending this game to my friends and will probably pick up the other games in the series to get the rest of the story!
Have you ever played any of the games in the Dreamfall series? What do you think about mixing the genres of high fantasy and sci fi? Let us know in the comments below!