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Review by: Josh Horowitz
Published: May 22, 2006
In a PC gaming market inundated with massively-multiplayer online games, first person shooters, and real-time strategy offerings, it’s refreshing to see that the granddaddy of computer entertainment genres, the adventure, is still alive and kicking. While the big names of the past like Sierra and LucasArts regrettably no longer uphold the adventure gaming tradition, Norwegian developer Funcom has filled in nicely. Funcom, best known for their Anarchy Online releases, came out with the Avault Seal of Excellence award-winning adventure title, The Longest Journey, in 1999. Despite receiving critical acclaim, a sequel seemed far off for this graphical adventure, but designer Ragnar Tornquist was determined to continue the story of heroine April Ryan. The result, after 3 years of development, is the newest chapter in the epic series: Dreamfall.
Dreamfall begins in the same setting as The Longest Journey, on a futuristic earth known as Stark. It has been ten years since the events chronicled in The Longest Journey, and 19-year-old Zoe Castillo lives in Casablanca with her busy father. In a 23rd century world filled with wall screens, talking stuffed animals, and flying cars, Zoe still finds herself restless, without any purpose. That begins to change when mysterious “Static” messages begin to appear on video screens attached to “The Wire,” speaking directly to Zoe and asking her to “find her, save her…” Confused, Zoe meets with her ex-boyfriend Reza, an investigative reporter, only to become embroiled in a conspiracy that leads to Reza’s sudden disappearance. Determined to find him, Zoe travels around the world, following leads and discovering that her destiny is intertwined with a mysterious woman who vanished 10 years ago: April Ryan.
April, the protagonist of The Longest Journey, now lives in the alternate, magical world of Arcadia, a land she discovered due to her ability to “shift” from her native world of Stark. April first appeared in the Northland city of Marcuria, which was invaded by the brutal Tyren of the West. When all seemed lost, the technologically advanced Azadi Empire arrived to liberate Marcuria, but the new liberators eventually became the city’s new occupiers, subjugating all its magical residents. Now April, known to her compatriots as “Raven,” fights for the Marcurian resistance, striving to undermine the occupying Azadi and provide assistance for her people. At the same time, a young Azadi zealot and swordsman named Kian Alvane has been given his first true test of faith by his religious leaders: to stop the head of the rebel terrorists at any cost.
Throughout Dreamfall, players fill the roles of Zoe, April, and Kian, guiding their dialogue, going on quests, sneaking around, and even fighting enemies in order to unravel the expanding mystery. Along the way, new characters and some familiar faces make their appearance to further the storyline, all fully voiced by a dramatic cast and supported by an epic musical score.
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