A few years ago I played through Bioware’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It won stacks of awards, and was undeniably one of the best games of 2003. It was also the first time I’d played a proper RPG. The concept of levelling a character was entirely alien to me, and I didn’t do a very good job of it. By the time I reached the grand finale I’d spread my experience points so thinly that defeating the final boss was nigh on impossible.
The inventory, storytelling and character interaction, though, were familiar gameplay elements, reminiscent of the classic adventure games of my youth; Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island, Grim Fandango etc. I installed a copy of ScummVM and, through the likes of Adventure Gamers and Just Adventure, discovered that the adventure genre wasn’t nearly as dead as I’d been led to believe. I downloaded demos of The Longest Journey and Syberia. I scoured the shops in a vain effort to find these fabled saviours of narrative gaming. I discovered that the cancellation of Sam & Max: Freelance Police wasn’t the death knell I’d thought—that the exiles of LucasArts had gone their separate ways and founded many exciting new companies. I subscribed to Ragnar Tornquist’s blog. And then I got rid of my computer.
Last night, after years of anticipation, as the proud (and only slightly smug) owner of a shiny new MacBook Pro with a specially created Windows Vista Ultimate partition, I completed Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. It’s one of the best games I’ve played, and easily deserves to be listed alongside the greats mentioned above. I could give a list as long as you’d like of things that could be improved with the game, but none of them detract from the fact that it showcases some finest writing ever seen in a game, and for that alone you should play it.
Basically this whole post is a rather longwinded way of saying that you should buy this game. Now. It’s only a tenner off Steam. Go on. Find her, save her.