Mental note: do not start up a new adventure game at 10:30 at night, “just to see how it looks”.

I started on Dreamfall last night. Dreamfall is an adventure game with a few action elements in it, and is the sequel to the widely praised The Longest Journey. It was developed by FunCom and published by my very own Aspyr Media.

The first thing I noticed about Dreamfall is that its keyboard/mouse control scheme is a crime against humanity. If you play this game on the PC, do yourself a favor and use a gamepad. Mine is actually a trusty green PS2 Dual Shock controller attached to a PS2-to-USB adapter, and once I got it set up properly the camera stopped whipping around wildly and the game settled down into a very nice control scheme.

The second thing I noticed about Dreamfall is that it is pretty – by far the prettiest game of its type I’ve ever played. The artists did a good job keeping the human characters out of the valley but still making them more realistic-looking and expressive than mere cartoons. The voice acting is also very good once you get past the cliched prologue. The world of the future it presents is surprisingly plausible, because it’s basically this world…only more so.

Now, that’s all fine and good, but is the game compelling? Um…yeah. It compelled me to stay up way too late seeing what would happen next, and I can’t wait to get back home this evening and play it some more.

Downsides? I played straight through the first two chapters last night and did not run into a single puzzle that gave me any trouble whatsoever. All to often, Zoë will actually tell you what you need to do. I know, I know, adventure games can’t be too hard if they are going to hit the mainstream (again), but at some point it would be nice to hit something I have to actually think about. I’m sure it’ll get tougher later.

Also the stealth and combat elements in the game are both trivially easy…why even put them in the game if you’re not going to utilize them well?

But overall, it’s off to a good start, and I haven’t even gotten to the…weirdness I know is coming.