Inspiron 8600 laptop
Windows XP Professional SP2
Intel(R) Pentium(R) M 1400 MHz processor
585 MHz, 256 MB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 video card 32 MB
60 GB hard drive with 47.5 GB free disk space
Direct X 9.0c
4X DVD+RW drive
camera behavior: normal
camera mode: fixed behind
both axes inverted
normal graphics quality
normal effects quality
hardware mouse: ON
mouse mode: movement
mouse sensitivity: just under halfway
changed heavy attack to "H"
Dreamfall comes on 6 (yes, SIX) CD's. I did have a little trouble installing the game and it took me three tries to finally get. For some reason during installation, my "D" drive kept disappearing when I put in the next disk. When the game launches, the install shield wizard pops up every time and is rather annoying. Holding "shift" while inserting the game disk did not help me with this.
Even with my unsupported video card, the game surprised me by launching and running without a hitch-no freezing, crashing or sputtering. The initial look at the prologue was frustrating as I couldn't get the mouse/cursor to do anything close to what I wanted it to; the default settings are atrocious. Once the settings were adjusted and with a little practice with Zoe in her house, the controls for movement soon became a non-issue. Overall, I found very few bugs and glitches in this game, which to me was surprising, so kudos to the developers and beta testers!
I used the touchpad for movement and occasionally I would need the WASD keys to get the character unstuck from a corner. I discovered after a while I did not have to continually hold the "shift" to walk, just a light swipe on the touch pad and off she goes; another swipe and she's running with just a little toggle now and then to steer. I loved how the characters moved within the game.
The initial fights (not counting tutorials here) were very doable and I thought, "Gee, this isn't so bad!". Famous last words! There were 5-6 confrontations that were high on the frustration level, to the point I did not think I would be able to finish the game. I did not see much chance, if any, of sneaking past without fighting except one or two where you sneak or get killed, period. Personally, I think it's quicker and easier to go through people if I have that option. But with MaG's wonderful WT, I got enough information to progress, with multiple saves and attempts. Inch by agonizing inch!
Dreamfall is a dialogue and cut scene-packed game. It's hard to say who will like this game and who will not. I think there may be too little action/fighting for the action crowd (and too much dialogue) and too much fighting for the adventure crowd. I'm still young enough to have decent reflexes, so the fighting was hard, but apparently not impossible since I got through the game. However, those with poor reflexes, etc, might want to have a teenager handy to get you through these areas! The "sneaking" puzzles were much more entertaining, though not necessarily less difficult.
This game is absolutely beautiful! It was such a fun experience for someone who is not used to graphics commonly found in console games (remember, this is essentially an Xbox game modified for PC). I am hoping PC gaming continues go to in this direction, which it most definitely will as technology progresses. Still, I like the actual gaming experience of The Longest Journey much better. TLJ was more intriguing, even suspenseful. I enjoyed all the different worlds April got to visit and the variety of peoples. Those worlds made TLJ a rich, awe-inspiring story. Not to mention, even with all her trials, April could not die (game over), unlike Dreamfall where I needed considerably more than 9 lives! Thankfully, they built in nice Autosaves before those scenes. Not all of us remember to save game every 2 minutes.
Dreamfall lacked the humor and angst that was present in TLJ. I don't think I had a good laugh until Crow showed up. I would have liked Zoe to have had a little more personality and spunk and April, well, let's just say she's a changed woman. There was so much hype about Dreamfall being another TLJ that I was expecting something a bit different. As a stand-alone game it is good, although I'm not sure I would have run right out and bought it like I did if it hadn't been the sequel to the best game I have played to date. The storyline in Dreamfall seems to me more disjointed, some aspects of which I have no idea how they relate to April, the Balance, and other characters we meet. Ragnor Tornquist will have quite a job to tie up all the loose ends in a satisfying way for his "listeners".
All in all, it was a good game and the cost is comparable to new console and PC games, so I don't think it is overpriced in today's market. I am expecting to see very mixed reviews from gamers, but I would label it an above-average game. In my way of thinking, it is ground-breaking for the adventure genre for the graphics and game engine, at least for the non-console owners.