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Dreamfall Chapters: Book Four - Revelations (PC) artwork

Dreamfall Chapters: Book Four - Revelations (PC) review


"New beginnings on the last few steps."


Letís have a quick chat about consequence, you and me. Nothing heavy: I certainly donít want to play moral judge and jury, I just want to tell you about this thing I did. Vaguely, so I donít drop spoilers. You see, I had a choice to make in Book 3. It all seemed very innocent in the face of other choices Iíve been forced to make over time and I picked what I thought was the right thing to do. For me, certainly, but also for everyone else involved. I only had a few handful of seconds to do what I thought was best, but spent a lot of my journey through Book 4 quite pleased by my actions. Almost smug, you might say. Even the people who, arguably, should have been the ones affected most harshly by my choice seemed to understand it - support it as correct, even. Dreamfall has this wonderful habit when it comes to choices, making them matter more than they should; it allows you to be wrong. So, in contrast, it must allow you to be rightÖ right?

My choice played out swimmingly until the exact moment that it became directly responsible for absolute disaster. Directly responsible. It was unavoidably all my fault. And I felt awful.

Dreamfall Chapters: Book Four - Revelations (PC) image


The fourth book is aptly named Revelations, and itís the chapter when all those little choices youíve been picking away at for the past year suddenly gang up on you and shank you right in the heart. Ignoring the cyberpunkish world of Stark completely, it follows twin protagonists, ZoŽ and Kian trying to wrap up their roles in the magical lands of Arcadia. Kianís part is reduced to sabotage and chicanery within the confines of a concentration camp for magical creatures, established by the doctrine he once fully subscribed. Since his introduction in the original Dreamfall, his blind devotion has been slowly eroded to the point where heís less rebelling against it, but taking action against his own people to respect the principles he continues to hold dear. Itís attacked in little bite-sized bubbles around ZoŽís head-first stumbling through a world she only arrived at by the end of the last book.

Arcania isn't new to ZoŽ; she spent the majority of the first Dreamfall skipping back and forth between the worlds but has spent her time between games in a coma and her time throughout Chapters not being able to quite remember her previous actions. That veil now truly broken, she finds herself with a lot to do in a very short time. Reality is about to stop existing, which is bad news for everyone so thatís a thing she should stop. While Kianís contributions are sharp and focused, ZoŽ has the time to be more whimsical. Introduce herself to Acradiaís cast sheís not met yet or catch up with returning characters she can only vaguely recall.

Sheíll find need to hunt down Roper Klacks, for instance, evil wizard mastermind in The Longest Journey who stole the wind and petrified townsfolk for fun, and goofy reformed sidenote in Dreamfall, pedalling an autobiography about how heís left all that scheming and genocide behind. In Chapters, heís a dangerous conglomeration of the two extremes, his extroverted colourful persona slipping now and then to reveal poisoned, calculated hisses of bitter hatred. Sheíll return to the now-hollow bandu camp April once visited to learn the fate of the Gribbler. Sheís long dead, of course, but her house is occupied by something darker and older. Something significantly more dangerous that might just hold the key to saving everything.

Dreamfall Chapters: Book Four - Revelations (PC) image


The encounter at the Gribblerís house is a small block of puzzles and a lot of dialogue that still manages to be just about the creepiest thing Iíve played this year. Itís coloured slightly by choices ZoŽ has made along the way, but stands as a testament to Red Threadís world building. It doesnít concern itself with dropping encyclopaedic lore dumps on your lap; why should it? Itís a situation that has existed before the world was born, and is not dependent on your understanding. It also helps that such a moment of gravitas has happened right at the point where the entire game engine has been overhauled to Unity 5x. Itís not been an easy transition, knocking the fourth bookís release back while the developers fought valiantly against the host of issues trying to port the prevailing books to the new engine wrought. Like all things digital, it was always destined to be a bigger job then it seemed on paper, but that Revelations is native to the new engine rather than shoehorned into it shows brilliantly. Previous issues of things being over-lit or of lip syncing flat-out giving up seem to be things of the past. The dark secrets ZoŽ is forced to dig though revel in their new splendour.

Itís a chain of successes, both technical and artistic. The universe as we know it even has a good chance it might be saved. Cautious optimism is doled out; people start to think about the future again. And then, consequences.


5/5

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (December 14, 2015)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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