D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die

D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die

We've been gesturing and voicing our way through the misty world of Swery65's latest game.

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We really appreciate games that makes us pause for a moment and think, games that bring something new to the table that we've never seen before. At times this can also mean too much of a good thing, and that's pretty much where D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die lands. It's a love child of sorts between David Lynch and Telltale Games, where each and every scene makes us stop and think about what's actually going on.

But let's take it from the top, D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die is the story of private detective David Young, a Boston native who's loved one has been murdered. He was shot as it happened and survived the ordeal himself, but has no memory of what transpired. Fortunately, since then, he has the ability to travel back through time to gain back glimpses of what happened by touching key items. Now he is hoping to solve the murder and hopefully even be able to prevent it from ever happening in the first place.

D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
Kinect is used in a lot of clever ways during the adventure, but it can make the simplest of tasks a heavy burden.

This proves easier said than done, as the last thing his other half uttered before dying was "Look for D... ", which leaves us with a lot of potential suspects. David (whose name starts with "D", incidentally) has, ever since the murder, only accepted cases where a suspect has a name starting with the letter "D". Perhaps a bit odd, but not overly strange.

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D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die is basically designed with Kinect in mind, and it actually works surprisingly well to play the game using the camera, but still there are issues every now and then, just to remind us of how unruly Kinect can be when it sets its mind to it. However, in our opinion, it really isn't that well suited for most types of games. The development team here, headed by the enigmatic Swery65, has been so focused on Microsoft's camera that they didn't implement proper controller support.

The result is a game where you either sit and swear at Kinect, or the controller; your choice. The former is preferable, and it offers a rather creative use of several surprising features. If you muster the occasional frustration, you'll get plenty of entertainment as you explore your surroundings, and engage in hand to hand combat. Whatever means of control you opt for, you cannot avoid the fact that D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die has some pretty blatant shortcomings.

D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
The music is of the highest calibre and you're constantly surprised by the genre choices.

The most obvious one has to do with stamina. You're playing an adventure game that's reminiscent of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead in terms of structure, but your ability to point and click and explore is limited. There's a stamina meter to consider, and so you have to eat something after performing mammoth tasks such as reading the newspaper or looking at a palm tree. It chops up the game, and not being able to check out items that are laid out for examination adds to the feeling of frustration.

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As a result you can find yourself standing in front of an obvious clue, but not able to inspect it simply because you have to eat something first. It certainly tested our patience, and this is by far the slowest game we've ever played. It makes chess look like a lucha libre brawl. Certainly there are many more patient people out there who will be more forgiving, but the overly long conversations simply don't hold much appeal to us.

D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
Something is not quite right with David Young's neighbour.

It takes some of the fun out what it is clearly one of the strangest video games in recent years. We don't want to spoil it for you, but just ten minutes into the adventure we've let loose our neighbour in our flat, a girl who thinks herself a cat and is dressed like a Playboy bunny - a "cat fight" (between the girl and an actual cat, that is) breaks out after which we're served a lengthy dialogue on the subject of clam chowder. There really is nothing like this out there.

At the core there is an interesting story that drives us to continue, and while the weird stuff is wonderful, the game makes it unnecessarily difficult to digest. At the end of the day we would have loved for Swery65 to have written the script, while a studio like the aforementioned Telltale Games had developed the actual game. It's something to consider if you're a fan of weird Japanese games (certainly if you enjoyed Deadly Premonition) and you're equipped with a little patience, but be aware of the many shortcomings as you dive into D4.

D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
Whether or not you're able to investigate the item on the table depends on whether you've eaten anything. A very annoying game mechanic.
06 Gamereactor UK
6 / 10
Original concept, Interesting story, Great characters, Wonderful tunes.
Pointless restrictions, Questionable controls, Extremely slow pace.
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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D4: Dark Dreams Don't DieScore

D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die

REVIEW. Written by Jonas Mäki

"While the weird stuff is wonderful, the game makes it unnecessarily difficult to digest."

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