The Longest Journey
is clearly related to Walking Dead
style games, or even Uncharted
linear adventure stories. But it was made a decade before we learned how to stop adventure games from sucking.
Theoretically a puzzle in a point and click should do one of these things:
- Simulate the protagonists actions to help us empathise with the character
- Help us to learn more about the world
- Provide satisfaction from solving a puzzle
Barring one quest, this game does none of that. In fact it contains the worst puzzle line
I've ever played. A mysterious old man has revealed cryptic hints about your past and offers more if you meet up with him inside a cinema. Cool, intriguing stuff. But instead of striking whilst the player is hooked the designers thought it best to send the player off on a huge quest-chain to get inside the cinema involving dipping sweets in petrol and a man dancing like a monkey because a shadow told him too.
None of it teaches us about the world and it's so absurdly illogical that, instead of feeling satisfaction, I was worried that I was damaging my brain trying to think at a level where taking bread from a bar so I can get a seagull to attack an inflatable is reasonable There's no rewarding feeling in solving a puzzle that doesn't make sense in the first place.
And all I'm saying is, I find it quite hard to empathise with a character whose first thought after not being able to get into a cinema is to pull out the clamps and rubber duck.
In a story game, puzzles shouldn't involve getting items should involve doing more than a character would reasonably go. No-one is going to break into a police station to buy a coke or cross the city multiple times to open a door. They should use intelligence and serve a purpose in your game. If they don't, get rid of them because they're just stopping the player from connecting with the story.
And it is a good story, incredibly original for a game, The Neverending Story
style fantasy mixed with cyberpunk and a fiery protagonist who has some surprisingly delicate backstory with her father. I'm pleased I experienced the whole story, I just wish I didn't have to go through so much inanity to get there.