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Old 01-26-2013, 07:29 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2011
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My Review (Old school style with a complex story but dated graphics)

Be Forewarned:
This is a pretty old game and you may have trouble running it on modern machines.
I personally encountered the "No FMV/Cutscenes playing" problem until i had to set my Power Options to "High Performance" which solved the issue. This solution may, or may not work for you.

This review may also contain minor puzzle spoilers.

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The Longest Journey is a graphic adventure game that was released back in 1999 by Funcom, who is nowadays more widely recognized for Age of Conan and The Secret World. During its time, it was hailed as one of the best graphic adventure games ever made (which i never played. I was more interested in Lucasarts and Sierra games in those days). Now at 2013, close to 14 years after it was first released, is it really a good game and does it age well?

The most important element for any good adventure game is a good story, and this game most certainly delivers, although sometimes abit too much. It starts off simple enough, about an 18-year old art student April Ryan, her daily frustrations about school and boys until she starts having strange dreams and visions. What follows next is a mind bending over-the-top story plot spanning 12 chapters that will involve parallel universes and saving the very essence of reality. This is a very complex story indeed but can sometimes be too complex due to the many story jargons it throws at you and may be kindda hard to follow at times.

The art style have not aged very well. While the background art still does somewhat holds up well enough although barely, the 3D character art looks extremely dated. The look is reminiscent of early 90s 1st generation attempts at 3D characters in a video game. While this may be passable in 1999, it definitely looks ancient now in 2013, though I certainly cannot fault it for that. The game also runs at at maximum of 640 x 480 resolution, so it will look extremely pixellated running at full screen on modern widescreens. Sadly, there was never any "HD" patch ever made.

Gameplay wise, it adheres to the "Lucasarts" gaming philosophy where you will never ever come to a premature Game Over screen just because you forgot to pick up a tiny crucial object 30 screens before. Thankfully it also does not have any timed action sequence QTEs, although there is a very insignificant one at one of the later chapters, which can be easily done. The player need only focus on the story and puzzle solving.

As with any adventure games, puzzles are always the meat of the game, and unfortunately some of the puzzles in this game can have very obscure solutions. (I'm looking at you "Telephone Statue" puzzle). More then once, i had to consult a walkthrough because some of the solutions are too cryptic. Alot of times, i also had to resort to the "Use everything in my inventory until something works" tactic.

The puzzles are also definitely anything but subtle so to speak, and are put there for no apparent reason other then to present a challenge for the player to solve instead of it having a functional and logical use in the world. Alot of puzzles don't make alot of sense in their solutions. (Eg: Minor Spoilers: Who in their right mind would go touch a digusting green gloop on the ground that probably looks radioactive? Or dance around like a mad loon just because they see a shadow telling them to dance?" Basically don't use logic when you try to solve the puzzles, think "out of the box" instead.

Before wrapping up this review, theres something else that i'd like to add in that once you finished the game, you will unlock an extra option called "Book of Secrets" which is a collection of voice acting outtakes and unused/concept art that were used in the development of the game. This is considered to be quite a rare addition especially for a game released in 1999 where such bonus additions were rarely seen.

Overall Rating: 7.0 / 10
For old-school hardcore adventure gamers who appreciate a very complex story and don't mind tackling very obscure puzzles, this is definitely a game you should pick up. For younger gamers however, i'd recommend if you can watch a video preview before committing to it, as this game definitely shows its age now.

Last edited by Snowmoon: 01-26-2013 at 06:59 PM.
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