Hello people from Red Thread games!
My name is Leonidas, I'm a graphic designer with some minor knowledge in Unity and I'm one of the many backers of this game. This might be a late feedback report for book one, but I still feel I should share my thoughts an impressions on the game (I think being a backer makes me feel part of the development team in some sort of way, hehehe). I hope this might be helpful and useful somehow.
First of all, I would like to say I'm very satisfied with the game. The graphics and atmosphere are gorgeous, the soundtrack, sound design and voice acting is also of the highest quality. The writing / plot is interesting and fun, and the gameplay is good and simple as I expected in a very story driven game. I also really like the decision making feature : )
But, there were some other things that I didn't like that much, and I would like to share my thoughts on them. As I said, I really like the game, so don't take this list of mine in a bad way. They are suggestions from a fan and backers who played the previous games in the series more than once and that really enjoyed reading more about it in forums, wikis, etc. (I even e-mailed FUNCON years ago asking about a continuation from Dreamfall: TLJ). The list includes suggestions, bugs, and minor problems. So here we go:
1- BUG: and a big one. After I did my tasks in the Pandemoniun, I decided to head back to the Hand that Bites to talk with Sully (since i read online that he had a lot of dialogs that i had missed). Well, as soon as i started to talk with him his 3d model disappeared and zoes dialogs and his began to overlap like crazy seeming out of order and completely out of timing.
2- OPINION: I was a bit disappointed with one thing in the story recap / game intro. They gave us answers that the previous game haven't and I think that's not how this answer should come up. For example, at the end of Dreamfall: TLJ we are left with doubts about the Azaris intentions and connections with the problems in the world, but as soon as you see the game intro this whole mystery is solved in 20 seconds just saying: "oh yea, for the whole last game you guys where trying to figure this out, but don't worry the Azari are really the bad guys and they know what they are doing, so don't bother thinking about this anymore". This really disappointed me.
ok, the next 3 items are a bit harsh (sorry for that):
3- UNDERDEVELOPED PARTS: ok, so there are 2 things here that I must say:
First, everything that happened between the end of Dreamfall TLJ and Chapters regarding Zoe in the Storytime feels underdeveloped, I don't know if you plan to explore this a bit more, but it sure feels like there is a chunk of story missing between the 2. What happens after she wakes up and moves out of Casablanca, etc. seems too fast, but I can still buy, but i would really like to see more about what happened during that coma.
Second, I really disliked how the story went when Zoe was supposed to wake up. As soon as I saw the Vagabond saying "you should wake up", and Zoe answering with responses that felt like "oh yea, maybe I should" I got sad. If it was this easy to wake up, why did she stay all that time in coma anyway? And even if we suppose that at some point she decided she didn't want to go back, you have to agree that at least in the beginning of that coma she really wanted to awake. Seriously, I was expecting she would get REALLY mad with the Vagabond for not telling her that she could go back, but that never happens. And as a result, the whole "going back thing" feels non emotional and flat.
4- ZOES PERSONALLITY: I still don't get why the games portraits Zoe as a bad person and her past as something shameful. That's NOT the feeling we get from Dreamfall TLJ. The whole discussion she has with the Vagabond and specially the one with herself before waking up, pictures her as a bad person with a shameful past. This makes no sense to me. Dreamfall TLJ pictures her as a Hero, who did all she could to save the world, and this part of Dreamfall Chapters shows something completely different. I really don't like this.
5- THE GAME IS MORE MATURE: This is another thing that upset me a bit. This game is not only darker than the 2 other ones in the series but it's more mature or should I say, "less innocent", "less friendly". Sure we had some dialogs about sex and some bad words once in a while, but in Chapters this is way more present in the game. This "mature" things make such a strong impression that I almost feel that this is not the same world I played in the 2 other games. I would have no problems giving TLJ or Dreamfall TLJ to a 10 year old, but I'm not so sure about Chapters. And I really feel that's something negative when we are talking about 3 games that are supposed to tie up to each other continuing a story. Chapters not only is darker, it is focused in a public with another age and because of that the connection between the 3 games and the story itself suffers.
6- I felt the game is getting a bit politically preachy, I hope it doesn't go to far with that.
7- The fact of Zoe hitting her doctor so early in the game feels weird (specially if the player didn't read the journal, what is distinct possibility). I think he whole reason for this is because of the "rushed" parts that I talked about. I understand the game is long and funds are not infinite, but not giving us almost anything about what happened between Zoe waking up and she moving to Europolis really "takes its tool" (specially) here.
1- In the second dream Zoe goes into: I tried to walk to the end of the road and ended up hitting the wall with the light "light" we can see from the distance. That doesn't seem good, it simply seems like a black wall with some yellow pixels in the middle of it instead of a small portal. Also aiming the lamp posts can be quite hard since sometimes the mouse buttons ends up showing the eye icon instead of the cog (this is a problem a ran trough a couple of times during the whole game).
2- the design of the dialog options throughout the game: I think that they could be reworked a bit. That white font with the "funny" going round and round effect really feels a bit cheap and inconsistent with the rest of GUI choices made for the game.
3- Dialogs and cutscenes almost overlapping each other: This can be noticed specially in the beginning of the game. The dialogs and cutscenes sometimes almost overlap each other, giving us, the players, no time between the 2. It just feels unnatural and too fast, people don't talk like that, they say something, they pause and then continue. Maybe some fades between the cutscenes and a more spaced timing for the dialogs would do the work.
4- Dialogs overlapping: this one happened sometimes throughout the game. Instead of a new instance of a dialog to cancel the old one, they simply overlap (for example, let's say I looked and clicked at 2 different objects one immediately after the other.) I might be wrong but code wise this seems simple to fix by simply running a check if a dialog is already running and before allowing another to trigger).
5- Sound problems in cutscenes / longer dialogs: I had this issue more than once. Sometimes the sound of their voices would drop a lot depending on the angle of the camera (this happened to me in kian first section, and with zoe in the hand that feeds). In Kians prison cell there is also a odd sound effect (i think it might be reverb), that makes it feel like he is inside a metal box instead of a stone building (i had this feeling in somewhere else in the game but I can't remember where).
6- Subtitles, when occupying 2 lines overlap a bit (running all visual options on max).
7- The font and background for Zoe's journal, from a graphic design point, feels like an uninteresting block of text that is hard to read. I think that font doesn't work that well in higher resolutions.
8- The fact that the journal updates in the same entry without a clear division from what was there before make it a bit hard to find what is new.
9- The arrow pointing at the hand that bites pointed me to the wrong direction 4 times. I'm not sure if I was the only one with this problem, but only when i carefully looked at it I than noticed it was a hand and that maybe I should go to where the fingers were pointing.
10- I'm quite sure I bumped twice into that girl saying I'm the hero from here dream (i might be wrong, but I really think this happened).
11- some minor and rare path finding and shadow issues
12- a couple of camera issues: quite often the camera would randomly jump from third person perspective to first person view and back. I really don't know why this happens but it happened pretty often when i was in small spaces or really near to objects.
13- first room of the baby level: I could go trough the things on the floor. Their mesh colliers were off I guess.
14- the ghostly figure talking to the baby annoyed me a bit. I didn't really like that fluid, weird waterish ghost. In my humble opinion a regular NPC model with ghostly colors would feel better.
15- Rushed changes in the dialogs: how can I put this... sometimes trough the game a character would begin talking about something and soon immediately change his opinion. Look at the last dialog of the game, for example: The mom says that she feels that there is someone in the house and seems worried about it. One line of dialog later and it is as she is completely not worried anymore like "yea, your right, there is no one here". Yes, I know she will still say something like, "I really felt like there was someone here", but that whole fear she had simply goes away way to fast.
I hope I don't seem like someone how is just complaining because that is not what I'm trying to do here.
As I said, I hope this feedback can help this game get even better 9and i would be really happy if someone form the dev team read this).