I can honestly say that I feel like the two sequels were a serious injustice to the first game and it's main protagonist.
Does any one else pretend that the second two games don't exist
Posted 20 July 2018 - 19:45
I expected far more for April Ryan's character. In the end I felt that she deserved far greater than what she got. I felt that fans of the first game deserved far greater too.
I played the first game in the series first. I was introduced to the universe through April Ryan's character. I feel that a large part of a gaming experience is, enjoying the main protagonist, having interest in the character's story. Without a story, what's the point? If you don't enjoy the main protagonist, then why bother?
When you have a lot of love for something like TLJ you don't want to see it changed or altered beyond recognition. TLJ could have stood alone. It redefined the adventure game genre, it is universally regarded as one of the greatest adventure games of all time with one of the strongest stories and protagonists.
A sequel wasn't truly necessary, but wasn't really hard to justify either. Though, Dreamfall isn't what I would call a true sequel to TLJ. It's set 10 years after the events of the first game and our main protagonist is far less relevant ( important to the story ) and far less recognizable as the spunky, creative, witty April Ryan of the first game.
It was fun to revisit the universe of the first game, to see familiar faces again and walk familiar streets. However, for fans of continuity, and for those who felt some sort of tenderness/ closeness to the character... I don't see how they couldn't be disappointed. After playing a long game like TLJ, there was for many some sort endearment
to her character. It's not like she played a small role in the first game, she was the main protagonist after all.
Dramatically altering her character, and changing her role in the story isn't a small change...she was/ is the main protagonist of the original narrative...
Asking fans to hop along on a new journey with a new protagonist was really dodgy in my opinion. Especially if you had just played TLJ for the first time and were then hoping to continue where the first game had left off. Even April's beloved crow seems to have gone astray and has no more affection for her character. Her character has all the wind knocked out of her sails and is now self defeated...
What comes to mind is, if Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back would have killed off Luke Skywalker and randomly replaced him with the true chosen one...I wonder how that would have went over with fans and the box office. I invested a lot of time into the first game, and that means I invested time into the characters as well. You get pretty close to April, especially if you read her diary. The second game just throws that all away, by alienating you from her as much as possible. Her dialogue is dark and uninspiring... her character is clinically depressed and her role ends up being very insignificant.
The game ends in a dramatic cliffhanger, where it suddenly kills her character off as if she were simply secondary....and the sequel does little to apologize for this or acknowledge her importance to the original narrative or the sentimental connection her character had to fans who started with the first game in the series.
I can't think of any other word to describe the two sequels other than disappointment. As games their self they aren't half bad, but they aren't world reshaping games like TLJ which probably could have went on without ever having sequels...
April Ryan deserved better so did her fans. In the end, after Chapters I'm left with basically "Oh yeah, April...she was almost important once but this is really not her story..."
The ending to Chapters, can be interpreted in a way to bring some April Ryan fans closure but that's only if they choose to see it that way. There is no obvious effort being made in the two sequels to apologize for April's abrupt, untimely death or the sudden change in direction that the franchise took, giving April a second seat and making her an unimportant, uninteresting melodramatic character....
Ragnar didn't have to take her story and make fans of the first game feel like , "It was all for nothing...". We could of been left with, "But wait, there's still hope and April can still contribute something to the story."....Instead we got mostly the opposite and great disappointment. Fans debated for over 10 years if such a disappointing end to her character would carry through to Chapters and Chapters opens with April's body burning on a boat....
It took several years for Chapters to come along and try as little as it did to redeem her character. Over all April fans are left without any real acknowledgement and were ignored with both sequels. TLJ still can stand alone in my eyes and I would have never wanted the story to go in such a dramatically different direction, taking on an entirely new protagonist if I had any say in it. It feels like true April Ryan fans were brushed aside and ignored.
- ErikdR likes this
Posted 24 July 2018 - 00:33
When you have a lot of love for something like TLJ you don't want to see it changed or altered beyond recognition. TLJ could have stood alone. (...) A sequel wasn't truly necessary, but wasn't really hard to justify either. Though, Dreamfall isn't what I would call a true sequel to TLJ. It's set 10 years after the events of the first game and our main protagonist is far less relevant (important to the story) (...)
I can't agree - TLJ had too many loose ends to stand alone. That was on purpose, of course, because the story wasn't over. And no, Dreamfall isn't a true sequel to TLJ, and it was never meant to be. It is set in the same universe, and Zoë's story is intertwined with April's, but DF and DFC tells Zoë's story, not April's - for the most part.
(...) and far less recognizable as the spunky, creative, witty April Ryan of the first game. (...) Dramatically altering her character, and changing her role in the story isn't a small change...she was/ is the main protagonist of the original narrative...
Asking fans to hop along on a new journey with a new protagonist was really dodgy in my opinion. Especially if you had just played TLJ for the first time and were then hoping to continue where the first game had left off. Even April's beloved crow seems to have gone astray and has no more affection for her character. Her character has all the wind knocked out of her sails and is now self defeated... (...) Her dialogue is dark and uninspiring... her character is clinically depressed and her role ends up being very insignificant. The game ends in a dramatic cliffhanger, where it suddenly kills her character off as if she were simply secondary....and the sequel does little to apologize for this or acknowledge her importance to the original narrative or the sentimental connection her character had to fans who started with the first game in the series.
In the end, after Chapters I'm left with basically "Oh yeah, April...she was almost important once but this is really not her story..."
Let me tell you about my TLJ experience before I jump into this. I played TLJ right after it was released in Norway. It was the first game of its kind that I ever played, and I didn't give up on it. A large reason for that was that it was in Norwegian, it contained swearing and salacious stuff like sexual innuendo - and I was 13. I played it with friends, we found a walkthrough online to help us through the hardest puzzles, and we spent countless hours playing it - and playing it again. I've played it countless times since 1999, and April is my favorite character in the TLJ universe, solely because TLJ is one of those huge experiences in my life, and it always fills me with nostalgia when I play it. So I think we can agree that I am a big TLJ fan. A big April fan.
I wasn't able to play Dreamfall when it was first released, I didn't have a computer able to pull it off. So I had to wait a couple of years. And when I finally got my hands on it and played it? I was so disappointed. Because yeah, all of a sudden it wasn't about April, it was about Zoë, and that in itself put me off a bit - and when it was about April, she was a different person than the April I knew. And then there were the fight and stealth sequences, and the fact that in the Norwegian version, they had changed Crow's name. Things were fucked the fuck up. I've only ever played Dreamfall that one time.
But, see, with time comes acceptance. And I have come to accept that shit went down in those 10 years between TLJ and DF. A lot of stuff happened to April in that time, and it affected her greatly. It hurts to see a character I love so much turn into this dark, bitter creature, but isn't that life? My problem wasn't really that April was different, it was that I didn't know why. April was, after all, the reason I wanted to play DF in the first place. I still think we could have learned just a little bit more about what happened to her in DF, just to make her transformation a bit less jarring. But I've accepted that she went through life, and she saw and experienced things that changed her, things that I still want to know about. We've learned the start of April's story as well as the end, but we're missing a huge, important chunk in the middle that I hope Ragnar will share with us at some point, no matter what format it happens in.
As for that final bit - um, yeah. It's not her story, it's Zoë's. That took some time to get used to, too, especially with the way DFC opened, but we can't always get it our way. You just have to accept that the Dreamfall games are more like spinoffs than sequels - set in the same universe, related to the first one, but telling a different story. Still an important story, though, perhaps even more important in many aspects.
Like I mentioned, I have only played DF once. BUT I have watched playthroughs of it on YouTube (I needed to have it fresh in mind before playing DFC, after all), and while doing so, I realized that I enjoy this story, too. I don't connect with Zoë or Kian the way I did - and do - with TLJ's April, but the story is interesting, it's exciting, and at the end of the playthrough videos, I was really looking forward to playing DFC so I could know what happened next. Was DFC everything I wanted? No. No, it wasn't. There are still so many questions left unanswered, and it had far too few puzzles. But I enjoyed the story, I wanted to know where it would go next, and I was able to immerse myself in it without thinking about April at every turn. And I realized that it's the overarching story that matters, the whole of it, not just April's part of it. I wanted to know how it all fit together.
So no, I don't pretend that the Dreamfall games don't exist. I liked Zoë's story, and I understand why it needed to be told, why it was prioritized over April's. I still want to know the rest of April's story, though, of course I do, but we the fans don't have any say in it (that's what fanfic is for, if that's your thing). Yes, it is frustrating as all hell, but nobody can spin this saga the way Ragnar (and Dag, let's not forget Dag) can. The story told by someone else wouldn't be right.
I will play TLJ over and over and love it forever, I will watch playthroughs of DF on YouTube, and I will probably at some point play DFC again - because right now, I'm still too upset about the circumstances around the game to even think about sitting down with it - and when I do, I'll enjoy the story all over again and relish making new connections and realizations. And I will let April's 10 years of darkness be until we either finally learn about them.. or don't.
- dreamshifter likes this
Posted 24 July 2018 - 03:57
I can see your point of view on this. I tried to be open minded, believe me. I tried to look at it in a way that would make me enjoy the experience more. But, honestly not everyone's life ends up like that. Life doesn't guarantee you anything, not everyone has a happy ending and bad things can happen to good people. But this is a work of fiction and I just don't accept this version of reality in my heart that openly. We're being asked to accept that there's no hope for her, and that she died feeling lost, hopeless and broken. That's after we spent countless hours on the first game following her on her journey watching her grow into a more confident woman. All for naught, she was broken by the events of the first game leading her to eventually become a killer without a heart or soul. The character was completely different which wasn't a bold move, rather it was shocking, depressing and again disappointing. To take a main protagonist of your original narrative and to butcher her like that....and then force a random new protagonist on us at the same time. LOL, it's insanity haha. But it's what Dreamfall is.
I want to believe that life has it's ups and downs. If you like a character then you want to see more of that character. She was the main protagonist so I wanted to see more of her. Having her killed off in this way didn't allow for that, and the April we did have for the time we had her was barely recognizable as a person. The game kept talking about saving April, as if there was hope for her lost soul but she just ends up dying.
So not only did they dramatically change her character, they pull on your heart strings, insisting that you save her as Zoe, as if she can have some sort of salvation....and she has NONE. Not really sure what that was all about...
I believe in redemption, salvation while there's still time left in one's life, especially for someone like April who was inherently a good person and was even likable. I wanted to believe, but her time ran out and the time spent with her in Dreamfall was incredibly un-enjoyable... Following around a broken April without any hope or anything to really contribute to the hero's quest/ journey...needless to say was a pretty big disappointment. You kept waiting for her big moment to shine and then she just dies....and you're left with the realization that nothing profound came out of it and her character had been completely wasted. For many who were April fans this just isn't something we can ever truly accept in our hearts.
She didn't get a hero's death, nothing...There's very little to even take away from her death, and the game does very very little in a direct sense to add any meat to those potatoes... Chapters does even less. April is simply dead and makes appearances. Maybe, just maybe she exists in some alternate form at the end of the game that ties her back into the original narrative and makes her important again. ( Maybe, but it's up for debate and I think Ragnar even took a piss on that publicly, trying to shut down rumors that the old woman is April Ryan.)
It's a work of fiction, dealing in unconscious archetypes and so on, meaning it's meant for people to relate to, it's meant to fuel upon one's own imagination. It's meant to resonate with something within people. It's not an external experience, story telling but something that reaches deeper into you. TLJ reached deep into my soul with it's brilliant story, characters and "spiritual" themes. It was a game that achieved global success and reached into the hearts and imaginations of many across the world.
Dreamfall takes the MAIN protagonist of the original narrative, empties her out until almost all that is left is her bones and writes out any meaningful role of significance ( importance) she could have to the story... she's just sort of there, then she isn't...and the April that is there, isn't even the same April.
Yeah life can change people but it doesn't defeat all people, doesn't break them down and make them into killers and darken their souls.
To me the first game is a masterpiece while the second game is just a second rate sequel and chapters is just a revisitation of that universe with better graphics. To me Dreamfall doesn't have the same soul, magic, charm and depth as the first game. What it did to April is just unforgivable as well. I won't loose sleep over it ( actually it is my bed time as I type this...)
I respect your opinion, it's fine that we feel differently on this. I can even understand why you choose to feel the way that you do. For me though I choose to feel else wise and I don't want to allow myself to change. I'm comfortable feeling this way about it.
I accept Dreamfall for what it is. Though to me, I choose to focus on TLJ which I see as superior in every way. An introduction into the brilliant universe, the story, the characters and concept.... a true masterpiece and to me it's all that I really need/ want.
To me I rather just pretend the other games don't exist. I rather just use my imagination.
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