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Lunch » Tags » Video Games » Reviews » The Longest Journey: Adventure Game of the Year Edition » User review

A Journey Across Two Worlds

  • Sep 9, 2004
I just finished The Lomgest Journey this afternoon. Pardon me while I gush geekily for a minute.

What an amazing game! I've thought that computer games could be excellent medium for storytelling for a long time, and The Longest Journey is storytelling on a grand scale. The tale it tells is intricate, deep, and very cleverly put together. I'm a big fan of story, and it's the story that keeps you playing this game, pure and simple.

The voice acting in The Longest Journey is some of the best I've ever seen for any computer game, anywhere, especially when you consider the sheer volume of voice work that had to go into it. Sarah Hamilton, the voice of main character April Ryan, should have won some kind of award. She carried this game with a charming personality that is so rare... it really sets the standard for future games of this sort. The other voices were equally good, especially when you note in the credits that many of the actors voiced multiple characters, and did it without being obvious about it.

The graphics are a little outdated compared to many more recent games, but the good part of that is that The Longest Journey will run on PC's that are a little older. The gameplay is clever and intuitive, and never gets in the way of actually playing the game (a feat many games never seem to manage). The puzzles (which are many) are a little contrived at some points, but for the most part they work. The game definitely makes you think your way around some corners, but the solutions are there.

What it comes down to, though, is the story. It starts out a little slow, while they establish the characters, but it's all worth it because by the end, I actually cared about what was happening to them. Revelations near the end of the story are both moving and actually surprising, and the gameplay is balanced well with the progress of the story.

The Longest Journey would make a great novel, or a great film, but honestly I believe that one of its strengths was that it was told through the medium of the game. While the story is strong enough to be maintained in a more mainstream medium, the interactive nature of it is one of the things that make it so magical.

The ending is as satisfying as one could hope for, but it leaves an opening for a sequel... and indeed, Dreamfall is coming in 2005, a continuation of the The Longest Journey. I'll be looking forward to that one.

Great game, great story, well worth the money and time spent on it, and proof that the medium of computer games is ripe for some fantastic storytelling. What more could you ask for?

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About the reviewer
Rich Stoehr ()
Ranked #79
I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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About this video game


Before embarking onThe Longest Journey, check your preconceived notions of reality at the door. While this may play like a traditional adventure game, the story is anything but conventional. As art student April Ryan you'll soon discover you have the ability to bridge two worlds--the 23rd-century, science-oriented Earth that you live in, and its counterpart, Arcadia, where magic is reality and technology is the stuff of legends. Telling you more than that would spoil the story, but suffice it to say that your ability to cross between the two worlds must be used to save both.

The game spans four CDs and needs all that space to hold both the gorgeous graphics and hours of high-quality speech. Everyone you meet has plenty to say, and you'll want to listen to everything because the game contains some of the most brilliant voice acting ever recorded. Each character has such a distinct and engaging voice that you could play this game with your eyes closed and it would maintain much of its beauty, although you likely won't want to blink after your first glimpse of the game's detailed environments. The graphics run at a feeble maximum resolution of 640 x 480 but are packed with enough atmosphere and animation that they look great even on a large monitor.

The Longest Journey obviously excels from a technical standpoint, but it's the writing that really makes it memorable. April maintains a diary that can be read to give players further insight into the game's strange events, and into...

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