15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Weren't any other adventure games released that year?,
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This review is from: The Longest Journey: Adventure Game of the Year Edition - PC (Video Game)
(I wouldn't consider this review "spoiler-ish", but there are some specific references to moments in the game as well as some solutions to simple problems.)
As long as you're considering buying this at Amazon, you might as well pick up a good book to pass the time while playing this game. For the 5-6 days it took me to get through it, I would estimate about 90 minutes of that was actual playing time. The rest was walking from one end of the screen to the other or waiting for minor animations to finish (you'll come to curse the arrival of Crow as every time he appears, it takes about 30-40 seconds for him to finish hopping around, preening, and flapping his wings before you can do anything).
For the sake of brevity, adventure films and games often cut out some of the tedious details (such as a character walking from his front door to the car, fishing his keys from his pocket, opening the door, getting inside, adjusting the mirrors, etc.) to get on with more exciting and involving aspects, but The Longest Journey will have none of that.
This is perhaps the only "adventure" game in which you'll not only spend about twenty minutes figuring out what requisition forms you need to procure to convince some union laborers to cut short their lunch break, but also waste 30-40 minutes in a library, asking a librarian to get you about a dozen books, one at a time, reading them, and waiting for him to put each back before getting the next one.
Many of the reviews here talk about the lush, beautiful graphics. They are certainly right and, fortunately, you'll have plenty of opportunity to appreciate them as April has to run from one end of the screen to the other in just about every scene, leaving you nothing to do but stare at the landscapes for about 40 seconds. Considering, for example, that she has to run through four different scenes to get from the subway to Flipper (and back again whenever she's done), you'll find yourself much less impressed with the shipyard background on your eighth visit than you were on your first.
While the 18-or-so hours of pointless, non-game related small talk between characters adds a level of reality and humanization many other games lack, it gets tedious FAST, especially since you may be reluctant to skip through it for fear of missing a vital two word clue amongst the three hundred words of gibbering. It's particualarly frustrating when the game requires the small talk before it will let you move on to the next step. For example, in one situation, you need to figure out the birthdate of a policeman's wife. The conversation goes something like:
"Hey, how's your wife doing?"
"Why do you ask?"
"I was just wondering."
"Seriously, why are you doing this?"
"You know what. Why would you go and bring that up?"
"I was really just asking to be friendly."
"What are you thinking?"
"I was just asking how your wife is doing."
"Don't start this now. What are you doing?"
"I was thinking of getting her a birthday present."
"Why would you do that? Are you crazy?"
Blah blah blah blah blah. You have to make a point of asking about three or four times, even after he makes it clear he doesn't want to talk about it ("I'm not discussing this with you!" Select "So... about your wife.") and sit through five minutes of pointless drivel to find out her birthday is tomorrow.
I understand the creators' desire to create a rich and full history for the lands of Stark and Arcadia, the Sentinel and the Vanguard conflict, and for each of the many cultures encountered. However, so often the writing plan seemed to be "never say in one sentence that which can be said in twelve paragraphs, especially if you can add some animations in the middle, negating the ESC button's ability to move things along."
Oddly enough, there is a scene where April has to listen to an old sailor tell tales of the sea and gets bored enough to fall asleep, as if anything else anyone says in this game is worthwhile.
As for the actual gameplay, the problem solving is either so simple its a little insulting (in the requisition form scene, there is a woman sitting at a desk with a wall of form-filled cubbyholes behind her, yet you have to spend a good five minutes or so talking to the union guys before they "reveal" where you can get the form you need; in another scene, you spend a few days tracking down a navigator, then meet a captain who needs a navigator, then have to go have a conversation with the navigator in which she explains how difficult it is to find work before you shockingly put two and two together and realize she's... wait for it... a navigator!) or so ridiculously difficult, there is no logical reason anyone should solve it without a walkthrough or just by randomly clicking stuff. There is much more of the former than the latter and practically nothing in between.
If this was Adventure Game of the Year, I'm curious what other horribly lame games must have been released that year.