Complex storyline makes it more than a typical point-and-click, solve puzzles adventure game. Worth checking out.

User Rating: 8 | The Longest Journey PC
Although the game is just over ten years old, and certainly shows its age especially in the character models, the scenery is still pretty amazing. What makes The Longest Journey full of eye-candy is how the developers change the viewing angle to each screen shot. Some shots will be close-ups, usually inside small buildings, while outside environments can range from medium to extreme long-shots that gives the game a panoramic experience. Each shot looks hand-painted, and the only visual complaint is that the characters sometimes look pixilated (you can see white lines and dots within the models as they move), and some faces lack definition or look smudged when a character is shown as a close-up. Sometimes the mouths don't move precisely to the dialogue. The voice-acting, on the other hand, is outstanding. And when pressing on an object for a description, you will receive a lengthier description at first but when pressing on it again, the description will usually be truncated to save some time and gives you a verbal queue that you had already viewed it before. Additionally, some dialogue among characters has mature subject matter, meaning some cursing and sexual references, but isn't over-used and actually makes the characters more believable.

The story is phenomenal, unfolding at a good pace as you play April Ryan, an 18-year-old art student in the early 23rd century. When awakening from another nightmare, her journey begins after meeting a man outside her apartment who reveals that he knows of her nightmares, that they are visions of things to come. April will continue on her day, giving you the chance to explore a small suburb, where she studies at school, where she works and where she lives. Most people you talk to will be April's friends, and conversations can be long but are not boring. It was interesting to find that as you play April, you will ask multiple questions of other characters that will be more than simply advancing the story. You will soon learn that many of them have aspirations and dreams of becoming famous dancers or artists, and as students are working jobs that they don't want, or have families that do not agree with their career path. You will learn that April also has a similar artist's malaise, that she left her adoptive family to enroll against their will, and now she has doubts as her painting project isn't complete and she lacks the inspiration to complete it. Eventually the conversations will lead to the man who knows about her nightmares, and April will seek him out at an art exhibit, and later at an old movie theater. Finally she learns that Earth exists in two worlds: one called Stark (functions in technology, or the real world that we are accustomed) and the other Arcadia (steeped in magic, where people live among myths and fairytales). At this point, April steps through a portal and begins the adventures in Arcadia. Throughout the game, April will go back and forth between Stark and Arcadia, which presents a good balance of story-telling between a real world (albeit 23rd century, so some sci-fi here like flying cars and energy guns) and a fantasy world (contains medieval-type cities that have a steam-punk feel since they operate off of magical energy, like torches that illuminate the night with a constant blue flare), as the fairytales come alive among many races and creatures sprawled throughout different parts of the land.

Since this is a very story-driven game, I won't reveal too many details of the plot other than you play a young woman who will travel back and forth between two worlds to solve problems that eventually leads to a bigger, related problem that will involve many character interactions, object gathering and logic puzzles (basically what you expect from a point-and-click adventure game). A memorable puzzle is when you will have to adjust archaic statues dotted about an island coast that act as a kind of telephone so that you can wake up a sleeping giant. Another good puzzle was having to make potions using an alchemist set and deciphering the combinations from pictograms and matching the ingredients by using your smell, touch or hearing.

A minor complaint was the act of picking up objects for the sake that you could pick them up without knowing what you might need them for but knowing that you will probably need them at some point in the game. As an example, you will need to pick up free bread in the bar that you work so that you can sprinkle some of it outside your apartment window so that a bird will swoop down and knock a rubber ducky that was stuck on a grate so that you can retrieve a band-aid off of it that will be needed to cover up a hole in a glove that you will need later to work with an electrical line, and so forth. In this case, why can't April just go to a store and buy a pair of insulated gloves when she actually needs it at the time of discovery? Knowing that this is a point-and-click adventure game, the object picking was to be expected. Fortunately, though, the game doesn't suffer from object overdose and utilizes most discovered objects quickly so that your inventory doesn't become a mess. And April doesn't carry a backpack or wear baggy pants or a coat so there will have to be a suspension of disbelief when several objects are bigger than what her pockets could hold.

An important part of gameplay is to inspect the objects in your inventory as they sometimes reveal parts that can be removed or can be combined with other objects to make a jerry-rig of something else. At times you will receive subtle hints if you missed picking up an object somewhere, so the game does try to move things along so that you are not back-tracking too much. When inspecting non-inventory objects, it is also important to move the cursor over different parts of the object as sometimes new details will be revealed because if you don't, the story will not advance. When double-clicking a path, you can get April to run, which is important to do in some circumstances of the game. There is also a time-skip feature that when moving April across the screen, when each time pressing ESC, will advance time faster thus advancing April at a higher clip (particularly nice to have when revisiting a panoramic location and no need to stop for anything, just passing through). There won't be any button-mashing-type fighting, and doesn't appear to be any way for April to die as she will dodge attacks on her own, so you won't have be in a big hurry to do something. Overall, the gameplay is fairly simple and requires mostly observation and choosing dialogue questions.

The Longest Journey is comprised of thirteen playable chapters ending on a cut-scene, also contains a short prologue and epilogue that are mostly cut-scenes. From the beginning, the story will draw you in, and the end will leave you satisfied that you played a worthy adventure with a great story with wonderful dialogue and beautiful visuals. Most characters are believable, especially April's college friends, although some of the government caricatures of Stark act remarkably stupid and a few of the mythical creatures in Arcadia sometimes say cheesy lines, the game incorporates humor very well in a plot that contains mostly dark subject matter (as some characters will be tortured or killed throughout the story). If you are on the fence for most adventure games as several of them tend to be short or lack in story or have puzzles that are too simplistic, then you might want to give this one a try. If you love adventure games, then this is a must-have.