Dreamfall Chapters Book Two - Games Weekly

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Dreamfall Chapters Book Two

It’s not easy being blue. Just ask the ten year old Marcurian kid whose parents have been sent to the islands for “re-education,” permanently, along with non-humans from an ever widening geographic area. This boy is plucky, though, and it is common that those Arcadians who are marginalised for their magic, bear their hardship with good grace and humour. With the Azadi exerting increasing control, Dreamfall Chapters Book 2 is a story of occupation, rebellion and the endurance of spirit.

As the chapter opens, Kian finds himself procured for some unknown, rebel purpose. In the Enclave he meets humans and non-humans, like Enu, a garrulous Zhid farmgirl and Lihko, a Dolmari warrior who, perhaps understandably, reminds Kian that he has sworn an oath to kill him during every second dialogue. “We must meet the mole to get our orders and then I will murder you in your sleep.”
Unsurprisingly, in the Arcadian context, “the mole” is literally a mole.

Magicals in Marcuria must carry passes and be checked for weapons if they leave the ghetto. There are Azadi guards at every narrowing of streets. Even the Godlike Abnaxus, with his ability to see all of time, seems uncomfortably hemmed into his pretty garden, at least at first. If you visit The Rooster and Kitten, however, you’ll find loudmouth humans drinking heavily, but also that magicals are quietly welcome. Elsewhere, they’re interrogated and harassed. Regardless of trouble, Oldtown’s market still shimmers gently.

Meanwhile, in Europolis, Zoe has to explain to intimidating robo-cops that she has a therapy appointment before they will let her leave her apartment. Their presence in Propast is suddenly more explicit, with citizens being interrogated at gunpoint and fl  uorescent blue barriers ominously erected in pointless places, simply as a power play. I did experience the “sausaquences” of my lunch choice, though. They felt surprisingly weighty, as did many outcomes being followed from Book 1.

Back in Marcuria, remember Benrime Salmin? Really, she epitomised the soft, human approach to magicals in The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, being a Seer herself and welcoming all types to The Journeyman Inn. Now, ostensibly due to my reckless and very violent choice in an opening chapter, she has been placed in a dangerous situation. The Azadi aren’t mucking around and this is a reminder that players need to be very careful. The choice and consequence system engenders real fear.

Of course, though it is the magicals who are supposed to be sorry for being themselves, it is actually the men at women at the National Front rally who are concealing their faces. Those weird, wonderful, multicoloured or covered in fur, retain their pride for now. How long they might take to break is a compelling question. Can they be broken? As the Samare rebel, Shepherd, says, “I will do
anything to save my people.” It is that “anything” that we will wait patiently for, or possibly beyond, Book 3.

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