D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is the latest game from Japanese based Access Games and Hidetaka Suehiro, fans of his work most likely know his as SWERY or Swery65. Access games in the past has normally only released their games in Japan, one notable game that did make it out of Japan was Deadly Premonition in 2010. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die Season 1 was released for the Xbox One on the 19th of September, the game will be released in episodic installments and no word is yet available on when season 2 will be available.
D4 for the Xbox One is a sit down Kinect game, that you can also use a controller for so if Kinect isn’t for you then you can still play this game. You navigate the world through a series of swipes, pushes and holding your hand over environmental aspect adding a fresh new twist on the point and click genre. While exploring and looking around for clues each of the points of interest are displayed as exclamation marks for you to learn more about the world be it that a person has changed their appearance since you last spoke with them or even just that a chair has a floral pattern on it. You swipe your hand to turn the character to face different directions and see more of the world or select the footstep icon to move yourself to a new position. In D4 there are also some segments where instead of just having a very passive relaxed chance to explore the world you are in danger, in a fight, or trying to chase your cat, for this there are full motion sequences where you have to swipe different hands in different directions in order to progress, some of these segments even require precise stances from you like a batter waiting for a pitch or even that you need to shout at the Kinect. If you are playing and you have some difficulties about where you are meant to go next or what is selectable you can also go into vision mode by placing your fingers on your temple or by saying “Start vision”, this gives a gold highlight to all interactive objects and a blue highlight to pushable objects.
For gamers who don’t own a Kinect or would rather not use the Kinect to play D4 then you are also able to use a controller where your cursor is moved by the left stick and character turning is controlled by the right stick. All of the other Kinect based movements in D4 are translated over to the controller too, this means that there is no gameplay lost when deciding which play style you prefer. The full motion sections of the game are changed somewhat that instead of just moving your left and right sticks in place of your hands you have to complete the movement and then pull the trigger. For gamers really not sure of how they want to play D4 you can alternate between them freely at any point just by holding your hand over your head or by holding down a button on the controller.
There are also things that you need to pay attention to while playing the game such as a limited amount of vision uses, limited stamina and a health bar. The stamina is used up each of the times that you interact with an object. When you are running low on any of these resources you can go to the store and use the credits that you earn through completing the story to refill your gauges.
In D4 you play as David Young, a Private Investigator who works with the Boston Police, whose wife Young Peggy was murdered violently. The event of his wife’s death is too traumatic for David to handle and he loses all his memories about her death, he instead gets the ability to travel through time by using mementos. Young plans to use this ability and his skills as a P.I. to go back in time to try to learn more about his wife’s murder and plans to stop it from ever happening. The only lead that you have as of yet is the last words your wife said to you before she died “Look for D”. Season 1 introduces you to all of the main characters where you’re given a case where an informant on a flight who was meant to reveal who D is was being escorted by a Police Marshall but then managed to vanish mid-flight, you use a memento to travel back to investigate and attempt to learn the true identity of D. For any fans of Swery’s prior work also expect a lot of humor to be laced into the story line, D4 maintains the same qwirky style of jokes and weird types of characters that you can also see in games like Deadly Premonition.
D4 has a cell shaded art style that is extremely reminiscent of recent TellTale point and click games such as The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead. All of the locations in the game are well detailed giving you the ability to look around and learn a lot about your surroundings. With a point and click game this detail is not only taken to ensure that you are able to feel more immersed in the world but also so that clues can be hidden and players will notice (or not notice) when small changes have occurred. The game ran extremely smoothly with no time between loading zones and no slow down or frame rate issues. Each of the characters you can tell have been designed with great consideration as not just the plain looking characters like Young look good but also the more flamboyant characters have been designed to represent themselves so even at a distance you can tell what you’re about to get into when you start a conversation.
The soundtrack of D4 was extremely catchy and upbeat while also maintaining the general mood of the scene. The music can only ever be brought up to comment on how enjoyable or funny it is. The voice acting is done extremely well with each character having an easily distinguishable voice and all of the crazy looking characters having just as crazy speech patterns.
I sat down and played D4 over the space of 4 hours and it left me craving more. I would alternate between controller and hand depending on what was happening, if I needed speed then controller was my go to and if I wanted to take my time I would swap back to Kinect. I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the Kinect cause it worked extremely well and the full motion segments made me laugh probably harder than they should have. I’ve enjoyed Swery games in the past and it’s good to see his style is still so vibrant and alive in this game. While some parts of the story slowed down a bit it was usually before something ridiculous was about to happen. D4 Season 1 is up there as one of my favorite Xbox One games and I’m going to be keeping an eye out for any whispers of D4 Season 2 so I can learn more about David Young and his quest to bring back his wife.
D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die Season 1 is available now for the Xbox One and come back for the Season 2 Review when it is released.
D4 is a fun and in depth Kinect Point and Click game for the Xbox One. This game has a fantastic story and a great sense of humor, really fun game to dive into for a couple of hours.