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Kat's Quick and Dirty D4 Review

Game Review | October 10, 2014 3:46 am

Developer: Access Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: September 19, 2014


What's it called?
D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die, aka simply D4 to cool guys like me, a point and click, episodic, investigative game by Swery- the guy behind the cult hit Deadly Premonition.

So- what's it about?
David Young, a Boston area cop, is the only witness to his wife's murder, but has amnesia due to the bullet he took to the head during the attack. All he can remember is his wife (who has the ridiculous name "Little Peggy") telling him to look for the D as she died. Young assumes that she was referring to the name of the person who attacked them, and has narrowed his search down to just people with the letter D in their name- or their nickname- or their occupation. Easy enough, right? Well, maybe a little easier than you'd expect since getting shot in the head has given him the power to touch an item that has a day of particular significance, and go back in time and become a participant in that day. He uses that ability to solve crimes that may be connected his wife's murder. Season 1 includes a prologue (basically a tutorial) and episode 1 & 2.

So how is it?
D4 is... Good. I wasn't sure what to expect going into it because, while I truly love point and click adventure games, I couldn't make myself love Deadly Premonition as much as people kept telling me I was supposed to. I worried that the humor and quirkiness Swery is famous for just might not be my cup of tea. I was wrong about that, apparently it was clunky survival horror controls and incredibly slow speech and pacing that weren't my cup of tea. Graphically, it's not up to par with most XB1 releases, but the art style is good and fits the game, and it's visually a gigantic step ahead of Deadly Premonition.

The point and click formula is less tedious in D4 than others in the genre, and adventuring is both challenging and rewarding- even though you're limited to 3 areas total in the entire season. The catch to exploring is that you have a limited amount of stamina before you die- but a steady supply of food to replenish it is provided in levels, and there are "stores" conveniently found in each area, so it never actually comes into play as a problem during the first season. The other part of gameplay is the action sequences- done with QTEs that probably wouldn't present too terrible of a challenge for anyone gifted anything resembling reflexes. That wouldn't be me. I may need a new controller now. And a new pair of pants. :sorry:

I played with a controller, but all controls can be done with the Kinect as well, and as part of the "new improved Kinect experience," they don't seem to have the usual lag and glitch issues that the old Kinect games had. That said, it's a long time to keep waving your hands in the air, and I'm just too self conscious for some of the silly motions that the game has you do, so I'm really glad they integrated the controller as well. I will NOT have Major Nelson and Bill Gates sitting around laughing as they watch all the footage of me that the evil Kinect stockpiled.

The cast of characters is both appallingly strange and appealingly endearing, and extremely Japanese. Well- a Japanese depiction of Americans, anyway. From steroid inhaling flight attendants to flamboyant fashion designers, and including one ridiculously-flexible, slow-talking, knife-wielding giant (who I was relatively sure symbolized death when he first came on screen) and your gluttonous, hot dog inhaling (the scene actually made me a bit nauseated), clam chowder loving ex-partner, the characters are entertaining, albeit over the top. It might be too much for fans of more gritty realism in games, or people expecting the crime investigation to be more like CSI than Ace Attorney, though.


These all go in. At once. Alllllllll of them.


Not to sound catty (#sorrynotsorry), but the weak links, characterwise, are the women in Young's life- Little Peggy herself, and some cracked out chick named Amanda who thinks she's a cat and serves as the store in the game. Peggy's character is fleshed out through letters she left around for Young, and they became increasingly skippable as they went on. I'm not sure if she was actually 12 or not, but it sounded suspiciously like what reading 12 year old Kat's fantasy diary about married life would have sounded like- if such a thing had existed. Amanda is- I don't know... Maybe one of the most obnoxious characters I've come across in a game. Her bony frame bugs me. Her clothes bug me. Her attitude bugs me. Her qtes drove me crazy. But as I said, she served a function, and the cats that act as store branches for her throughout the level are adorable.

I'd say the only real issue I have with the game is how short it is. It's really short. You can get through the whole thing in under 2 hours and not even really realize that you haven't been exploring much. Also, some of the dialogue drags, and repeatedly hitting the button in a futile attempt to skip it can make you choose the wrong selection. For some reason, it got more tolerable as time went on, so maybe it's something you get used to.

Tl;dr: The game is an over the top point and click with fun characters and enough originality to revive the clichéd plot. It ends up being the good kind of whirlwind, although it definitely will leave you wondering where the rest of the game is. It deserves better than the lagging sales numbers would lead you to believe- which probably points more to it being on the wrong platform than anything. It would be a Nintendo or Sony slam dunk- hopefully it finds it's target in the MS market as well!!

8.5/10

I'm considering doing some sort of contest to win a copy of the game but I don't have the logistics figured out yet. Leave a comment to let me know if that's something you'd be interested in, and I'll update with details when I hammer them out! :)
(Source: Quick and dirty is the only way Meta does it. )
Rating: 8.5 of 10
Keywords: None

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Re: Kat's Quick and Dirty D4 Review
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great game and if you want to laugh your ass off play with the kinect. some of the motions it makes you do is absolutely ridiculous/hilarious.

it's worth 15 bucks
Re: Kat's Quick and Dirty D4 Review
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If I weren't neck deep in backlog, I'd pick this up. I still might.
And for a contest, may I suggest a hot dog eating competition?

Re: Kat's Quick and Dirty D4 Review
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I am looking forward to playing this. I have a large backlog as well, but I bought it to support Swery.
Re: Re: Kat's Quick and Dirty D4 Review
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Quote by Mindy:


If I weren't neck deep in backlog, I'd pick this up. I still might.
And for a contest, may I suggest a hot dog eating competition?




OMG that would be hilarious.
Re: Re: Re: Kat's Quick and Dirty D4 Review
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Quote by Kat:



Quote by Mindy:


If I weren't neck deep in backlog, I'd pick this up. I still might.
And for a contest, may I suggest a hot dog eating competition?




OMG that would be hilarious.



^ and gross. I wouldn't want to judge it.
Re: Kat's Quick and Dirty D4 Review
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Great write-up, Kat. I'm going to grab this as soon as I have the time and money.

I liked your idea of a caption contest, but I still think you need to just give the game funds to me and pretend some previously unknown, brand-new XBA member won.
Re: Kat's Quick and Dirty D4 Review
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So I finally decided to give this a go and it is definitely a different type of game. I completed the prologue and then episode 1 only to realize that my achievements stopped popping. Hope they eventually pop as I don't have it in me to go back through again. I am not going to start episode 2 until they do.
Re: Re: Kat's Quick and Dirty D4 Review
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Quote by DeWayne:


So I finally decided to give this a go and it is definitely a different type of game. I completed the prologue and then episode 1 only to realize that my achievements stopped popping. Hope they eventually pop as I don't have it in me to go back through again. I am not going to start episode 2 until they do.



Yeah I had problems with that the other day. The game really doesnt hold my interest
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