The Longest Journey

The Longest Journey, a game from Norway of all places, is neither a groundbreaking advancement nor technological marvel — just a clever and enchanting refinement of time-honored concepts. On the surface level, this is a grandiose game, full of story and charm, and with enough nice puzzle-centric gameplay to take you through it’s adventure.

19_1As April Ryan, 23rd-century college student, you’re charged with saving the world. The fragile balance that separates the realms of magic and science are steadily crumbling, in ways that take April into a huge adventure. Although a few lines of text can’t do it justice, suffice it to say that the plot is more mature and riveting than almost anything that’s come before in this genre. Sporting a sophisticated sci-fi story of this magnitude is something you rarely see in mainstream gaming, and it’s one of the main reasons that push you through The Longest Journey from beginning to end.

A slick interface packed with little animated bells and whistles also accentuates the high production values in The Longest Journey. Conversations with a rich selection of fleshed-out NPCs are astoundingly enjoyable as well, due in no small part to the fabulous voiceovers and mood music. The main character dispenses cynical wit and wisdom when called for. Frankly, Funcom has crafted a cinematic tour de force in this PC game.

It’s fitting then that such a classy game touts equally fabulous puzzles. Item collection and integration commands the majority of your attention. Contraption repair sessions are also on the menu, but the mindbenders can be solved logically. Branching dialogue, subtle hints, intuition, and first-person glimpses guide you guilelessly through the plot.

2_1Although it requires some time to noodle them out, the designers built in several aides that make your life easier. Highlighted cursors confirm the validity of your guesses. A running diary keeps track of your progress and important information that’s been gleaned. You won’t ever feel like your hand is being held, but you’re definitely getting the subtle leg up that can separate fun from frustration. There are few decent adventures these days, but the class and entertainment value of The Longest Journey is enough to make it a must for veteran adventure gamers.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95

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