D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die – Season One
Deliciously dark, delightful. Download directly, dummy
Look, when one of a game’s first instructions to the player is to move forward and then dutifully ‘push the owl’, you know you’re in for an interesting time. Not that you wouldn’t have already suspected that from D4, the latest episodic title from Deadly Premonition’s Hidetaka ‘Swery’ Suehiro. This initial release, which encompasses a prologue and two full episodes of approximately 90 minutes, follows gum-chewing private investigator David Young, a man on the trail of his wife’s murderer. Forgetting the fact that there’s something deeply creepy about calling your wife ‘Little Peggy’, Young is an instantly compelling lead.
See, when Peggy was killed, he conveniently suffered amnesia but gained the ability to travel back into the past via ‘mementos,’ everyday items that possess an importance to a person’s fate. During investigations you interact with objects, interrogate witnesses, and take on any number of bizarre ‘extra cases’. While your actions and choices don’t change the narrative, you’re rewarded with extra credits for responses that tie in with Young’s character, which you can spend on things like food and presents for your cat/lady/whatever.
One of the oddest things about D4, however, is the fact that – gasp – it’s been designed to be played entirely using Kinect. Personally, I still preferred the solid dependability of a controller, but Xbox One’s Kinect works incredibly well here, whether you’re swiping through case notes or performing death-defying acrobatics in one of the many slapstick action sequences.
Doing anything in-game costs stamina, which runs down surprisingly fast and must be constantly topped up by finding and eating food stashed in your surroundings, as though David is some kind of overgrown talking raccoon. Which, given Swery’s love of nonsensical plot twists, wouldn’t surprise us at this point. Combine this with collectibles and a cast of utterly odd characters, and there’s always something to be pleasantly baffled by.
All that and I didn’t even mention the fact that David does most of his detective work on the toilet or sees a creepy giant doctor everywhere he goes. Next time, perhaps. OXM
The flamboyant Duncan tasks you with extra cases.
Young’s Bostonian drawl is a joy, especially when he’s saying ‘maaahshal’.