D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die – Sea­son One

De­li­ciously dark, de­light­ful. Down­load di­rectly, dummy

XBox: The Official Magazine - - REVIEW - Pub­lisher Mi­crosoft Game Stu­dios / De­vel­oper Ac­cess Games / For­mat Xbox One / re­lease date Out now

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’.

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