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Old 06-06-2010, 05:38 PM   #1
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I consider myself a fan of the genre, so I was surprised to discover that I had never heard of The Longest Journey before flipping through the Steam catalog today. The reviews I've read are nearly universally glowing, though every once in a while I find one that's fairly negative. So I downloaded the demo (seems to be a chapter from the middle, on the boat with the oncoming Chaos Storm), and I have to say I was pretty unimpressed. The negative reviews seemed to be fairly on-point regarding sloppy puzzle design, slow conversational pacing, and general aimlessness.

But I can't get over how many reviews describe this as one of the best games ever, and a quick perusal of these forums makes it seem like it's held in high regards here, too.

So since reviews in a vacuum seem not to be helping, I was hoping y'all could provide comparisons of TLJ to two of my favorites from the genre, Monkey Island 2 and Gabriel Knight 1. I think that'll help me peg where this game's at a lot better.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:27 PM   #2
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Wow, TLJ is fantastic. It's pretty much the last "classic" adventure game that was ever made.

As far as comparisons go, my top 3 favorite adventure games of all time are Grim Fandango, Gabriel Knight, and The Longest Journey. TLJ is pretty much a beautiful swan song of the adventure genre as departed mainstream gaming after the 1990s. The game pretty much has the interface and wit of an old school LucasArts game, with the rich mythology and lore that you would expect from a Jane Jensen title. If you're a fan of adventure games, it's a game you won't want to miss.
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:14 PM   #3
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The Longest Journey popped up several time in the recent forum thread on "most disappointing game", so my main advice would be not to buy into the hype. Expect a well told story, nothing more, nothing less.

If you're into fantasy fiction (and to a lesser degree sci-fi), enjoy a well crafted game world and don't care too much about pacing or puzzle quality, you will probably enjoy it quite a bit.
It's certainly an ambitious game, and it truly feels like a labor of love - a quality I find absent in most current adventures with Telltale being a possible exception. But that very same love may also have left a few darlings too many unkilled, especially in terms of dialog but even whole side quests that imho could easily have been sacrificed for the sake of a tighter narrative. Personally I find that wears out its welcome around the midpoint and on my second playthrough I gave up way before that.

Comparing it to MI2 or GK1 is really apples and oranges. In terms of scope, world exploration and quirky characters it does bear some resemblance to MI2, but the story takes itself far more seriously (not to say that there aren't jokes, but rarely laugh-out-loud funny), and it's more of an epic quest than a wild adventure. I guess the dialog heavy narrative and more adult themes could be compared to GK1, but it wouldn't fall out in TLJ's favor.

I'm not trying to dissuade you from buying it, because you might as well make up your own mind about this modern-day classic. For better and for worse it's an important piece of adventure gaming history. But don't expect miracles, it's just a game
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:34 PM   #4
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Just as I've always said about the game... if you crave a well-told story, excellent dialogue, and deep and engaging characters, then this is a best-of-genre game. If you are a puzzle fanatic, or if you require modern-day graphics, then the game will not be for you. Contrary to what you have heard, the game is NOT aimless, and the conversations are not "slow-paced", but there *is* a lot of dialogue; it's called "character development", and it's something that most games don't even bother with. The puzzles did not strike me as being any sloppier than those in any other adventure game; I have never played an AG that had completely logical puzzles.

I have not played GK1 or MI2, but I thought MI1 was heavily overrated. It tried too hard to be funny -- by way of contrast, TLJ has tons of funny parts -- mostly dialogue-related -- which are made even funnier because it is not a comedy game. Also, I did not care at all about the characters in MI, whereas in TLJ I found myself either loving or hating most of the characters in the game. Lastly, MI is a cartoonish game, with a few "jokes" aimed at the older crowd, whereas TLJ is clearly aimed at adults (considering some of the language and character interactions).
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:06 PM   #5
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I'm one of those who are big adventure games fans, but not a big fan of this game. First of all, I'm not a fan of fairytales and creatures (apart from Giger's Alien, of course). Also, I have played TLJ rather late: in 2004., if my memory serves me. That means that I've allready played many adventures which were graphically more appealing (mostly because they use more advanced graphic engine). But I can't deny the "epic" value of this game, and once I've given it a real chance, it pretty much sucked me into it's world.

The "longest" is one of the words that first comes to my mind when mentioning TLJ. Although I didn't compared it with the other games, I feel this is probably the longest adventure game I've played so far. I also must praise the characters which are wonderfully profiled, and the complex and intelligent dialogs. Voice-acting is also one of the strong points of this game. Almost all characters sound very convincing and memorable. The story itself IMO has ups and downs: sometimes you can't wait to see what will happen next, and sometimes it's just plain boring. The fans of emotional moments will also not be dissapointed; there are plenty of them in this game.

All in all, I think that every adventure gamer should play TLJ, because it's unique in many ways. But at the same time, not everyone should like it.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:34 PM   #6
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I think the demo was chosen quite poorly, as you are missing a lot of chapters before, and therefore I think it may seem all a bit/pretty aimless. It's been a while since I played the demo (after finishing the game, so for me it was easy), but as I remember the part it is from, I also seem to remember that some puzzles just make less sense because you don't know the significance of, well, about everything. So I wouldn't call the game aimless just because of the demo.

It is true that TLJ has lods of dialogue. And with loads I mean loads. I think that would compare to GK1, which also has that. I do think GK1 was written better in these terms (like you say, the pacing is slow ni TLJ), it could be better, yet it does give you much background info into the game world, so if you have the patience to listen to all the conversations, it is definately worth it story-wise.

I can not compare TLJ to MI. MI is mostly a box of laughs. It is much more comedy driven than story driven, whereas in TLJ it is the opposite. Surely, TLJ has it's humour, but it is not the main factor. The story is. And it's a good, strong story. More towards GK, I guess, although to a lesser extent. Dreamfall's story is even stronger than the story in TLJ.

The puzzles, apart from a few in the first part (which does sound a bit like GK1 ) all making sense as I recall. The story drives the puzzles, so (at least in my experience) they make sense. And they are fairly easy (unlike MI2), apart from the aforementioned puzzles in the first few chapters.

So, conclusion: in it's aspects a bit like GK1 (although in my view GK1 is better than TLJ in all those aspects and of course the story is pretty different from GK) and a game that you should just give a go. If only for the story, which gets the chance to evolve very clearly because of all the background story you get in the many dialogues, and because of the fairly easiness of the puzzles.
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:55 AM   #7
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I don't really have much to say after what Luna just said, but I guess I can say that I agree. Also, I quite agree with terhardp's last point. " I think that every adventure gamer should play TLJ, because it's unique in many ways. But at the same time, not everyone should like it."

Personally I liked it though. In my opinion the puzzles are what you can expect in the next AG, every now and then one that's a bit more illogical but mainly, well, what Luna said. The story is the point, and it is quite unlike any other in gaming. Also, don't be afraid of the graphics in the very beginning. It's incredible how bad they are in that one short sequence.
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:56 AM   #8
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Unfortunately I've yet to play the games you mention, Zabrak, but I strongly suggest you try the full version of The Longest Journey, regardless of its shortcomings. I'll try and sum up my feelings about the game in a succinct manner (not guaranteed):

Adventure games often attempt to deliver a sense of epic journeying, that (more often than not) comes across as exaggerated and disingenuous. TLJ avoids this by actually being long enough to feel "epic", among other reasons. One of which being that the protagonist grows as a character. Environments feel populated and lived in, not static and empty. Finally, the most impressive element of TLJ -- the narrative, is meticulously crafted and is an extremely interesting mixture of fantasy and sci-fi.
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:46 AM   #9
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TLJ is a game that requires some dedication, I convinced quite a few of my non gamer friends, gave them my copy of TLJ and they finished the game in 3 days.

I felt the burn of TLJ when you first shift into Arcadia some dialog were long winded but justifiedm, because TLJ is a master piece in terms of creating its own folk/mythology.

Which is something I love in Adventure games and found very rare, I think Quest for Glory comes close in the mythology department.

But I found the games best moments when you meet crow, and learn about the creatures and magic in Arcadia. If your not into it from the start, trust me it gets better and more fascinating.
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zabrak View Post
The reviews I've read are nearly universally glowing, though every once in a while I find one that's fairly negative.
That's why I almost never read the reviews of the game before I play it, and when I do, I read the reviews done by people whose tastes/preferences I know well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zabrak View Post
I downloaded the demo (seems to be a chapter from the middle, on the boat with the oncoming Chaos Storm), and I have to say I was pretty unimpressed.
And deservedly so, because that part of the game was nothing to write home about.
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The negative reviews seemed to be fairly on-point regarding sloppy puzzle design, slow conversational pacing, and general aimlessness.
Let me guess: you read that rubbish at "GameSpot" or in "PC Gamer". Boy, those people really HATE adventures. Or reading (thinking?) in general.
It's true that there is a lot of conversation in TLJ, but you can't make an epic tale/engrossing story without a lot of text, can you?
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Originally Posted by zabrak View Post
I was hoping y'all could provide comparisons of TLJ to two of my favorites from the genre, Monkey Island 2 and Gabriel Knight 1. I think that'll help me peg where this game's at a lot better.
It's hard to compare these three, but let's say that TLJ has an interesting (although different kind of) story like GK 1, and a lot of challenging puzzles as those in MI 2 (maybe not so tough puzzles though).

TLJ is the only game ever I have played the whole night through, after a party and before going to work in the morning (I actually only had a breakfast and went straight to work after playing the whole night long), and that's the best recommendation I can give.

Forget about what people here or anywhere else tell you about TLJ - start playing it.
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Old 06-07-2010, 04:08 AM   #11
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I think TLJ is a game that almost everyone enjoys, but only if you dont go with too much expectations into it, because it has some flaws and if you go expecting a perfect game those flaws will scream at you. The puzzle design is very unispired and the story looses the momentum several times. But overall its one of the best adventures ever made, and it has one of the best narratives i ever experienced.

Now about your question, TLJ and GK1 are my favourite adventures ever. Both share a fantastic narrative with very well written dialogue, however they have different styles. TLJ is more focused on fantasy and epicness, its like a modern Iliad, Odyssey or Lusiadas (well... sort of ). GK1 is more mature, adult and much more inspired by "real life" modern themes like noir and a bit of crime fiction. With the monkey island series it shares some crazy puzzles, but in terms of narrative and feel its completely different.
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:54 AM   #12
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Well, after seeing some mixed comments on TLJ, I just wanted to comment that to me, most of the game's criticisms are could easily be countered as the games strengths.

Basically, for any game genre, some games focus gameplay over story, and others focus story over gameplay. TLJ falls in the latter catagory. TLJ is *not* a puzzle centric game. If you're looking for pen and paper puzzles then TLJ is not for you. If you're looking for dialogue, a rich story, deep mythology, and great characters, it's at the very top of its class along with the old time LucasArts and Sierra classics.

And it's sequel Dreamfall was also wonderful imho.
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Old 06-07-2010, 06:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
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TLJ is *not* a puzzle centric game.
That's perhaps what we all remember about TLJ. But, much as I love the game, I must remind you all about the couple of horrible puzzles one must solve in the beginning of the game (yes, specially that one). Which, moreover, completely stall the very fine narrative. TLJ has many puzzles, they are just not very good.

Don't get me wrong: I love TLJ despite its many flaws, because of its very good story. The same goes for Dreamfall (here the issue is the combat system).
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:17 AM   #14
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Let me guess: you read that rubbish at "GameSpot" or in "PC Gamer". Boy, those people really HATE adventures. Or reading (thinking?) in general.
Actually, and not meaning to stick up for GameSpot here, they really enjoyed The Longest Journey. As you can see here.

It's true that GameSpot don't seem to acknowledge, nor are they any good at reviewing, a lot of adventure games, but they are quite favourable towards adventures that are either more mainstream/innovative/well designed etc. Titles such as: Broken Sword, Monkey Island, The Longest Journey, Dreamfall, Syberia, Machinarium etc. have all been well received.
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Old 06-07-2010, 11:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazzoid View Post
It's true that GameSpot don't seem to acknowledge, nor are they any good at reviewing, a lot of adventure games, but they are quite favourable towards adventures that are either more mainstream/innovative/well designed etc. Titles such as: Broken Sword, Monkey Island, The Longest Journey, Dreamfall, Syberia, Machinarium etc. have all been well received.
I think they give good reviews to the cream of the crop in any genre. I've certainly never noticed them being biased against AGs in any way, which is surprising considering how mainstream they (Gamespot) are. They just don't look as favorably upon the "rest" of the AG genre as the hard-core fans from this site do. And they seem to treat other genres the same way.
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:38 AM   #16
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Yeah, GameSpot are notorious for their harsh (but fair?) review scores, across all genres.
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:20 AM   #17
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Also, I think PC Gamer gave the game 90% which is a very high score for any genre in their publication.

I think the Longest Journey is a great game, but only if you have lots of time on your hands. As some posters have already mentioned, the dialogues can be quite long. I first played TLJ in high school when I could spend entire evenings and weekends on the game, so the long dialogues weren't a problem for me, and they really added a lot to the game's mythology and story.

Now I don't have the same amount of time to spend on games in one sitting. The last time I tried playing the Longest Journey I lost interest because I could only get through a few conversations before running out of time and needing to shut down for the night.
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:40 AM   #18
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The Longest Journey is without a doubt one of the best and most beautifully crafted games yet created for any platform. It has it all, beautiful art and locations, wonderful voice acting and characters, a deep and rich story that unfolds over this and the sequel Dreamfall (whcih is an equally superb game)..and an ambience that is something that must be seen to understood.

It is not a game to be dashed thru on a weekend, it is meant to be savoured and appreciated, step by step. Dont rush it please. And you will do yourself a great favour to buy it, you will come to love it, if not at first, then over time. I have not seen a negative comment about it that i agree with here or anywhere. The percieved faults are those of the observer not the game.

This is an epic story that covers so much of our modern times and modern culture that it is impossible to detail them all. And April the main character is someone you will come to love and enjoy for years to come, as is Zoe who is the heroine of the sequel. Don't be fooled by the demo that was very poor choice indeed.

And if the dialogue gets slow for you, use the Esc key and it will advance to the next line. But you will in time come to not want to lose a word of it.

It is a timeless classic and will remain, i am sure, such as long as there are comptuer games around.
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Also, I think PC Gamer gave the game 90% which is a very high score for any genre in their publication.
Yeah, (according to Wikipedia) in the US edition of PC Gamer TLJ got 90%, which IS a high mark, but in the British edition (issue 83) it got 79%. I would say it's also very good, even excellent, specially when you know that in the same magazine Liath got 8%, Road to India 10%, Phantasmagoria 12%, The Watchmaker 16%, Dracula: Resurrection 22%, The Mystery of the Druids 23%, Schizm 27%, Amerzone 29%, The Neverhood 29%, The Last Express 58% and so on; on the other side most of the shooters/slaughterhouses from the same period regularly achieved at least 60%.

Here's how (word by word) TLJ was summarized (also by someone writing for PC Gamer) in the book "PC Gamer Presents The Ultimate Guide to PC Games: Instant Guide to a Decade of PC Games", published by Future Publishing in 2003 (on page 244):

Quote:
Originally Posted by PC Gamer's writer
The Longest Journey

This f***ing game is f***ing full of f***ing swearing, nudity and faecal bodily functions. Its liberal f***ing minded approach to adventuring is both refreshing and well f***ing polished, making this game not f***ing bad at all. A mix of gorgeous pre-rendered backdrops and decently animated polygonal characters with a strong f***ing storyline and really f***ing tricky puzzles.

No comment needed. I would say a lot of things about TLJ but it never occured to me that it was "full of f***ing swearing, nudity and faecal bodily functions". That all seems to be in the head of the "reviewer".
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Old 06-09-2010, 01:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dasilva View Post
TLJ is a game that requires some dedication...
I agree. The game took so long getting started that I almost gave up on it. It wasn't until after after April managed to get inside the theatre that it started getting interesting to me.
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