D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die
D4 is literally only half the game it was supposed to be. Even then, its full of filler, but its equally full of charm and charisma. As well as a great moment about half way through.
D4 tells the story of David Young, a Boston detective with an unusual power. David has the power to travel through time by collecting mementos. He mysteriously gained this power after a serial killer, killed his loving wife Little Peggy. Before her death Little Peggy gave David his only clue, “Look for D”. Armed with this clue and his new power, David sets off to find the mysterious D, and avenge his wife.
D4 is one of the strangest games I have ever played. In both gameplay and story. Its also one of the most charming experiences and lovingly crafted experiences I have ever experienced. The game is more of an interactive story than a game. Your primary interaction with the game is (originally) using the Xbox Ones Kinect to maneuver David through environments and interact with objects. Its one of the most thought out uses of the kinect, asking players to sit down rather than stand up, and uses easily understandable and immersive gestures. However like always, the kinect lets you down, and many of your commands are dropped or miss-read, leading to a lot of frustration. Like Asura’s Wrath, most of the “gameplay” is highly stylized QTE’s. Again like Asura’s these cutscenes are awesome, except this time you are actually mimicking and doing the movements of the character. These include punching, dodging, and even shouting at the screen. Unlike Asura, this games sound design is awesome, with great VA and an amazing soundtrack. Unfortunately these QTE interactions are few and far between, with a lot of the only other form of gameplay in its place. You see, often characters will ask David an arbitrary question like “Whats the difference between Whiskey and Scotch”, which forces you to return to Davids apartment and search for a clue to answer it. When you find the clue you travel back to the character and answer the question. While the dialogue and reasons for these questions are hilarious and charming, the gameplay is boring and monotonous.
You see, the real standout of D4 is the characters. D4 takes place in 2 locations, in Davids apartment and onboard a plane. David finds himself on board this plane, after his partner delivers him the air martials badge. The on board air martial was transporting a drug dealer Antonio “Rabbit” Zapataro to prison. Rabbit turned states witness claiming to have information on his boss “D”. However something strange happened on board the flight, the air martial was killed and Rabbit disappeared mid flight. On board this flight are a crazy cast of characters, such as. A tough as nails Air Martial, 2 undercover FBI agents, one of which who is obsessed with cleanliness and the other forced to play the role of a bumbling air hostess, A fashion designer to puppets a mannequin to be his mirror image, and finally a germophobe who is also afraid of flying. Oh and a shockingly tall doctor who just constantly scrapes a knife and fork together. Also David is an amazing character himself, bursting with personality. For example, he hates bubble gum, but chews it constantly to honor his wife Little Peggy, throughout the game he constantly blows bubbles in peoples faces, and sticks gum everywhere. In addition, anytime you look at anything, a small description by David appears, describing what he thinks he is seeing. So a majority of the game is wondering around these environments, reading descriptions, talking to characters, and searching for clues.
Now onto the great moment: About half way through the game Rabbit makes his attempt his escape, however unlike previous time David is there to stop him. A fight ensues, an amazing unforgettable fight. They start with a short fist fight, but Rabbit gets some good hits in, allowing him to escape. Rabbit runs down the aisle and grabs and throws luggage at the David, forcing the player to do QTE’s to grab the luggage out of the air. In any other game the player would dodge these attacks, but not in this game. Instead David grabs the luggage out of the air, and hands it to the owners in one swift move. As Rabbit continues his run, he throws a woman in Davids way. David grabs her, does and dances her back to her seat. Stuff like this continues for a while. Rabbit grabs abaseball out of the overhead container, during the scuffle the fashion designers mannequin got destroyed. So David grabs its leg to use as a bat. Rabbit fires a pitch at David who bats like a pro and promptly hits Rabbit right in the face with the ball. David closes the gap and grabs a megaphone off the ground, that had fallen out of the overhead during the fight. David Stands over Rabbit and the player is prompted to shout at the screen, causing David to scream into the microphone stunning Rabbit. After more fighting and great moments, such as a cross counter with Rabbit and David both stunning each other, the fight ends on a cliffhanger. As David is about to get answers out of Rabbit, one of the FBI agents intervenes, pointing her gun at David. At the same time lightning strikes the plane. David now suddenly finds himself in the luggage compartment of the plane, and Rabbit has gone missing. This is scene is amazing and shows the zany and amazing style of the game.
It shows the true aspirations of the creators, and is amazing fun to play. Unfortunately the rest of the game is lacking in some areas. Including one major problem I haven’t mentioned yet. The game is only half the story. The game was released episodically, but only got to episode 2 of 4 before being cancelled. So it ends on a cliffhanger.
I would highly recommend you pick up the steam version D4, and truly explore it. Guy talk to everyone and frequently go back to David’s apartment. If you go in craving these bizarre and surreal interactions you wont be disappointed, if you go in expecting a normal game, you won’t enjoy it at all.
PS: Here is a great video of the battle, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YIFI2KFF6s