Developed by Funcom and published by Empire Interactive, The Longest Journey is a PC point-and-click adventure RPG. Released in Norway in 1999, this game didn't see a UK and North American release until 2000. The baby of director Ragnar Tørnquist, The Longest Journey is a throwback to the old adventure games of my youth. Though this game is now 15 years old, I think it is worthy of its own segment instead of a simple Remembering.
We begin the game by seeing an old woman sitting in a chair offering to tell a story to two younger people. They wanted to hear the story of the Balance but instead agree to hear a story about a crucial turning point in the history of the Balance. After a short cut scene, we meet our protagonist, April Ryan.
April is a strong willed, sassy teenage artist. She attends art school with her friends lives in a boarding house and works at the Fringe Cafe pay for it all. April is plagued with bad, vivid dreams. She also has a knack for showing up places in her underpants!
April must save a tree and an egg in her dream. Or is it a dream!? Dun dun dunnnnnnn. After finishing her small quest, April awakes in her room at Border House in Venice, New Port. She is hot, tired and realised she promised herself she'd work on her painting all day. April gets dressed, runs into the douchebag Zack in the hall and meets Fiona in the living room. A few puzzles later, April is off to the studio! She meets the mysterious Cortez on the way to the studio and here is where your adventure begins (and the spoilers)!
April will eventually learn that the Earth has been split into two realms, Stark and Arcadia. Stark, the world where April grew up, is based on science and technology. Arcadia is a world of magic. The world was split into Stark and Arcadia because science and magic are incompatible. The world was split and the Balance was born. Stark and Arcadia are one day destined to be reunited, but not yet. The Balance is watched over by a Guardian, who resides within his/her own realm between both worlds.
April, and Cortez, are shifters, magical people who can open a shift and enter either world at will. April is a child of the Balance. Cortez needs her help to restore order to the Balance in both Stark and Arcadia. The Guardian has disappeared from his realm! The Balance is poised to fall. There are groups, the Vanguard, working within both Stark and Arcadia attempting to reunify the worlds, which would be disastrous. Normal people can travel between the worlds but it is a difficult and unpleasant process.
The people of Arcadia are aware of the Balance but the people of Stark are not. Arcadians celebrate the Balance. There are many magical peoples within Arcadia, peoples which April must meet and help in order to bring order to the chaos that is spreading. Along her way in Arcadia, April gains a talking bird friend named, well, initially Bird but then Crow! In Stark, April has lots of friends to help her along her journey, though most of them are unaware of what she is really doing.
The lore in this game is amazing! It is engrossing and beautiful. All legends that April runs into have books that discuss possible beginnings to those legends. Dragons are actually a group called the Draic Kin, or the Kin. There are festivals related to the Balance. People have superstitions that are based off their religions, like being unable to sign their name on paper because their god is watching always unless you play music to distract it!
The voice actors sound like the give a shit. There is actual feeling and emotion in their voices. The Flipper is just awesome, I have never heard someone use the word Fuck in such creative and innovative ways! The graphics have aged but I still think they are beautiful.
If you like old school point-and-click adventure games or engrossing stories, get this game! Right now! Its available on Steam for 10 bucks or buy The Longest Journey and its sequel for 25! It is also available on GOG for the same price but the bundle is one sale currently for $21.23. It's worth it! And maybe get the soundtrack, because that is also awesome.
- Amazing story
- Great characters
- Engrossing lore and environments
- Fun puzzles
- Sassy, strong protagonist
- The graphics haven't aged well