D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die Review: Hot Garbage

September 24, 2014 by

D4 sure is weird. And bad.

Developer: Access Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Review Platform: Xbox One
Review Copy Provided ByMicrosoft Studios
Release Date: September 19, 2014

Japanese games are rarely exclusive to Microsoft consoles following the dismal failure both the Xbox 360 and, so far, the Xbox One have had in the Asian market. Simply put, the numbers aren’t there to fully support the Japanese wackiness that western audiences tend to avoid (outside of the Final Fantasy series).

So, when Microsoft announced D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die would be exclusive to the Xbox One and would come from the minds behind the controversially bonkers Deadly Premonition, many of us were left scratching our heads. Why doesn’t Microsoft just give up already? Do they have anything to gain from doing this?

Then, at TGS 2014, it was announced that D4 was released starting immediately and it became clear that everything about Xbox in Japan was weird.

That ball gets hit with a dummy's leg. And then it hits this guy
That ball gets hit with a dummy’s leg. And then it hits this guy

D4 presents itself as episodic, and, so far, all that’s been released is “Season One” which consists of a prologue and two episodes. The developers have clearly taken a page out of The Walking Dead: The Game‘s book by offering little traditional gameplay and more interactive cutscenes. The difference between D4 and The Walking Dead is that D4 fails on all fronts to create any compelling reason to continue playing. You’re faced with quasi-puzzles that require very little in the way of problem solving, but more patience as you get through tedious amounts of senseless dialogue.

And if that didn’t sound enough like damnation for D4, the dialogue is not only poorly written but incredibly poorly acted. One might excuse such short comings for it’s obvious anime influence, but I can’t do that. Yes, this is fairly common in games from Japan, but does that excuse the fact that it’s bad? No, and in this case, it’s especially egregious as the game’s entire foundation is built upon storytelling, dialogue, and acting.

Those are supposed to fashionable sunglasses and hairdos... I think? Damn this game is bad.
Those are supposed to fashionable sunglasses and hairdos… I think? Damn this game is bad.

The main character, Derek, (Correction: The character’s name is David. Not that it matters. The game still sucks) has some strange ability to travel through time by focusing on special objects he calls mementos. He uses this throughout the game to solve the murder of his wife, who he, for whatever reason, refers to “Little Peggy.” The game is full of weird, borderline cringey, little tidbits like this. He has a cat called Amanda, or at least I think it’s his cat? It’s really a scantily clad woman who meows and carries a dead mouse around in her mouth and pounces on Derek when he opens the door inciting a general reaction of WHAT THE F*CK?! And then there’s this character with a glass eye that gets knocked out. Oh, and a green-haired fashion designer who is seemingly in love with a mannequin.

The stupidity is relentless and got to the point where I just had to put my controller down, get up, and try to make sense of everything. D4: Dark Dreams… whatever… it’s not for everyone, and that’s pretty obvious from the outset and from any trailers. Unfortunately, this game just isn’t for this critic. In fact, I can wholeheartedly say I hated D4. I hated it.

Why? Who gives a shit! That's why.
Why? Who gives a shit! That’s why. I hate everything.

In almost any bad game, I can find even one redeeming factor, but with this… I can’t. There was honestly nothing there for me. It’s a boring game that focuses entirely on story, and I’m not the type of person to call games like Gone Home, The Walking Dead, or The Wolf Among Us non-games. I love those games. But they built a solid story, with interesting characters that were easy to relate to, and they never made me fall asleep. I literally had to fight myself to keep awake. At 4 in the afternoon.

If that’s not evidence enough for a boring game, I don’t know what is.

 

Editor’s Note: After much consideration, I have decided that perhaps my original review score of 0 Stars was simply unfair. I’ve spoken with my colleagues and we’ve come to the conclusion that 0/5 suggests that there is something fundamentally wrong with the game (i.e. it doesn’t run properly). That is not the case. D4 runs without any serious issue. I have changed the score to a 1/5 to reflect this. My opinion of the game has not changed. I still feel that it is a very poorly designed game and that you’d have more fun running bamboo under your fingernails.

Review Overview

1/5

D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die is as weird as I should've expected. And if you're the type of person that thinks weird automatically means great, then have at it you sadistic bastard. This game might just be for you. But you're not reviewing this and I am and I hate this pile of garbage.

About Tyler Nope

Tyler lives in the Portland, OR area with his wife and cat. He loves pizza, comic books, and video games.
  • I wound up here by mistake.

    This review was garbage the moment you got to “Derek” please don’t quit your day job.

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  • Edonus

    Seeing a 1 for this game….. I didnt even need to read it to know it was full of crap. This game is what gaming is about. Different experiences that makes you approach it different ways. Reviews today are too opinionated they assume everyone is going to like what they like so they are overly harsh. Here is a video of the game being played with kinect with not a single issue.

    • *stifles laughter*

    • Bongo1138

      “Reviews today are too opinionated”

      What do you think reviews are!?!

      • Edonus

        I’m an old gamer I remember the times when a review was based off of specific criteria set by the publication. There were unofficial milestones set for comparison. There would be a sound category, and a graphics category, and a gameplay category and these things would be discussed mechanically. It wasnt a I like this one better than that so its better deal.
        Look at a car review….. it consists of facts and specs about the car with small preference opinion from the reviewer but always open for the consumer to make insert their opinion. That how games should be reviewed.

        • Bongo1138

          That’s all information you can read on the back of the box. A review exists to understand why a person likes or dislikes a product. If that wasn’t the case, there’d be no reason for more than a single critic ever.

          • Edonus

            “A review exists to understand why A PERSON likes or dislikes a product”.

            This is why the system of reviews is flawed. The focus should be on the game not whether some specific PERSON likes it or not. That is like letting someone else think for you. The assumption is they know what you like better than you. And lets say you agreed with them on one thing…. that doesnt mean you will agree with them on everything.

            Some opinion is cool (out of place, but cool) it gives you an idea of the person you listening too but the focus should always be the game. I feel that a review should always push you to try a game for yourself. Anything telling you to avoid it or not to play it is over reaching the function of a review.

            And there are some things you cant get from the back of a box like control function or pacing or how deep customization is.

            There is more than a single critic because there is more than a single publication. Very few publications have reviews from multiple people on one game. And for those that do the closeness of them to each other would prove detrimental to the process because they could all influence each other…. That one reason big sites like IGN cant be trusted.

  • SaucyPapi

    Hot garbage is right. I bought this game thinking the reviews were accurate but it’s the worst XB1 game I’ve played yet. Massive screen tearing, rampant aliasing, weird/no sense making storyline, and clunky controls. My gosh, the controls are easily the worst part of it. I wish I’d read this review prior to buying it.

    • GotNews4Ya

      #GamerGate2.0 Microsoft has journalists in their pocket too! zOMG!

      • SaucyPapi

        Holy cow!

  • Reobull

    I didn’t finish reading your review, but i support you anyway. I will do anything I can to help get rid of these bullshit interactive cutscene crap outta gaming industry for good. Resources better well spent on “real games”. I know i sounded shallow but believe me my reasons behind my statement is everything but, it’ll take very long to explain. I don’t care whether is using weirdness as a gimmick or pretentious emotional story BS, hell! Some of them downright suck in story too like David Cage’s pile of crap. I don’t care ! This kind of “interactive entertainment” has to go ! Period ! See, i don’t even call them games…..and fuck walking dead from telltale and fuck telltale, i don’t care how many awards they got, in my eyes, their products are crap ! also fuck any dev that puts story ahead of gameplay in their development approach ! Fuck the post Rubin ND !

    • Bongo1138

      Well… I appreciate your support, but we have vastly differing viewpoints. I absolutely adore the work that Telltale has done over the last few years. As I say in my review, I believe that they’ve worked hard to create compelling stories and characters that are easy to relate to. I also applaud the efforts of Quantic Dream, even if I didn’t love their last game.

      But, I understand why some folks don’t enjoy this type of game. I think that if you’re creating a game that falls under this umbrella, then you’re taking a huge risk that requires a certain level of attention paid to character work. This game doesn’t do that, period. Characters are pretty one-dimensional, or non-existent (Amanda). There are some… interesting choices in regards to characters, but they just never hit for me. I understand some people will enjoy that much more than I did, but like I said, this is my review and no one else’s. Other outlets have very much appreciated these types of things.

      • GotNews4Ya

        Maybe it will get better with time.. and more episodes.. like a fine Wine… No..?

  • Pakkunn

    Wow, this is a terrible review. I’m glad you’re not on Metacritic. I didn’t even look, but I know this shit couldn’t make it to Metacritic.

    • Reobull

      Keep depending on Metacritic to justify your fondness for everything. Piece of shit. Dumbest comment I read so far here. I wish more extremely low review scores for this garbage appear on Metacritic not fir any other reasons but to just piss the shit off of the dumb morons on the internet such as you.

      • Reality slap

        We’ll keep hoping because the more notable reviews have all been good.

  • fsdsdfdf

    I suppose anyone can be considered a games journalist these days. You should be embarrassed by your work. An obscure news outlet being controversial for the sake of controversy. The fact that you couldn’t find anything to appreciate within this game, and I say that with only ten minutes of gameplay under my belt, is telling of the kind of reviewer you are. You’ll go very far.

    • Bongo1138

      “You’ll go very far.”

      Thanks for your kind words and encouragement.

      But seriously, there were no redeeming qualities for me with this game. If you take issue with that, I encourage you to write a review for me to read and try to understand your opinion.

      As a side note, I’m not a journalist. I’m a critic and I think everyone is. We all have opinions and no one keeps them to themselves entirely. I’m not embarrassed because “fsdsdfdf” disagrees with my opinion.

    • Reality slap

      We’ll said, it’s obvious this clown is trying to get attention he probably still bent over Sony recent forecast of more losses lol