D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die, Depressed Detective

D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is a deliberate juxtaposition of the familiar and the strange. It’s a murder mystery, but one in which the detective uses evidence as “mementos” to travel back in time. The victim is the protagonist’s wife, but her body was found almost entirely drained of blood. Protagonist David Young himself is a typical stubbly dark haired drinker, but most of the other characters from the girl who seems to think she’s a cat to the fashion designer who insists his mannequin is his “partner” are really, really weird.

Much of your investigation is conversation with these characters, finding evidence in scenes of the past by picking responses with a higher “Synchro” percentage for those that fit with Young’s personality and pointing out inconsistencies. Wonderfully, you can carry out all of these often-bizarre conversations through voice control, thanks to Kinect.


The entire game can be played just with Kinect, in fact. This might feel a bit like Deadly Premonition but it’s more point and click, though ina twist of self aware videogame logic you use up stamina (refillable with food) with each interaction. “Grab” a footprint icon to move to that spot. Lean to look around. Wave to open doors. Hold your head to activate Eagle Vision/Detective Mode. “Push” to slap a flight attendant’s bottom.

It mostly works, too, particularly in the action sequences in which colourful indicators appear on screen and you have to move your arms in the corresponding direction. These feel almost like an upper body Dance Dance Revolution, complete with performance ratings. Succeed, and Young does dance, dodging attacks and catching projectiles like a B-Movie action hero, though you’ll miss most of it as you focus instead on your instructions.

Where Kinect is less reliable is in the quieter moments, like catching the little exclamation marks that pop up temporarily and mean that Young has thoughts to share. These not only make you pay attention during cutscenes and reward you with currency, which you can use to buy food, but the resultant captions are often funny too. You may well want to switch to a standard controller to ensure
you don’t miss them.

With QTEs relegated to buttons, D4 not only looks like The Walking Dead but feels like it too, though the plot makes much less sense. With no word yet on whether there’ll be more episodes and how many, those who’ve been burned by inconclusive episodic series in the past may want to stay away, particularly because of the two available already the first is far better. But the story is not the
main draw here, and anyone with an Xbox One who wants to play something different should definitely give this a try.

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