D4 is a weird game.
You have to be in a very specific audience to enjoy D4. If you disliked Deadly Premonition or any of Swery’s other games, then I cannot recommend this game to you on any level. But if you are a fan of those games, you are in for one hell of a treat.
D4 follows the story of former Boston Police Detective David Young, whose wife, Little Peggy, is killed in connection to a drug called Real Blood. Using his unique ability to dive into the past using various “mementos,” David is hellbent on finding someone known only as “D”. What follows is the kind of insane sequence of events one would expect from a Swery game, albeit a far more polished one. Which is good, because the story is pretty much the only reason to play this game.
In terms of design, Swery and his team at Access Games have finally fixed their control problems by…not having direct controls to begin with. D4 is very much a point-and-click game, and movement is achieved exclusively by selecting walk icons. The only exception being the action sequences, which use QTEs to get the job done. But where most QTEs boil down to simply “press button here to do action,” D4 uses a series of swipes/stick movement and button presses that actually make sense in context of David’s movements.
The QTEs and generally limited controls in favor of storytelling draws a parallel with games from French developer Quantic Dream. But while Quantic Dream’s games have brooding, quasi-cerebral stories, D4 tells a semi-serious story in an absolutely ridiculous way. And believe it or not, D4 becomes far more compelling as a result. Quantic Dream games tend to fall apart because the story takes itself too seriously, and the plot holes become evident as a result. But D4 is so ridiculous to begin with that the plot holes are both irrelevant and charming.
While the game is built around the use of Kinect, controller support is included and actually works well. In fact, despite this being one of the more accurate games to use the Kinect thus far, controller is still the better way to play the game.
In short, D4 is a very specific game with a very specific audience. If you, like me, are a fan of Deadly Premonition, the $15 cost of this game is well worth it. I guarantee you will love every second of it. If not, then you shouldn’t bother. And if you’ve never played a Swery game before, pick it up if you’re curious. I’d say it’s at least worth a shot.
If you need a number, I give D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die an 8 out of 10
D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is the first release of an episodic series, and includes the prologue and the first two episodes. You can purchase it in the Xbox One Store or through Xbox.com
Ethics Disclosure: This reviewer bought this game on release day. They were not issued a review code or copy. They are in no way affiliated with Microsoft or Access Games.