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Dreamkiller review

Discarding psychology for simplistic slaughter


  • Weapons are fun
  • Inventive story premise
  • Voice work is believable


  • Unimaginative level design
  • Interchangeable
  • dumb enemies
  • Doesn't capitalize on own premise

As dream-walking, tough-talking psychologist Alice Drake, you must enter your patients%26rsquo; nightmares to fight their fears. With a minigun. The world%26rsquo;s only First-Person Freud-%26rsquo;em-up.

The 12 dream-levels are a series of lush set-pieces connected by short corridors; the diverse gallery of baddies is often functionally identical %26ndash; either a little dude, a slow dude with rockets, or an enormo-dude. The six weapons are fun, Easy mode is a smooth, modest challenge, and the voice work is believable. It just doesn%26rsquo;t try hard enough. It doesn%26rsquo;t offer dark, thoughtful dissections of the human mind, or showcase a consistent mythology.

Instead, you shoot crowds of freaks. Every patient is reduced to a couple of hastily-Googled phobias and curing them boils down to shooting monsters. Agoraphobia? Shooting monsters. Fear of becoming a workaholic? Shooting monsters. To complain that it%26rsquo;s ignorant of psychology would be moot; it%26rsquo;s just plain ignorant. Enemies do nothing but run at you. The rooms are nothing but arenas. The multiplayer includes a co-op mode that sounds cool, but you%26rsquo;ll find more servers on the moon.

Frustratingly, Dreamkiller offers the odd glimpse of potential: after scaling a vertigo-sufferer%26rsquo;s dream-tower, you must cross a high, narrow bridge. Predictably, it starts to collapse. In that entire level, despite all the altitude, it%26rsquo;s the only sequence that attempts to use the patient%26rsquo;s vertigo for suspense. Psychonauts did brain-delving better. Serious Sam did campy horde-killing better. For this price, you could buy both. Twice.

Nov 5, 2009

More Info

Description<p>To complain that it&#8217;s ignorant of psychology would be moot; it&#8217;s just plain ignorant. Psychonauts did brain-delving better. Serious Sam did campy horde-killing better. For this price, you could buy both. Twice.</p>
PlatformPC, Xbox 360
US censor ratingMature, Mature
UK censor ratingRating Pending, Rating Pending
Release date:12 October 2009 (US), 12 October 2009 (UK)
Available platforms:PC
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