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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The main character's love for his wife is overshadowed by murder, madness, drug addiction, and violence.
Positive Role Models
Characters are peculiar at best, despicable at worst.
Ease of Play
Gameplay is easy to grasp, tricky to control, and can be done by controller or Microsoft Kinect.
Violence & Scariness
This is a murder investigation -- as such, it shows people being graphically beaten, shot, and stabbed during investigations and cut scenes. A drug taken by characters turns people inside out.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A female character wears only heels and a swimsuit. In one sequence, the main character playfully fights her, and she suggestively fights back.
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"Damn," "s--t," and "f--k.", some frequent use.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main character frequently drinks tequila, and people are seen doing "real blood," a strange, deadly drug.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die is a downloadable adult-themed adventure game dealing with murder, mental illness, and violent crime. Players control a mentally imbalanced ex-cop whose wife was killed by an unknown assailant. He's obsessive, self-destructive, and agoraphobic, with a tendency to drown his sorrows in tequila. He engages in violent altercations, and other characters are shot, bludgeoned, kicked, and stabbed. Blood and profanity flow freely. One female character wears only a swimsuit and heels and fights with the main character. Secondary characters use a weird and deadly drug called "real blood," which causes strange side effects such as turning people inside out.
Is It Any Good?
D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die is an unforgettably bizarre adventure. On the surface, it's a typical hard-boiled detective story, but underneath it's a surreal trip through one man's psyche. David has the ability to travel through time and space, so the action jumps between the present and the past. The present involves piecing together events leading up to David's wife's murder and hanging out with his gluttonous ex-partner and a strange, free-loading girl who thinks she's a cat. Although the present contains plenty of pointless (albeit entertaining) moments, the past focuses strictly on David's investigation. You search for evidence and interview passengers/potential suspects (there are many eccentric, even grotesque, personalities). Things get downright David Lynchian here, full of twisted nightmare logic. It's both exciting and unsettling.
Unfortunately, the experience is diluted by a clunky control scheme. Everything is done by moving a pointer over on-screen icons, which is slightly less cumbersome with a controller. Other problems are the game's wooden characters and episodic nature. The former you can get used to; the latter just isn't fair, because it means the game ends right when it's really getting interesting. Despite these flaws, D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die is well worth your time and money. It offers an absorbing story, interesting ideas and varied, compelling gameplay. Its stylistic approach could make playing it a “love it or hate it” kind of prospect, but if you keep an open mind, you're in for a good -- or at least thought-provoking -- time.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.