In Norwegian Folklore the appearance of Draugen – the re-animated corpse of a drowned mariner, heralds death. Draugen haunts the black seas in a shattered boat, the beast has a mans body and wears a sou’wester. But instead of a head there is tangled seaweed and the revenant’s chilling cry freezes mortal blood to ice.
Developer: Red Thread Games
Platform: PC, (Xbox One & PS4 TBC)
Genre: Adventure, Story-rich, Mystery, Thriller
Price: £ Will update once known
This product was provided for free and this review will remain as spoiler free as possible however some details of the story may be alluded too.
What is it about?
Draugen is a tale of mystery set in a 1920’s Norweigen village on the edge of a Fjord. Edward Charles Harden and his ward Lissie have come to Graavik to search for Edward’s missing sister Betty. When they arrive at the town they discover a dark past to the picturesque village.
Together you must try and piece together the fate of not only your sister, but also the town itself as the more you explore the more questions you will start to have. Where are the people of Graavik? What happened in this little village?
Draugen is a slow paced game, you’re free to take your time on your journey, to take in the sights and explore the small village. Some might compare it to being a walking simulator but there is more to it than that, there are lots of objects to find and interact with that will build the story around you. Lissie will constantly chat with you offering you advice and conversation that will help guide you in your quest.
The game has a pretty constant state of tension, but this is not a horror game, or a game that is going to make you jump – although there might be the odd surprise here and there.
The tension of the story builds slowly through-out the game, little pieces of evidence and narrative are nicely drip fed to you, giving you enough time to ask yourself a lot of questions, but without being overwhelmed. Your relationship with Lissie develops nicely and the whole story is very well delivered from a performance point of view, the relationship feels real, it feels like there is history and compassion between the two of them.
In terms of gameplay elements the main and really only feature is a good system for dialogue and items where options conversation options, or thoughts will float around the items or people to help you choose you conversational path. Objects you can interact with are subtlety highlighted in rooms for you to investigate. Thank god for no glowing objects shimmering in the distance!
Just as the mystery starts to reach its crescendo, it all ends too quickly, there are too many unanswered questions for my liking. I don’t mind some ambiguity with a story especially if it’s a mystery. I just felt like one of the main twists was so easy to spot that I thought it was going to be a red herring and that the other part of the story relating to the village itself was going to be the real mystery, but it wasn’t it just ended and it felt strangely lacking.
I completed the story in a little over 2 hours and I don’t think I was rushing anything, as the resolution started to draw in I kept saying to myself “this can’t be the end?” and that there must be more to it as it felt a little too unfinished and unresolved for my liking.
I’m writing this pretty much 20 minutes after completing the game as I wanted it fresh in my head. Part of me can’t help but feel I missed something crucial or that maybe I rushed a part and skipped over something, but like I said, I didn’t rush the game that I know of.
Draugen is a wonderful looking game, it tells an interesting story that is backed up with some fantastic performances from the main characters, but I just felt like it was a little too ambitious for my tastes. It left me wanting more – which I guess you could argue is a good thing, but I wanted more of the story to feel wrapped up.
It’s honestly hard to put it in to words without spoiling it massively, but I was loving Draugen to start with, the story was engaging, the writing was excellent, the visuals are great and the performances were compelling, but the ending has just left me a little confused with it’s abruptness and unfinished business.
I guess the main question is would I still recommend you try the game and the answer is yes, providing you don’t mind it being short and a little open ended.