Du Lac & Fey (PC) Review

The new adventure game coming from English-based studio Salix Games, Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey mixes Arthurian legends with historic details about Jack the Ripper and his victims. Although it’s a unique approach that should have guaranteed the success of the game, Dance of Death fails to reach a satisfactory standard.

It’s not every day that we get to play an adventure game that tells the story of Sir Lancelot and Morgana Le Fey intertwined with the thrilling tale of London’s most prolific serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Not to mention that the developer promises to shed light upon previously untold stories from the Victorian era and we have the main ingredients of a great game.

After a brief prologue where you’re introduced to two of the main characters and the controls scheme, the game teleports players to London in the late 1880s. Evidence obtained through magical means lead the immortal Sir Lancelot and Morgan Le Fey, the witch who’s been turned into a dog by Merlin after she contributed to the fall of Camelot, to London where they are searching for the great wizard.

The game suggests that it’s only by coincidence that Jack the Ripper’s killings start around the same time, but that sets the tone for what’s to come. Unfortunately, Dance of Death does so many mistakes that it’s hard to notice the powerful message it tries to deliver.

Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey screenshot

Interesting premise, bad execution

Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey is trying to tell the story of Jack the Ripper from the victims’ point of view, something that hasn’t been done before. Although it’s based on historically accurate events and crime scenes, everything else is fantasy. Besides Sir Lancelot and Morgan Le Fey, you’ll also get to play as Mary Jane Kelly, presumably the last of Jack the Ripper’s victim.

The first problem with Dance of Death is that it’s not a point-and-click adventure game, but a 100% narrative experience, which means there are no puzzles, there’s no inventory. Your characters go from A to B to talk to other NPCs and learn more about their case, and while that shouldn’t be a problem if done correctly, it literally becomes a chore after 1-2 hours of gameplay.

The movement is very, very slow even when using the so-called “run” action, not to mention that the pathfinding algorithm for characters is completely off. Having to cross the same locations over and over again crazily double clicking the left mouse button quickly becomes terribly annoying and disappointing.

Dance of Death is plagued by many technical issues, including missing characters in some scenes, faulty saving system (might have been fixed after a few patches), inaccurate lip-syncing, lack of NPC animations, and some other hilarious bugs.

Although the game starts quite slow, I’d have expected Dance of Death to go full throttle once I reach London, but all the non-sense of having to go X location to talk to someone just to advance in the game becomes a boring experience. All the characters in the game are clearly underdeveloped, even though there are some scenes where I felt developers wanted to create a deeper connection between the main characters and players.

Sadly, I didn’t feel attached by any of the characters and it’s not just because of the technical issues, but mostly due to the way the story is told. The few emotional scenes spread throughout the game seem rather artificial and totally off in regards with the way the story goes.

No puzzles, few mysteries to solve

Perhaps a more Sherlock-esque approach in which players would have been able to solve puzzles and reveal real mysteries at their own pace would have been a better formula for Dance of Death. As it stands, the only mystery in the game is the identity of Jack the Ripper and that’s also the only reason you’ll want to finish Dance of Death.

There’s one aspect that I haven’t been able to determine clearly and that’s because the story I’ve played made perfect sense. However, it appears that the narrative changes depending on what choices you make in some conversations, but I don’t think the outcome is different, just the journey to the end.

Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey screenshot

Also, since you won’t be using your brain at all to complete this game, the developers thought it would be nice to add two mini-games that would put your reflex skills and mind to the test. Surprisingly, Dance of Death features two combat scenes, which you’ll have to win by clicking at the right time to dodge, block or attach. The second mini-game concerns the making of a potion, which I totally didn’t understand, so I had to rely on trial and error.

The only place where Dance of Death really shines is voice acting, which is no surprise considering the main characters are voiced by Gareth David-Lloyd (Torchwood), Perdita Weeks (Penny Dreadful), and Alexandra Roach (Black Mirror).


The Good

  • Interesting story with a modern twist
  • Great voice acting
  • Nice artwork

The Bad

  • Many technical issues
  • Feels unfinished
  • Underdeveloped characters
  • No puzzles, few mysteries to solve
  • Too slow-paced for what it’s trying to do

Conclusion

I did sense that Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey is a labor of love, but the result is kind of disappointing. The main problem is that the game doesn’t feel like it’s been finished. There are lore and character info tabs in the menu which are blank, not to mention the many technical issues that were present at launch, including two game breaking bugs.

Also, there is no additional information in the journal about the NPCs you meet in the game, the main characters or the locations you visit, but there are placeholders for each of these aspects.

Besides the feeling that I’ve played an unfinished game, I also think that the “narrative adventure” isn’t the right formula for Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey. The game does benefit from a solid story, but the pacing is too slow and so uneventful that it becomes a boring experience.

Unfortunately, I can’t recommend Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey to anyone who wants to play a solid adventure game, but it’s definitely worth getting when it’s on sale.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY : FREELANCE WEB DESIGNER KUALA LUMPUR

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