- Developer: Media Molecule
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Platforms: PS4
- Price: $39.99
- Release Date: February 14th, 2020
- Date reviewed: February 12th, 2020
- Reviewed on: PS4 Pro
- Review copy provided: No
Once a generation we see a revolutionary title join the scene that spawns a creative Renaissance. For the 2000s, it was Minecraft. Xbox Game Studios’ sandbox adventure brought the magic touch for brand new creations. For this generation, it’s Dreams, and it takes that to the next level tenfold. Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Media Molecule has had a rough start with Dreams. The game launched in Early Access after constant delays year after year after year. Finally, we got our hands on it and the user experience for the full release is incredible.
Dreams let’s your juices flow (pause) in various, fabulous, and unspoken ways. Let me break that down for you, picture a caterpillar, right. It goes into a cocoon and blossoms into a gorgeous butterfly. That’s essentially how this game turned out. It was a just an engine and with it entering it’s cocoon stage (Early Access), it is now a fantastic, unbelievable experience.
There’s multiple ways to jump into Dreams; Art’s Story – which is completely hand crafted by Media Molecule, Dream Surfing to see what your fellow gamers created, and finally the ability to make your own dream. Art’s Dream kicks off the game, it’s Media Molecule’s “story mode” for the time being that showcases a load of incredible things that are possible to make, but it’s only around 2 hours long. That’s fine as the main focus is users and what they want, but it’s really fantastic to have a narrative made by the crazy madlads themselves. It centers around Art, a jazz musician that fought with his band mates. It’s truly a touching tale…
Diving into user creations, Jesus Christ, this is insane with the stuff people have manifested. There’s tons of exciting titles like platformers, shooters, and even recreations plus spiritual successors of existing properties. For example, a Dreamer made a brand new LittleBigPlanet game inside Dreams itself that is actually, like, legit. It was a fully working title that Media Molecule or Sumo Digital could’ve made.
Onto creating anything you essentially want, it’s insane what can be achieved. Either a DualShock 4 or 2 PlayStation Move controllers can be equipped to make whatever you set your mind to, which is a nice option to have even without VR as not many PS4 titles support Move period. You’re able to sculpt textures, use any color under the sun, and even record your own music for the soundtrack to levels. The amount of freedom that is present is by far the most impressive work I’ve seen from any engine to date. I made a castle as a proof of concept and after about 3 hours it was done. A full scale “Game of Thrones” type building that I was quite happy with myself for making. No other game, even Minecraft, can match this feeling of accomplishment since you aren’t using blocks or pre-made (although you can) objects, everything is fully under your control.
Media Molecule has made a point to interact with the community to see what the players are making and give them tips and suggest new ways around certain constraints, oftentimes this isn’t seen in other titles that developers want you to show off your creations, likely since they aren’t as robust and complex as these. Just the overall love and support they give dreamers is so appreciated and couldn’t be understated. They’ve helped make player levels more enjoyable then what they already were and that is truly appreciated.
Performance and resolution are actually surprisingly solid, even when pushing demanding levels. My PS4 Pro did sound like a jet about to take off, but the framerate was generally buttery smooth or the resolution was razer sharp depending on the type of creation was at hand. I’m going to want 60fps for shooters but adventure titles that push the visual boundaries of the game, I’d like a high resolution image. Pixel counts aren’t confirmed, so I don’t want to specifically say it’s 4K because it doesn’t look THAT sharp but it is definitely an improvement over 1080p.
Downsides do exist in a title like this though – VR isn’t available just yet, which given it was initially promised to gamers on launch, having it delayed does hinder the experience at the end of the day. This was something that I personally really wanted that now I can’t enjoy at anytime I’d please. Furthermore, creation isn’t exactly easy unless you spend hours on end learning the controls. It’s not pick up and play in any shape or form. The average Joe might want to participate in the sculpting Olympics but realistically speaking you’re going to get frustrated and swear and piss and moan about your inability to adapt to the scheme instantly, however give it time and you’ll appreciate everything Dreams has to offer.
Dreams, under a creative mind, is a perfect tool to let your imagination run wild and paint a picture for all to see. While downfalls are present, there is nothing in gaming history that can come close for the masses to make whatever they want. After countless years of delays due to development restarting, the developers nearly decade trip into creative freedom has paid off in every aspect possible despite the initial skepticism seen by the gaming world.
Dreams – 9.5/10
Thank you to all the creators that made the creations used for images in this review. 🙂