Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey Review | In the year 1888, London was mystified by The Ripper, who was also named Leather Apron. As a prolific serial killer who operated around Whitechapel, The Ripper was known for murdering and mutilating victims by extracting organs. This approach, however, introduces Arthurians Sir Lancelot Du Lac and his companion Morgana Le Fey in their dangerous and intriguing quest to stop one of history’s most infamous murderers from continuing their terrifying ordeal in Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey. Take on multiple character roles, learn information from different perspectives, explore the area, and use your resources and knowledge in order to work together and solve horrific crimes. Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey has been developed by Salix Games and published by Hidden Trap to put you right in the middle of the “Autumn of Terror”. Not only will you get to re-live the historically accurate and ghastly events but also see the story from another perspective. Continue reading below if you are interested in more in-depth points and my overall score.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series S | Review code provided by PR/publisher.
This review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Outstanding audio | The very first thing that impressed me tremendously was the quality of the audio in terms of sound effects, voiceovers, and music. I couldn’t fault any of these and it was an absolute pleasure to experience. With performances from leading actor Gareth David-Lloyd; actresses Perdita Weeks and Alexandra Roach, it was clear to me from the very beginning the narration would be outstanding. The background music changed throughout and gave the right tone for the circumstances I found myself in. I actually did stand around on multiple occasions just enjoying listening to the music. The sound effects were used appropriately, weren’t too abrupt, and fitted into their scenarios well to enhance the gameplay when required. Just an absolutely impeccable standard of audio the developers should be proud of.
- Optional side quests | Along your travels, there will be NPCs you can interact with who may have a secretive side quest hidden within their dialogue if you pay close enough attention. This gave me something else to keep in consideration as I progressed through the chapters because I would be mindful to talk to people to see if they had anything else I might be interested in. It takes you away from the main story temporarily if you wanted something else to focus your attention on or you can just plough through. The choice is yours but I liked having the option of side quests included. Plus, if you’re a completionist, you will have to complete all of these successfully for their linked achievements.
- Dialogue choices | Throughout the numerous conversations you will encounter in Dance of Death, there are dialogue choices which can determine how side quests play out and may even change the relationship between your main characters, making you always mindful as to how to answer or respond. It definitely deters people from spamming through the dialogue and had me interested with regard to how conversations would play out. It gave me some control over how the game progressed and allowed me to make decisions for the characters too which is never a bad thing as you can play the game however you see fit while having an impact on how the game progresses. A little more dialogue would’ve been great but I’m just happy I was able to have some impact based on my choices.
- General gameplay | The general idea behind Dance of Death is for you to investigate crime scenes and find new evidence that will take you to your next point of interest. The area is split into four main areas where you can talk to different people and enter buildings, thus progressing the story when you complete your primary objectives. There was lots of walking back and forth but it was to be expected with the crimes happening within a precise area. There were not many frequent gameplay elements (combat, potion making, tarot card reading) to play about with but I was happy just following the story for the background it uncovered and the ending it reached.
- Playing multiple characters | First things first, you get to play as a dog. She is amongst the three characters you will control throughout your game – Du Lac, Fey, and Mary. All have their own personalities; I had my preferences. They also have the ability to talk to certain NPCs that other characters may be unable to so they have their unique value and uses. It splits up the gameplay in each chapter and provides us with a change of perspective which is always welcome. However, even though the game title is Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey, I feel I played more of Mary with Fey. Because of this, I will comment on the amount of ‘screentime’ each character got as I don’t think this was spread out accordingly in regard to how important the characters were.
- Interesting story perspective | Dance of Death takes the story of ‘The Ripper’ on a mystical adventure, adding arcane, spellcasting, and immortal people into the mix. It certainly took a different approach to that of real-life events and for a video game, I can understand why you might be a little more creative with the direction of writing. Although at first, I thought the idea had some potential, I quickly changed my mind due to the poor execution of the characters and the lack of seriousness of what was happening; the qualities just didn’t match up. In my opinion, the game focused more on a light-hearted version which focused more on amusement and with a terror such as ‘The Ripper’ being told, this just wasn’t acceptable. I can appreciate the developers tried taking this in another direction but it was just not suitable. This could have been a masterpiece but missed the mark dramatically.
- Visual quality | I’m very split when it comes to the visuals in Dance of Death. The settings and backgrounds look gorgeous and use a freehand painting style which really shows off an incredible artistic visualisation to appreciate every scene. Just like the soundtrack, I found myself wandering around just admiring the environment quite frequently. All the buildings, streets, and smaller details amazed me. Even though most of the colouring looked washed out, with subtle hints of colour thrown in, this was perfect for the time period. However, on the flip side, the appearance of the characters was too goofy and bland for my liking. They lacked detail and looked rough, almost like they were unfinished models and I couldn’t ignore that.
- Replayability | Due to dialogue choices affecting relationships and missable side quests/collectibles in Dance of Death, there is some replayability value. It isn’t possible to get all achievements in one playthrough meaning you will require a minimum of two full runs to get complete everything. More potential endings to increase the replayability factor would have been great but I understand why this probably wasn’t possible. I think there could have been specific side quests that made you decide between one or the other to split up playthroughs further. I just felt like something more was needed as I would have loved more of a reason to replay the game, again and again.
- Frequent autosave | Noticeably, there is no manual save or indication as to when the game is autosaving but you certainly don’t need to fear infrequent saves. If anything, the game autosaves too often for my liking. After every conversation, I found myself unable to reload my game and do something different. This was annoying when I accidentally made the wrong dialogue choice or thought I’d missed something important because it was impossible to go back without starting a new game. Yes, there is also no chapter selection or separate save slots so if you should happen to miss anything, you’ll have to play through the game up to the same point again and pray you don’t make the same mistake again.
What we Disliked
- Visual bugs | Dance of Death had its fair share of visual bugs which I, unfortunately, experienced on multiple playthroughs. One involved a stuttering background in the church that was unpleasant to witness. Another caused black pixelated blob-like shapes to appear on my characters during a specific cutscene that took away all detail that would be underneath. Finally, there were cutscenes where characters should have been visualised when speaking but instead all I got was the background of the scene. These weren’t the end of the world in terms of gameplay but I don’t think anyone wants to see these in any game they come across and I’m no different.
- Game length | Although there are ten chapters, including the prologue and epilogue, my first playthrough only took me just under six hours to complete. This also included me taking my time to explore and speak to NPCs at regular intervals. I just think Dance of Death finished quicker than I would have hoped for and the chapters were longer, adding more detail to the events or exploration needed to progress. Everything happened too quickly and there was barely any challenge involved. More complex mini-games, more detective work, more paths to explore – more of anything really to add to the overall length and enjoyment I was having.
- Clunky movement | My characters just wouldn’t go where I wanted them to go, especially if the camera angle changed. It threw off all sense of direction and frustrated me more than I would have ever imagined. Not only did they struggle to follow where I wanted them to go but the input lag when turning around was absolutely appalling. The movement was clumsy and infuriating which did affect the fun factor for me and had me rolling my eyes more times than I could keep count of. I think this could have transitioned far smoother if more attention was focused on the end product to avoid any unnecessary frustration. It should have felt fluid – not stop, turn, and walk.
How long to beat the story | Approximately 6 Hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Approximately 10-12 Hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Book of Unwritten Tales 2, Sherlock Holmes, Rainswept
If you’re open-minded and enjoy stories with a twist, you may just find what you’re looking for in Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey. Using a real-life story to base your story on while including unique elements was a bold move from the developers but for me, it didn’t pay off. The audio is spectacular and the story has potential to grow into something more but I just wasn’t happy with the final product of this story in particular. Yes,I got to re-live the events of the past with ‘The Ripper’ but not in the tense and horrific setting I expected; a far more light-hearted approach which I whole-heartedly disagree with. Tonnes of potential with good points that shine but with no clear sense of direction.
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Hello, I’m Victoria. I’m from the UK and have been playing video games for as long as I can remember; back on DreamCast. I’ve pretty much fallen for Xbox since I was around eight years old and remember BioShock being my first game on the Xbox360. Although I find it thoroughly enjoyable to not only experience gameplay, I also find comfort in getting lost and engrossed in the online worlds that sometimes differ greatly from what we know. Another side of my Xbox passion would be achievement hunting and gamerscore. I thrive when I hear the little sound of one popping up on the screen and I’m always finding ways to work on my backlog when possible. Horror is my favourite genre so if you have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to send them my way!