Ragnar Tornquist gave us The Longest Journey and its follow ups, and
now he brings us Draugen, a self-proclaimed “first-person,
single-player psychological Fjord Noir mystery, set on the northwestern
coast of Norway in 1923”.
The central character is Edward Charles Harden, an American from
Hanover, Massachusetts who has travelled to the isolated village of
Graavik to search for his missing sister Elizabeth (aka Betty). He is
accompanied by Lissie (aka Alice), his gregarious young ward. The lack
of a ferry to bring them to the village, requiring Edward (aka Teddy) to
row them both in a small boat, is immediately less strange than the
apparent lack of people. The villagers must be somewhere, and Edward and
Lissie set out up the hill to seek them out.
The tales that follow involve loss, grief, delusion and perhaps hope.
Also faith, or its absence; “God is not here”, says a sign on a
boarded up church. One tale concerns Edward and his search for Betty,
the other what has happened in the village. Both unfold together, and
neither is neatly tied up. Which isn’t a criticism, just an
It is probably worth stating early on that this is only just a game.
Puzzling is almost non-existent, and what small amount there is is
extremely gentle. You find two or three objects, locate one or two
pieces of important information, and having them will be enough (e.g.
Edward will use the door key once he has it). You will never not know
where to go next, or even how to get there, and often you will be
following Lissie, who can be found by calling out to her. This generates
a visible pulse which you then head towards. Items of interest in the
game world will have a small white circle indicating they are indeed
interesting. Approaching close enough will generate a word, or perhaps
more than one, indicating an available action or perhaps offering a
choice of ponderings or response or what to do next.
To me, Draugen was more an interactive story, no less enjoyable but
worth being aware of.
Graavik looks a treat, and its well worth pausing to look at, perhaps
even to sketch, the vistas that exist. Character modelling was almost as
good, and the textures and details in the hands in particular warrant
mentioning (if only because I couldn’t help but be impressed each time
I saw them in close up).
Edward is well voiced, Lissie a little less so. Her turn of phrase
(old bean, old sport, etc.) is also overdone and can be jarring. She is
though an effective counterpoint to Edward’s broodiness, either
indirectly through positive encouragement or more directly by
The mood is, overall, somewhat sombre and at times foreboding. The
score does an excellent job of keeping it there, but is not always
present, which is another good thing. Not everything has to be musically
accompanied, and the sounds of the environment are more than sufficient
input for the ears.
The twist mid game had crossed my mind as a possibility, so it wasn’t
a surprise, but I was happy with how it unfolded. It had done enough to
have me wondering but not so much that I was convinced in advance. Which
grounded the development far more than a complete “left turn”. It
was reflective of the strength of the writing and the telling of the
Played in the first person, you move around Graavik using the WASD
keys and steering with the mouse. You have complete freedom of movement
and can look all around and in every plane by panning with the mouse.
It's the most natural and real interface and always my favourite. Left
click interacts with the world, and a small number of mappable keys
perform other actions (e.g. open journal, call for Lissie).
Most of Graavik will be available to you from the start, although two
locations only open up later in the game. However there is plenty to
admire and explore from the beginning, and while a few hours will likely
see you through, you might easily spend another couple going more
sedately, unrushed and unhurried.
The game concludes promising more of Edward and Lissie, and I for one
will be back.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz