Published May 25, 2010This preciously named game begins with the death of the man you call grandfather, the only other person you've ever known in your 15 years on Earth. Abandoned all alone in a desolate world ― armed with only a Wiimote-controlled flashlight and, at first, a bamboo stick ― you dig the old man a shallow grave and set off to find out what the hell happened to humanity and someone, anyone, who might keep you company during the dark days ahead.
This is accomplished by finding abandoned material objects, like long-lost shoes, that reveal the final memories of their former owners, and by meeting eccentric strangers (and one mysterious girl named Ren), all of whom ultimately only deepen your loneliness.
Though there is unsatisfying fighting, mostly against spectral ghosts and demons that haunt civilization's ruins, Fragile Dreams is only a survival horror game by proxy. Above all, it's an adventure game of exploration that takes you from silent subway stations and empty underground malls to abandoned hotels and dilapidated theme parks. It is the game's atmospheric intensity and mystery that keeps you playing through the bland combat and glacial pace.
Patience is a virtue not often associated with gamers and, accordingly, this arty, ultra-Japanese post-apocalyptic game will not be for all, what with its violence and gore largely replaced with sadness and melancholy. It is flawed and uneven, but also beautiful and poignant ― folks who take the time to putter around this lost landscape may find themselves moved. (Tri-Crescendo/Namco-Bandai/XSEED)