Almost four years after it released on PC, Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey is finally available on consoles this week.
Don’t get too excited about it, though. Despite the four year wait, it seems many of the issues that people complained about when Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey launched on PC are still present. It’s clunky to control, your characters move at a painfully slow pace, and it generally lacks an important layer of polish. It really is a shame that developer Salix Games didn’t use the last four years to tighten the experience, because underneath the jank there are some great ideas.
The story really is key here. Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey is set in Victorian England, and has a narrative that marries – wait for it – Arthurian legend with Jack the Ripper. Your titular protagonists are actually Sir Lancelot and Morgana Le Fey, finding themselves on the dusty streets of London to investigate a spate of murderers. They won’t be working alone, either: they’ve got the help of Mary Kelly, infamously believed to be the last victim of Jack the Ripper.
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And so, you’ll likely be intrigued straight away by the plot at hand here in Du Lac & Fey. It’s let down only by its presentation. A point and click adventure game at heart, it takes a lot of cues from classics from the 90s. The problem is it often feels like it’s from that era, thanks to cumbersome controls. Simply moving your character around an environment is irksome, made worse by the fact that interactable objects are never highlighted. You’ll simply have to approach something and hope for the best.
Had the game’s movement been improved, with a simple option to highlight objects that can be interacted with, Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey might have been elevated to the next level. But since those issues haven’t been fixed between the PC and console versions, even despite how much time has passed, it seems foolish to hope for a patch or update.
Still, if you can put up with clunkiness, you undoubtedly will enjoy the story here. What helps is that Du Lac & Fey sports excellent voice acting, and a very colourful script filled with the sort of language you might expect from Victorian London’s underclasses. It’ll shock and delight you in equal measure. And we’re forgetting to mention a key detail here about one of the game’s main characters: Fey is a dog.
That’s right. Morgana Le Fey was, at some point, cursed and turned into a dog. A talking dog, that is. Du Lac can understand her perfectly, but to everyone else she’s simply a regular barking hound. But she does have one very neat trick up her sleeve – er, paw: she can communicate with animals.
From talking to the dog that think she’s the most beautiful animal he’s ever seen, to talking to a horse that might have witnessed a crime, chatting with the animals of Victorian London is a delight. Sure, they rarely have anything of real use to say, but that doesn’t matter. There aren’t enough games in the world that let us talk to dogs. And cats. And birds. And horses.
We’re not sure if it’s worth wholeheartedly recommending Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey for. But if you’re a seasoned point and click player, you’ll likely be able to overlook some of its issues. Do so, and you’ll find an engaging and original story, an intriguing setting – and some wonderful animals just desperate to talk to you.
Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey is available on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC.