That Dragon, Cancer Reviews
Make no mistake: The game is a bruising experience. It fully commits to sharing a hard, unsentimental exploration of what it means to watch your child suffer, and ultimately succumb to illness. That Dragon, Cancer is smart about presenting that tragedy through a series of stylistically disparate interactions to prevent itself from becoming dull or numbing.
That Dragon, Cancer is a beautiful experience, if one that would have benefited considerably from having content cut to improve the flow, pacing and tone.
An understandably personal work, That Dragon, Cancer's sentimental excesses place a minor dent in a powerful, brave game.
The minimalistic approach and slow pace That Dragon, Cancer takes won't appeal to everyone, but it does contain some fiercely moving moments and a very unique overall experience.
That Dragon, Cancer is a family's beautiful tribute to faith, loss, and love
That Dragon, Cancer is an emotional powerhouse that doesn't hold anything back; it's a hard game to get through with dry eyes. Narratively it will please those who are looking for a game that allows the player to explore a game world, linear as it is, that merges together perfectly with the game design.
[Note: This review contains spoilers] I've been wondering when a game would make me cry, and that changed over the weekend. A few games have made me teary eyed, but that's about it. That Dragon, Cancer not only made me weep, but I had to stop playing it a few times.
That Dragon, Cancer is the best of games. It reveals to us what it means to be a fellow human being finding the strength to survive terrible circumstances. It shares through words, pictures, sounds and actions. The actions give us a sense of the pain of others. They show, rather than tell. This story is unique in that it tackles the most dreaded of human experiences in the form of a video game. If you play this game, it may change you.
Amy and Ryan Green's autobiographical work deals with their son's terminal illness, and it's one of the hardest things to which I've ever borne witness in a game
The emotional core of That Dragon, Cancer is real—so real, in fact, and so personal, that I ended up feeling like an outsider looking in. I pitied the Greens for having to endure this awful series of events, but I did not come away feeling connected to their experience, or enlightened by it. This was not because the game tried but failed to connect with me, but because it didn't.
A very brave attempt to use video games to inspire empathy and share grief over one of the most sensitive subjects imaginable.
So, from a subjective standpoint, I would argue that, despite not being a great product, That Dragon, Cancer is still very good at what it does – forging a link with its audience and delivering a love-filled, mercilessly sad, story. It's being sold as a product, it should be criticized for that, but it should also be praised for the things it does so very well.
Like inventing and describing a new color, That Dragon, Cancer tries to describe something indescribable, and does an admirable job of it.
That Dragon, Cancer is an important game because it tries, but not because it succeeds.
Although perceptibly divisive in execution and theme, it becomes difficult to imagine an individual that would experience That Dragon, Cancer and not feel richer and better off for having been immersed in its bittersweet storytelling as the end credits roll. While some might be understandably put off by the slim pickings of traditional genre fare on offer here, That Dragon, Cancer staunchly remains as an experience that everybody should let into their lives regardless.
Heartbreaking, painful, and important.
That Dragon, Cancer is a difficult thing to approach. It is barely meant to be fun. It is dark and occasionally deeply disturbing, but that's because it has to be. It is also full of hope and love.
With the emotionally draining effect that That Dragon, Cancer will have on you in mind, I'd still implore you to play it. If only to further understand the harm that cancer brings, not only to those diagnosed with the disease, but to their family and loved ones too.
That Dragon, Cancer is a game that you will lose. You will not beat it. You don't win. Even This War of Mine has "winning" conditions. It is so fitting that this is a game, not a movie. From the jilting scene transitions to selective interactions, the dioramic games within the game to the increased level of abstraction and perspective changes, the mode of storytelling works. But it mostly excels at being a lesson that as much as you can "game-ify" elements of life, you will be confronted with perma-death—real death.
That Dragon, Cancer tells a valuable story despite its uneven delivery.