Ten Dates PS4 Review. Wales Interactive follows up its online video dating game Five Dates with a trip out into the big bad world to find love. Find out if this is a bad romance in PlayStation Universe’s Ten Dates review.
Five Dates very much felt like a product of the peak COVID times, and that’s mostly because it arrived mere months into it. Wales Interactive’s continuing voyage into the realms of FMV games hit paydirt with an endearingly cheesy and cheeky live-action video dating adventure. So it makes sense to return to the well, but how best to do that?
Ten Dates Review (PS4) Review – Interactive Speed Dating Story Strikes For the Heart
Straight Through The Heart
The answer is Ten Dates, a sequel that leaves the confines of bedrooms and cameras for the world of in-person speed dating. Wales Interactive has labeled it an ‘interactive rom-com’ and while there’s a bit of that to it, I’d liken it more to an interactive reality dating show. Though thankfully it’s nowhere near as galling as that sounds.
It has a plot of sorts. A young woman called Misha ropes her friend Ryan into a speed dating event in the hopes of them both finding someone. Each of them has five potential suitors with wildly different personalities, interests, and ice-breaker conversations that can lead down some interesting paths.
It’s fair to say this concept would live or die on two things. One is how into a reality show-style rom-com you are, and the other is how likeable the leads are. While the first is very much a matter of taste and willingness to be open to an experience, the second is no problem because, in Misha and Ryan, you get two endearing protagonists that leave just enough space to become avatars for the person controlling their actions. Their dates though? Well, understandably, they’re a mixed bag.
The first date Ryan goes on is with a woman who quickly goes into web3 chat and that was a bit of a bummer in the overall context of the conversation that I had with her because it was a generally nice bit of back and forth that wasn’t about being a horndog looking to score, but rather about finding what makes a person tick and being surprised by the makeup of their personality.
See, this is what really knocked me off-kilter about Ten Dates. Five Dates is pretty hokey in its stereotypes at times, but here there’s a bit more nuance. I’m not saying it’s up there with the complexity and subtleties of the relationships in films like Punch Drunk Love or The Apartment, but for where expectations were set, it’s a far more engaging experience than the facade would have you believe.
The glossy presentation is a world away from the more (literally) homely charms of Five Dates, but it’s honestly a welcome departure. The rom-com aspect of Ten Dates is more readily apparent because of it, even if it isn’t really how it comes across overall. There are actors here that definitely make you do that ‘where have I seen them before’ IMDB search, and with good cause as there’s talent from film, TV, and video games such as Death on the Nile, Outlander, The Witcher, Until Dawn, and I May Destroy You.
As much as I appreciate the whole shared screen style of Five Dates, Ten Dates’ shifts away from that are exactly what a sequel needed to do. In relative terms, there’s ambition and progress on display here, and that’s commendable when the easy option was there, and you could forgive Wales Interactive for taking it.
A key asset of Ten Dates’ dating is the real-time updates to relationships that let you know where you stand within each potential future partnership. This is where variety really comes into the otherwise scripted story. More than most of Wales Interactive’s back catalog of live-action titles, Ten Dates gives a sense of control over where to take the story for its protagonists. Replayability is a real factor here because as I mentioned before, even the people with the most dubious hobbies and ideals can have redeeming qualities that aren’t readily apparent in the early going. It’s a refreshing approach to gaming romance, to be honest. Not every option should be black and white choices.
While this isn’t a feature I could experience myself given the prerelease nature of the game when I played it, I commenced the fact Wales Interactive understood the social appeal of Five Dates (watch Limmy’s videos playing the game for the optimal experience) and have ensured it’s a key feature of Ten Dates. There’s a Streamer mode that allows decisions to be halted for audience participation. The game is absolutely an improvement on its predecessor, but having this should really help Ten Dates soar in spaces such as Twitch.
Look, Five Dates is something of a guilty pleasure to me, but I feel no shame in writing that Ten Dates is genuinely a good time. Don’t try and affix lofty ambitions and ideals to it because it’s simply not that kind of experience. It’s absolutely a superior sequel and manages this without caving into the lowest common denominator.
Ten Dates is available today on PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Review code kindly provided by publisher.