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Ten Dates Review

The Twix version of Five Dates

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What was once a rather niche and dormant genre has returned back to within striking distance of mainstream audiences in recent years. Full Motion Video games let players watch real pre-recorded video clips with decent actors, and play along to change the narrative and watch new clips, usually in the form of making choices. While the FMV games have become more frequent in recent years, only a handful of studios have attempted to dip their toes in the genre – but not so for Wales Interactive, who dove right in. From Sci-Fi adventures to Battle Royale, they have been releasing FMV games yearly, with the latest being Ten Dates. As the title may suggest, this sequel to Five Dates has players navigate their way through a series of potential romantic matches.

Ten Dates game

The game stars Ryan and Misha, two good friends living in London in their late 20s. Misha decides that she wants to try something new and attends a speed dating event – she asks Ryan to come along for support, but also reveals that she signed him up to participate. Across a series of five first-dates for both characters, they will try to find a connection with others at the event.

At the outset, players choose if they want to play as Misha or Ryan, briefly setup their profile by selecting a photo, career, and some general areas of interest. It's somewhat odd that players need to do this, given that they are going to an offline organized dating event – but the game does use these choices to occasionally slightly alter some dialogue. You then go on a series of very quick first-round dates, with five possible matches (five different folks for each of the two characters, thus totalling ten). During these video clip conversations, you'll occasionally make dialogue choices that dictates how the interaction will go. If the other person likes your company, you can setup a second date, and eventually a third and final one.

With Five Dates cleverly staging the dating scene during the COVID pandemic and its video conference calls, Ten Dates brings things back to a more traditional face-to-face setting. This allows the actors to really shine – most of the cast has either good or great chemistry, and you definitely want to find success with some of the suitors. The cast includes Rosie Day (Outlander), Charlie Maher (Conversations with Friends), Meaghan Martin (Until Dawn), Sagar Radia (Industry), Sam Buchanan (The Power), Kaine Zajaz (The Witcher), Ellie James (I May Destroy You), and Rhiannon Clements (Death On The Nile). The dialogue flows excellently and mostly naturally, and you genuinely believe that these could be real interactions. There is some problem with repetition however, as you're mostly playing question and answer for all of these interactions to get to know each other better – and anytime the conversation starts to flow, it's either scripted or acts as a point of fast-forward transition to the next series of Q&A's. The third meetings then all have some kind of minor dramatic revelation.

Ten Dates game

While the actors and the dialogue are well delivered, genre experts Wales Interactive leave a bit to be desired with the quality of the sets and their immersiveness. The dates take place at a few different bars, but there are just 3-4 locations in all, and they do not feel very realistic. Each scene just looks a bit artificial, with little to no background noise and few other people, and the dialogue sounds very much like it was done on a stage with clear voices and the types of echo that you'd get out of an empty room. The main menu music theme is pretty good, however.

The setup is simple and straightforward, and is quite similar to the predecessor Five Dates. This means that unfortunately, many of the shortcomings in the structure also return. After your first meetings with the five possible companions, you are only able to select two for a second date, even if you hit it off with all of them. Then, for the final third date, you can only pick one character. This artificially forces you to replay the game multiple times, and it loses some of its magic. On replay, you can at least pick who you want to try again with, and not have to sit through all five initial dates again. You can also fast-forward if you already know the "correct" responses to pick. This is certainly not a game where you try to be yourself, as in a date simulation – it's an adventure game where you are just guiding two heroes to success, and their paths are fairly well-defined and there are wrong turns.

Other aspects that gamify this otherwise charming narrative are found on the stats screen, where you can see an artificial rating on how others perceive your personality, how many scenes you've seen with each cast member, and what special objectives can be completed (which act as a spoiler in a way). You are also always timed on your dialogue choices, and the timer is often late for you to hear the full context of the question and make a good decision in time.

Ten Dates game

While the dates themselves can be engaging, the outcomes are predictable. Intentionally or otherwise, the game does a good job representing the general contrasts in the experience for the genders. As Ryan, you must agree with everything and basically walk on eggshells, as challenging the women's opinions almost always results in a negative outcome and likely dismissal. Misha, meanwhile, just needs to be nice and is free to lead into even raunchy subjects, while having to deal with some nice but occasionally strange men who torpedo their own potential.

Even as you make it to the third date, the conclusion is often unrewarding – you get a basic text screen and a photo of the couple. It's also possible to fail and have no options for your second or third date. In all, despite there being twice as many dates and runtime as its predecessor, it doesn't result in a more satisfying or longer experience for any single path. It still takes about one hour to successfully date through a single character; but Ryan's and Misha's stories are entirely disconnected. So in reality, it's just two new versions of Five Dates, stapled together. The game would have benefitted, as very cliché as it is, from having an option for Misha and Ryan just realizing they could be a great match for each other – that would at least be more in line with the game's description of being a romantic comedy, which it really isn't. There are some funny moments, but they are usually tied to negative outcomes, like arguing with your date about something.

With the amount of good chemistry between some of the actors, it's certainly a bit disappointing that the dates are not more numerous or longer in duration for a single playthrough. Also, the earlier mentioned scene count for each person you are dating is a bit inflated – what the game considers to be an entirely new scene can be just a few seconds of new dialogue followed by the same video you've already seen. And speaking of the clips – while they flow well and there's not many jarring cuts and transitions, there are some inconsistencies; certain clips have notably different volume levels, contrast, and there are some minor typos in the subtitles.

Ten Dates game

If you enjoy the reality TV show called First Dates and its spinoffs, and if you liked the predecessor Five Dates, then Ten Dates is an enjoyable and charming enough series of conversations. The natural dialogue and chemistry between the actors shines through, even if they are given limited amount of screen time to work with. The short run time of the two individual storylines and artificial gaming elements that encourage multiple playthroughs removes some of the magic, along with sets that feel a bit too much like sound stages. Ten Dates expands the breadth of the formula, but not the depth, which improves its value for money but not so much the player engagement.

Our ratings for Ten Dates on PC out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
Presentation
70
The clips are of decent quality, through there are occasional blemishes and the sets are limited in number.
Gameplay
60
It's not really a dating simulation in the sense that you can try to be yourself. There is a clear path to success, and there are right and wrong answers, so the game becomes a puzzle, and loses some of its charm.
Single Player
75
The cast and dialogue are charming, but the relatively brief three-date limit and having no crossover between the two main characters leaves the game feeling like two copies of Five Dates stapled together.
Multiplayer
NR
None
Performance
(Show PC Specs)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5700X
GPU: AMD 6700 XT 12GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
PC Specs

90
Should run well on most setups, as these are just video clips.
Overall
65
Ten Dates features a solid cast with occasionally great chemistry and believable dialogue, but it misses the opportunity to improve on its predecessor, with a rigid structure and unsatisfyingly short runtime split between two standalone character paths.
Comments
Ten Dates
Ten Dates box art Platform:
PC
Our Review of Ten Dates
65%
Adequate
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Ten Dates is ranked #1487 out of 1983 total reviewed games. It is ranked #69 out of 101 games reviewed in 2023.
1487. Ten Dates
1488. Harmony: The Fall of Reverie
Xbox Series X
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Screenshots

Ten Dates
10 images added Feb 13, 2023 19:26
Videos
Ten Dates - Announcement Trailer
Posted: Feb 6, 2023 22:50
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