That Dragon, Cancer (2016) Review
That Dragon, Cancer is an extremely personal and, at times, deeply moving videogame. I really do applaud the bravery of the Green family, who have chosen to share such an intimate and tragic part of their lives. They, and the rest of the Numinous Games team, have created a game with such overwhelming emotional moments that forces even the biggest of cynics to feel something at their very core. This, quite frankly, is an incredible achievement for any piece of art.
Unfortunately, there are times were this connection is ripped from the player due to frustrating control issues and design choices that just feel ‘off’. The prime examples of this are the kart racing and church scenes, which simply break the intense immersion that is otherwise prevalent and make the experience feel unpolished. Thankfully the frank sincerity with which the Green’s tell their story is so touching that these minority of disconnecting points do not become a burden.
Players’ reactions to That Dragon, Cancer may vary depending on their opinions and outlook on life. For instance, I struggled to feel as empathetic as I could have done at points due to the discussion of the family’s religious beliefs. This isn’t a slight against the game, it is simply a part of their story and just one of several elements of it that are ripe for post-play conversation. Couple this push for discourse with the emotional impact provided, and you get an experience that players will be thinking about long after the credits roll.