Farenheit PS2 Review

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under PS2, Retro Content, Retro Reviews

We aren’t huge advocates of innovation here at Console Obsession; therefore we don’t view it as an essential to making a good game, although when a game like Fahrenheit comes along we simply must bow at the feet of innovation. This is a game that is single handily attempting to reinvigorate a dying genre, and as an adventure game Fahrenheit is a huge success and a title that will hold many memories for gamers long after completion.

Fahrenheit is an intriguing story, which sees the pivotal lead character, Lucas Kane unwillingly commit a murder after being possessed by an unknown power. He later suffers from some strange visions and obviously wants to make sure he hasn’t gone totally loopy by getting to the bottom of it all. The story is also seen and played from the perspective of two detectives (Carla Valenti and Tyler Miles) who are investigating the bizarre murder; you also take control of Lucas’ priest brother Markus for some very brief spells. The plot has a powerful human element, thanks to a wonderful bunch of characters that are brought to life by some tremendous voice acting.

As soon as Lucas comes to his senses you soon realise that this is a game that doesn’t shy away from doing things a little differently from the norm. This is an action and adventure game rolled into one, but with that said it’s by no means a by-the-numbers action adventure. An easy comparison to make is every adventure you can care to think of, as well as Sega’s excellent Shenmue series for its QTE like sequences.

The game opens in the restaurant toilets where Lucas has committed the brutal murder, after coming too you are tasked with removing any evidence and escaping into the white winter night that awaits you outside. Interacting with objects is achieved by a simple directional push of the right analog stick, thus opening doors, picking up objects, conversing with other characters and examining things all have this unique control system in common. It’s such a simple, yet intelligent control method, which surprisingly hasn’t appeared in many other games to our knowledge.

In fact the whole control system doesn’t go beyond anything but intuitive, which makes playing the game a total joy. The QTE like sequences are utilised in everything from action to dreamlike scenes, and follow the traditional Dragon’s Lair and Shenmue alike onscreen prompts. The screen displays the necessary stick movements in a dual coloured pattern, which shows you exactly when to push the sticks. The action scenes in particular are amazingly well done thanks to fantastic motion-captured animations and direction that easily puts some movies to shame. Not to spoil any of the stuff of real importance, but the friendly boxing sequence between the two detectives is one of those gaming goodies that will be remembered for years to come.

The game uses a unique take on the health system, which measures the frame of mind of the character currently under your control. Certain events affect the mood of your character, beginning at neutral and through to the game-ending mood of “wrecked” causing your character to commit suicide or less dramatically retire from their job and the like. Tasks such as looking in a mirror with detective Tyler Miles or playing with a basketball in the office will restore his spirit, whilst things more central to the story such as a breakthrough in the police case or Lucas avoiding coming a cropper will yield similar results. It’s a wonderful idea on paper, and thankfully fully realised as an important gameplay element.

Fahrenheit isn’t perfection though; the stealth sections for starters were a totally unnecessary inclusion. The button bashing, which appears during some scenes, is another annoyance, especially if you complete one section and then have to continue on to even more button bashing in the next. Camera, control and lifespan issues also unsuccessfully attempt to ruin this special experience.

In spite of the flaws Fahrenheit is still a landmark moment in gaming, as it’s a title that tells a wonderful story and nails the “interactive movie” elements perfectly. We have fresh respect for developer, Quantic Dream and hope that their next game will be as equally memorable.

8/10

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