|Release Date:||September 16, 2005|
|Reviewer:||Ryan Sayce (Stan)|
|Buy now at Amazon.co.uk|
I've been looking forward to Fahrenheit ever since I played the demo, it blew me and quite a few other people away. It has also stirred up quite a lot of controversy, with some newspapers calling for it to be banned. I really need to vent here, that's just stupid as it has an adult rating and bar the odd bit of CGI nudity and occasional violence it's really quite tame by modern movie standards, it is far less violent than a lot of games I've played.
I have to say it’s kind of ironic, in the game they have a news article about every man's right to bear arms but not the right to play violent video games. I won’t be going any further into storylines as it's really one of the highlights and I don’t want to give anything away.
The most striking thing about the graphics in Fahrenheit is just how much they remind you of watching a film, let me elaborate, they have given the game a large amount of grain, this then gives the game a film noir type atmosphere.
Quantic Dream clearly spent a large amount of time and effort into getting the motion capture just right, the characters all move in a realistic manner. Sadly, because this game was created for consoles as well as a PC, it doesn’t really break any graphical boundaries; the character models are well done but still lack the extra details we PC gamers are used too. This is not to say that this is a bad looking game, infact the dark and moody style further enhance the immersion.
Fahrenheit doesn’t require a powerful system to run on, even on my old system I found that the frames per second very rarely dropped below 100, with all the detail on max, I guess we can thank the console users for the low system requirements this game has. Fahrenheit 2 on PC and Next gen consoles, hmm, that would be nice.
Right from the start you can tell a lot of attention has gone into the sound system, be it from subtle ambient sound effects, to the fantastic musical score and voice acting. Let’s look at the voice acting in a little more detail, for the most part it's fantastic with only the odd dodgy accent or line. They cast some very good voice actors and it really does pay off, they give real feel and life to the characters they voice, impressive stuff. One of my favorite musical moments in the game is when Tyler [one of the characters you play as] is having a romantic evening with his girlfriend and you put on a Barry white song, it just fits the mood of the scene so perfectly as does most of the music in this game. My only real trouble with the sound is that once or twice, the music could overshadow the voices but this is easily solved by turning down the music levels in the menu.
While I have been sitting in my chair writing this review, the main question that keeps going through my mind is how can I classify this game, to tell you the truth I still don’t know. The closest thing I can think of is an inter-active movie, but don't worry it's NOT Enter the Matrix revisited, This is a really good game. In many ways it just goes out of it's way to try and be as much like playing in a film as possible. For the most part, it succeeds very well indeed.
Fahrenheit takes a lot of its inspiration from films in my opinion, from the Matrix like fight scenes at the end of the game or the angry police captain shouting at his detectives. They even reference many films during the course of the game, including Silence of the Lambs, Terminator, The Fugitive, and of course Matrix as well as others. It has such a film feel to it you find it just draws you in and you don’t stop till you complete it, sadly this leads to one of the few problems with this game, its just too damn short, I wanted more damn it! I managed to complete it in about 6 or 7 hours gameplay time, yes, you can replay it a number of different ways but it still leaves you wishing it lasted longer.
You play 3 main characters, as well as a few others you control for a short period. There is Lucas Kane, the main character, who at the very start of the game kills a man in a toilet in a small diner, while a policeman sits outside at the counter, Carla Valenti, the NYPD detective in charge of the murder at the diner, and her partner Tyler Miles. All the characters in this game look distinctive and different, with the main characters standing out as feeling some of the most life like characters I have seen in a multi platform release.
This game introduces something called a mental health bar, the lower this bar the more people suspect you and the more you freak out. You can raise your mental health level by doing well in the beat style games and by doing good things, like saving a child that has fallen into a frozen lake, as well as doing things correctly. However, if you do badly in the beat games or do things like run out covered in blood, this can lower your mental health meter and make you freak out even more. While this is a nice feature, it doesn’t really add that much to the game, if you are playing as Lucas, letting your sanity meter drop all the way down results in you ending up in a psychiatric home.
Fahrenheit uses a different style of controls to most games, you still walk around with the cursor keys [or in my case wasd] but instead of the backwards key making you walk backwards, it turns you in a 180°, which can be a little annoying. The mouse is used in a really intuitive way, instead of being a point and click game, you use your mouse to create movements to match the ones at top of the screen, each one having a different question, answer, or action assigned to it. When just walking around an area, instead of clicking on items you walk up to them and the icon appears at the top of the screen, once again you just move your mouse in the same pattern to perform the action. During conversations or action sequences sometimes a GET READY message will appear on your screen, this indicates a beat style game is about to happen where you have to quickly match your input to the icons on screen, very much like the Dance Dance Revolution games. This can be great fun and can tell you what people are thinking during conversations, the trouble is with this and the button bashing style action sequences it can leave you missing what is going on.
Frequently Fahrenheit uses split screens very much like the ones seen in television show 24, this really is a fantastic feature in a game as it means you can see a cop slowly approaching the door to the toilet where you are standing over a dead body with a knife in your hands, and just really adds to the tension.
I really like Fahrenheit a lot, it isn’t perfect and has some small problems. Yes it’s very short, but during the small amount of time it takes you to complete it, Fahrenheit manages to just draw you in totally to its universe and characters. The button bashing parts and beat style games do draw you in most of the time and this can cause you to miss some great scenes due to having to concentrate on the quite tricky parts. It is also quite difficult to quickly switch between the keys needed during a battle as it doesn’t give you a lot of notice. The same could be said of the options you get during a conversation as you really have very little time to make a decision on which one you want to go with, while this certainly adds a massive level of tension, it can also mean you don’t have time to think about which option you want. I guess really this just adds further to the level of realism in the game. The acting and motion capture really are first rate as is the script, atmosphere, characters and environments. So the real question is now would I recommend you to purchase it, yes I most definitley would as long as you are an adult and don’t mind it being a little short. You will be hard pressed to find a more involving 7 hours of gameplay.
- Stunning characters
- Involving gameplay
- Fantastic voice acting and music
- Split screen’s 24 style
- Good plot and script
- Feels like a movie
- Film noir style Graphics
- Doesn’t need a high spec computer
- Inventive use of the mouse
Not so good stuff
- Bit short
- Button bashing can get irritating
- Occasional clipping issue
- The story got a bit silly towards the end
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