Fahrenheit Xbox Review
Don’t know what Fahrenheit is? Maybe you’re American? It’s called Indigo Prophecy over there, same game, different name. Maybe you’re European, or from Oceania, Fiji and Samoa or the Cook Islands, and you still don’t know what Fahrenheit is! Don’t be ashamed it’s not a game that a lot of people know about, but there is no doubt in my mind that a load of people should know what Fahrenheit is. Sending someone up a high mountain with a loudspeaker is perhaps the best way to inform the masses, but for now I will try, in about 1000 words, to describe why Fahrenheit should be respected.
To start with, I believe it is set to become one of the most underrated games of they year, which is an absolute shame as it is a game everyone should play. People always talk about wanting something new, people always talk about wanting companies to innovate. Well, here you go!
What is Fahrenheit? The storyline of Fahrenheit revolves around murder, mysticism and death as, for no apparent reason, ordinary people are randomly killing total strangers. There seems to be no link between the murderers, yet they all follow exactly the same ritual and pattern. Yes, a story like this has been told a million times, and yes, it does sound a tad uninspired but the style of the story does not really matter. It could be about magical adventures of Wanda the Wonder Sheep and it still wouldn’t make any difference. What makes Fahrenheit unique is the way the story is told and how the player plays a deep part in how it unfolds.
Lucas Kane becomes one of these murderers described above when he kills a stranger in the men’s room of a restaurant. Following this murder you control Lucas, and embark on a desperate bid to find out what’s happening to him. To tell any more of the story would ruin the game so I will try my best to shut up about plot elements and just describe how the game plays.
Fahrenheit uses something called a dynamic storytelling engine. Quantic Dream have described their new dynamic storytelling engine as a change for the adventure game genre as it turns a genre which is usually linear into something with the illusion of greater choice. The ending of the game will be the same no matter what you do, but the way you get to that end is up to you. Each scene in the game has multiple routes of completion and what you do in one chapter may affect what happens in another. The game controls are also a large step forward for the genre, as you have direct control of your character and you interact with objects by tilting the right analogue stick in a particular direction. This control works well in the game with only a few hiccups throughout.
Now on to the disappointing aspects of the game, which I must stress, don’t take away from the titles appeal but do get just a little annoying at times. First, the camera (which is the bane of many third-person games) can get a bit iffy during the course of the game. Second, the use of quick button presses during action scenes can sometimes be off-putting as it is not really suited to the game. However, those that played and enjoyed games like Shenmue and the recent Resident Evil 4 will not find this second flaw so annoying.
While not home to the sharpest graphics ever to grace the Xbox, Fahrenheit is still far from disappointing in the looks department. It may not be pushing too many polys, and it may not be pushing your Xbox to its limits, but gamers are not going to be disappointed. As I said, the game does not push thousands of polys around the screen every second, but the characters are still able to display a range of emotions and make you care about what’s happening and what will happen to them.
The games is presented in pseudo 24-style with action sometimes going on in split screen. This adds to the whole feel of the game and makes it look like one of your favourite movies or a well directed TV series. The cut screens in the game are also extremely well done and are rendered in real time with the same engine used in-game, which helps keep you immersed in the game without unnecessary jumps to FMV cutscenes. All in all, the graphics are not spectacular but they do impress at times.
To tell a good story you need good sound (music, voice acting, sound effects) and like all your favourite movies Fahrenheit does not disappoint. Firstly, the voice action is superb. I am not sure if they used Hollywood actors or specialist video game actors, but it really does not matter, as all involved have done a superb job. Each actor gives lots of emotion in every word while not overstressing any scene they are involved in. Secondly, the sound effects are implemented well; everything in the game sounds great. Quantic Dream have done a great job in creating a fantastic living world for the player roam around in
Finally, the music is an absolute dream and is produced by the same guy who has been a part of many David Lynch productions and also Twin Peaks. It is of the highest production quality that I’ve heard in any recent game and there are different compositions for many different scenes that range from low tempo tunes for dramatics scenes, and high tempo compositions meant for action scenes. It’s not often you remember music from games but Fahrenheit goes against this trend and you will remember the music for a long time after you finish playing the title
The game should take the average player around 14 hours to complete which is a respectable amount of time for an adventure game, but unlike most adventure games there is lots more for the gamer to do to expand the game well past the 20 hour mark, making the title great value for money. Each chapter of the game can be played in all manner of different ways and even gamers that love to rush through games may find themselves taking time to replay certain sections, just to see ‘what would happen if I did this?’
From the moment you first start playing Fahrenheit it is clear that it is a game different to those you have played before. Sure, it is still just a computer game, but it is one that endeavours to break down the boundaries between gaming and film. To play the game you have to become your character. You are forced to make split-second decisions based only on your instinct. You are in fact in the same dilemma as a polygon-based avatar.
You could say Fahrenheit is innovative, but it really just pushes the old point and click adventure style game to new limits, reinventing it to a certain degree. All Fahrenheit really does is expand on what came before, and the result is a very special game that deserves to have people stand up and take notice. Of course the game has some faults but they are really insignificant, and in no way hinder the fantastic gaming experience. Fahrenheit is a mixture of genres that on paper should not work but in a game they weld together fantastically to create something very, very special. Fahrenheit is a real must-buy title and that is something that can’t be said about many games these days.