"And I remember the time when you left for Santa Monica…and I remember the day you told me it's over..."
What's this got to do with the game overall was for starters, Lucas committed a murder in the beginning of the game where it appears he's has no control off. It was in the restroom of an East Side diner, Lucas brutally stabs a man to death. Lucas has no idea who this man was or why on earth did he stab him; yet he ultimately fled the crime scene (for which you control most of these actions). And because of this, the in game 'mental health' starts to decline. So from here on in, you will be playing four 'ordinary' characters that all is trying to uncover why Lucas perform this brutal crime.
Yet before we go on and to save confusion, Fahrenheit is also known as Indigo Prophecy; yet both are the same game. The only difference is that Fahrenheit is the uncut version of Indigo Prophecy. What's that got to do with the review is not much however I prefer playing games that are not watered down in any way. Yet there's not much difference in terms of the actual storyline for both games however some of the cut scenes have been removed out in Indigo Prophecy.
So Fahrenheit's gameplay presents itself a fresh approach to the adventure game genre as most 'traditional' adventure games are inventory management / puzzle solving with a 'point-and-click' style to dictate your course of action. Whilst Fahrenheit has some minor puzzle solving elements, its main focus point is the perform actions that should closely resembles human movements; so the point of this exercise is not to play the game, however being immersed in the characters you control (like the example above when you play as Lucas fleeing the crime scene or dictate the conversation with Tiffany by serving her a glass of gin).
To perform all of this like picking up a piece of paper involves smooth mouse animation – likewise making the character to drink from a cup or evenopening a door. The way to perform this accurately is by a mouse 'indicator' on the top of the screen. Follow the precise flow will make the character perform this action. Failed to do so the character just simply stand there.
You will encounter these 'mundane' movements over and over again however it plays an important part building up the four controllable characters as each of them have a 'stress' meter. If this falls too low its game over. And there's even a suicide clip for one character if you are morbid in mind. So this stress meter is a good way to perform those 'day-to-day' chores like drinking water or even visiting the loo a little more fun yet meaningful.
Another feature in this game are the action sequences. This is a love / hate relationship for me as it appears only when there's high action like fighting / dodging etc. To perform them is easy enough as they appear looking like those 'Simon Says' games. There are two coloured rings appear in the middle of the screen corresponding to the direction of the arrows / num pad. Once it lights up, you have a short time to press it – fail and you could loose a life or miss out on an important hint.
In essence, it's all not that bad however what's annoying is that, as I stated before, they appear when there's high action sequences right smack bang in the middle of the screen! Other words, if you concentrate on those lights, you will miss out witnessing the great action clips. Likewise, if you want to see those animations, there will be a good chance that you'll miss one of the light sequences therefore fail. As I stated before, it's a love / hate relationship.
Yet what made this game is the concept of split screen action. Because you can play up to four characters, each of them has their own motives. Lucas (the guy that caused the murder) is aiming to cover up his tracks whilst detectives Cara and Tyler are trying to locate him. So in essence you are trying to cover up your tracks only to make the other characters locating it – a strange yet workable concept. For instance, when playing Lucas, you hide a book and then when playing Tyler, you try and locate the book! It's like chasing your own tail however remarkably enjoyable. That's not going to say that if I play a character to locate a certain book, I know where to find it as you need 'clues' of where to begin.
And some of these events appears in split screen so you have a small time limit to cover your plans whilst seeing your 'nemesis' (i.e. your other character/s) approaching methodically to your location. So it can be very stressful at times however satisfying as well.
Yet with all that said and done, something drastically happens roughly 85% into the game. Up to that point, everything and everyone has a purpose all methodically arranged that makes sense. Then in the last 15% of the game, this tumbles down like a lead balloon. It seems that the developers decided to wrap the story in five words or less – seriously. I really couldn't believe this as the entire script was perfect up to that point and as painful it seems, it's probably one of the worst wrap up I have ever encountered. Yet the ending sequences were quite good though. The way I visualise this is that when someone hands you a present, the gift wrapping is perfect in every sense; the present feels great only to realise that when you unwrap the gift, it's all in pieces.
Visually it's not the world's prettiest game. There are some nice lighting / bloom effects however the world does seems minimalist at best. Not much clutter as the environs only have what it deems acceptable – meaning don't expect detailed graphics – a coffee cup is just that, without the stains for instance. However the character's movement and expressions are top class. All shot from motion capture, they are great to look at; save those 'quick time' events (yep that love / hate relationship again).
The sound quality is also pretty decent. The voice acting are quite decent to listen to (and very important for this kind of game) and the musical scores are divine. The classical scores are composed by Angelo Badalamenti (oh how I love this guy) and developers Quantic Dream signed up well known bands like Theory of a Deadman. And if you happen to read the manual, it even have lyrics to their four songs.
The game's length is average however according to xfire, I spend 16hrs however this could easily finish around the 10hrs mark. Once completed, you can redo the chapters to see alternate outcomes as some do have that cause / effect scenarios. Also as a 'side mission', you can locate playing cards that provide you points to spend on unlocks located in the main menu like songs, clips, screenshots and that all important action sequences that you most likely missed because of that dreaded 'Simon says' gameplay.
Fahrenheit can be viewed as a love / hate relationship. The game overall package shows love and care for the product. From the motion capture animations to the story to practically everything else, it's poetry in motion. Even the revolutionary idea of making mundane things more meaningful (like drinking a cup of coffee) to reduce your stress levels was a stroke of genius. Then it tumbled so badly in the last 15% that will cause mental injury. An absolute shame as most games are remembered because of this. So this game is like a rollercoaster ride: expeditious, intense, thrilling and plenty of heart pounding moments however just like the ride, it ends abruptly.