Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy in the US) is a 2005 game released by Quantic Dream. With the studio's second release they wanted to create a truly cinematic game and let me tell you: they succeeded.
The game starts in a cold, snow-covered New York City where we find protagonist of the game, Lucas Kane, sitting on a toilet of a diner with a knife in his hands. Something's not right with Lucas because he used the knive to kill an innocent man and carved strange markings in his forearms. Seconds later, he regains control over himself and is stunned to find the man on the bathroom floor, realising he's a murderer.
From there on the player gets to control Lucas and has to make quick decisions in his place to get him away from the crimescene in one piece. I won't go into further detail about the story because that would spoil too much of the experience. All I'll add is that you also get to play as Carla Valenti and Tyler Miles, two detectives working the case of Lucas' murder. This makes for some interesting moments because you're playing as two sides who are literally working against each other.
I'd like to stress how important the story in this game is, which is of a far superior level and suspense normally found in games. While advancing through the game you'll really start to care about alot of characters, which aren't stereotypical good or bad guys but rather undergo an evolution as the game progresses.
What makes Fahrenheit different from most games is not only its deep story but also the way you can influence that story. Depending on what decisions you make, the story changes. When talking to another character, different dialog options are shown. (Like in Mass Effect
) A timer runs out so you have to make quick decisions as to what you want your character to say. Although the story isn't completely changeable (some decisions simply end up with Lucas in prison, forcing you to do things differently) there are entire scenes that can be unlocked when making the right decisions. (including two sex scenes cut from the US version)
All actions in the game are performed via the analog sticks. The left one controls Lucas' movement while the right one is context-sensitive. Depending where you are or what object you're facing, a small icon on the screen shows what movement you should make with the stick. (Much like Skate
's way of performing tricks)
During the more intense action sequences you'll have to perform a sort of rhythm mini game with the analog sticks. Two 4-button icons will show up in the middle of the screen (like the memory game Simon
) and depending on which color lights up, you'll have to press the corresponding analog stick in that direction. Although this seems stupid on paper it works rather well in this game and I never got the feeling I'm simply pressing random buttons because the rhythm game is made so it matches the actions on screen.
Another fun feature of Fahrenheit is you'll also do some everyday life actions like drink some water, play some guitar or take a shower. This supports the bond you have with the characters and shows they're no superheroes but regular people like you and me. They also have a mental health bar that goes up or down depending on your actions in the game. At maximum this shows as "Neutral" but will say things like "Stressed" or "Depressed" when worse.
What's most irritating about Fahrenheit are character and camera movement. Character movement is slow and feels stiff. Maybe this has been done to add to the realistic feel of the game, I'm not really sure. Although the camera does a decent job, it tends to get stuck behind objects in small rooms making it hard to regain a good perspective. Graphics aren't fantastic either (comparable to those of GTA: Vice City
and San Andreas
) with some animations looking a bit unnatural, despite the use of motion capture. This never bothered me though, because it's easy to forgive a game for its lesser graphics when it has such an intense storyline.
Much better than the visuals is the audio and a place where Fahrenheit really shines. Luckily for its storyline, voice acting is performed excellent for all characters. The way you can hear them think in their heads is especially convincing, together with the voice of main character Lucas. Musically, Fahrenheit uses both licensed songs and an original score. Licensed songs are usually found when a radio is playing in-game while the original score accompanies alot of dialog and action scenes. I think both are used very well and give Fahrenheit that memorable feel that you'll remember even after finishing the game.
Although only an 8-hour game, Fahrenheit is the kind of of game you'll still think about weeks after completing it. It gets under your skin like few other games do and has a story even fewer can compare with. Definately worth your attention despite the flaws I've mentioned. 8.3/10