noiseredux vs.

Posted on Feb 22nd 2015 at 12:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC, Fahrenheit, Indigo Prophecy, remaster

Fahrenheit (or Indigo Prophecy as we had always known it here in the States) was the second game released by developer Quantic Dream, all the way back in 2005. Alright, so that really wasn't all that long ago. Perhaps it seems odd to 'remaster' a ten year old game, but for this game, I think there's some justification. While the visuals were already great, Indigo Prophecy has had a history of censorship outside of Europe as well as a clumsily handled PC port if you wanted to play with a controller (which was the control type that the game really seemed designed for). So on its ten year anniversary, let's take a look at this cult classic. But be forewarned, it's pretty tough to talk about a game like Indigo Prophecy without some spoilers and potentially NSFW discussion thrown in (though both are avoided for the purposes of this article).

Indigo Prophecy (I'm sorry, I just can't get used to calling it Fahrenheit) tells the story of a man named Lucas Kane who wakes up from a trance in a restaurant bathroom standing over the body of man who he has apparently killed. Meanwhile, detectives Carla Valenti and Tyler Miles are investigating the case. Throughout the many chapters, you play as each character and unravel the story from each perspective. It is a stunningly pretty world that Quantic Dream has created. It is dark and gritty, but also blindingly bright as the game takes place in a blizzard-covered New York. Chapters range from mundane (like the detectives working out) to the bizarre (like the insane hallucinations that Lucas sees involving  giant bugs). It's also infamous for its 'adult content' which had been cut from the original US release, but restored here in the remaster. As crazy as some of this all seems, the writing is always interesting and the characters are easy to care about.

I originally played Indigo Prophecy via the earlier PC release. Unfortunately, that version was marred with terrible controller support and the game never felt comfortable to me using keyboard controls. While I was intrigued by the story, I found it physically difficult to play through and ultimately quit before the end.

If you're not familiar with Quantic Dream, they're a French development team led by David Cage. Though they've made few games, all of them have had at least a cult following. Cage has tried to create something more akin to a playable film than what you'd call "a game" in all of his titles. This style was perhaps most publicized with the release of Heavy Rain in 2010. If you've played Heavy Rain, then you should actually have a fairly good idea of what to expect here, as in many ways Indigo Prophecy feels like a warm-up for the next game. In case you haven't played Heavy Rain, I'll walk you through the basic elements of these games.

David Cage (the director) has created an entirely unique control scheme for his games. Interacting with objects is never done via button presses. There is no "jump button," "punch button," or "pick up item button." Instead, everything is done with analog sticks - an input scheme meant to mimic the motions of your character. Sitting down is generally done by sliding the right stick down, and standing up is accomplished by pressing up on the stick. To mop a floor you might move left to right, and climbing a fence will have you doing left then right quarter-circles.

As I mentioned before, the story is not told from just one character's perspective; instead, you will continually switch between several. What makes this so interesting is that you will be playing as the fugitive murderer in one chapter, and then as the investigators tracking him in the next. Somehow, you are rooting for both. Much of the story is driven by timed conversation trees similar to how the recent TellTale adventure games let their stories take shape. Oh, and there's quicktime events....lots of quicktime events. Personally, I've never been as bothered by QTE's as nearly everyone else on the Internet, but I will say that the QTE's in Indigo Prophecy work well with the dual analog controllers and are sometimes even done in interesting ways - such as the rhythmic movements during a dancing scene.

While it's hard to say that the remaster looks that much better than the original, it does look great. The revised controls finally perfect the use of a gamepad, which is a major plus for QTE's (though I still don't like the ones that involve mashing the left and right bumpers). It would have been nice to have the remaster come with the original score as a bonus, like the older GOG version did, but since I already own that one, it's hard to complain too much. It was also nice seeing some of the added Easter Eggs, like a record album of the Beyond: Two Souls soundtrack in Tyler's apartment, or the fact that when you switch between Carla and Tyler the other one will look at their smartphone. Though it may not sound like much, the improved controls make the remastered version the one I would recommend playing today. And if you care about seeing a game in its full, uncut glory, then the inclusion of the censored material is here as well. I doubt we'll ever seen a more definitive release of Indigo Prophecy, and I'd recommend anyone interested in unique story-driven games to give it a go.

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I originally heard about this game from Fleach as we discussed it as a possible future playthrough title. Of course, I was super intrigued and ended up finding a cheap copy of it on XBox that same afternoon. Do you know if there are any differences in the XBox and PS2 versions? Is one better than the other?
I've been keeping my eye on this game, so thanks for the review. I'll buy when I have some spending money. I like what Quantic Dream does with their games; they're always so memorable and I think they do cinematic styles really well.

@singlebanana: I did some research and I can't find anything about differences between the PS2 and XBox versions.
I believe the Xbox and PS2 versions are identical gameplay-wise, though the Xbox version may look a little nicer.

A couple thoughts I'll add since I wrote this piece days ago...

I really hate stealth missions in games. Really. The only part of this game that bugged me were a couple of stealth parts where you are a little kid sneaking around on a military base. Luckily, these were few.

Also it's weird how uneven the 'remaster'-ing was here. Like, some of the visuals look stunning. And then you'll get some scene where rounded edges are super jaggy.

Anyway, it's a very unique game. A very batpoop crazy game. You should play it.

I think I'll be picking this up, seeing the praise (from people whose opinions I trust) and the fact it is only $9.99 USD on Steam.
I picked this up brand new right about the time that most big box stores were liquidating their PS2 inventories in mid-2006 for 5.00. I thought it was pretty cool then, but no one else I knew had ever heard of it. Glad to see that it's getting a little deserved attention these days.

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