Developer(s) – Quantic Dream
Publisher(s) – Atari
Director – David Cage
Producer – David Cage
The way I see it, David Cage and his development studio Quantic Dream have started a very unsavoury trend among developers that has carried on into the seventh and eighth generations of gaming, which I have previously talked about; the practice of putting story before gameplay in a video game. And this title is where it all started.
Graphics – 4/10
Compared with many other video games, despite the fact that this is set in New York City, his game is conceptually weak, but somewhat graphically astute; which to me is another recurring thing with Quantic Dream. Because motion capture was used to animate each character in the game, facial expressions are very convincing for the time, and do a decent enough job of conveying emotion throughout the story. But other than that, there’s not much else to say about it, or worth saying about it, that makes it stand out among other games. Another particularly prominent source of irritation was that despite the display of graphical advancement to do with motion capture, the character designs are still pretty generic. Some of the clothes they wear are nothing short of ridiculous too.
Gameplay – 2/10
Fahrenheit is a so-called interactive drama. In my language, that means that it’s a game that plays out far too much like a film. It can get particularly boring particularly quickly, and is a prominent, and one of the first standout examples, of developers deviating away too much from gameplay in favour of including an immersing story. And whenever I experience the disappointment of playing a game like this, it makes me both despair and worry about what direction mainstream gaming may possibly be taken in.
Controls – 9/10
With the game’s control scheme, I found that it can be somewhat of a chore to move around, since the movement mechanics are quite stiff. But other wise, the rest of the game is particularly straightforward and easy to play through, at least. It reminded me a little of the Sims in the way that characters can interact with objects in each environment, albeit significantly less enjoyable than the Sims; even if it has a small RPG element to it similar to Sonic Adventure.
Lifespan – 3/10
Another aspect, which makes this game seem like even more of a film, is the fact that it lasts somewhat longer than one. Fahrenheit can be completed in less than 6 hours. I think that’s just as well because even after one hour, this game can feel drawn out, given the fact that there’s nothing else to do beyond playing through the main story.
Storyline – 7/10
The plot of Fahrenheit involves a series of murders in New York City, whereby normal people become possessed by a supernatural force and are compelled to kill. The player takes control of multiple characters that resolve to get to the bottom of this phenomenon and put a stop to it. At least despite every other fault this game has, David Cage does know how to tell a decent story. It does have a lot of depth to it, as well a few twists and turns thrown in for good measure. And as I said before, the use of motion capture to import realistic facial expressions into the game helps to relay what emotions the characters are feeling to the play. It’s a technique that has been used extensively by developers ever since; especially Quantic Dream, whilst producing the likes of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls.
Originality – 4/10
Although this game has been cited by most as being the first true interactive movie, I don’t see that as being a good thing. The only positive shred of originality I believe this game has going for it is its combination of action adventure and point and click adventure gameplay it seems to have incorporated. But other than that, Like Another World before it, I think the game is unique, but for all the wrong reasons.
In summation, Fahrenheit is in my opinion, one of the worst video games of the sixth generation. I can’t help but think that if this dire trend of story before gameplay hadn’t been implemented over the years because of games likes this, the industry would be even stronger now then it is. Gameplay must always come before every other aspect.