David Cage is like the George Lucas of video games. Not too long ago, he was considered a master of interactive storytelling. Unfortunately, he has become synonymous with everything that’s wrong with modern gaming. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe it’s Cage’s refusal to evolve with the industry, or maybe it’s his ego’s inability to accept and change bad ideas. Whatever the reason may be, the recently released Fahrenheit remaster (Indigo Prophecy in North America) is a wonderful flashback to Cage’s most successful work. While the game’s horrid QTE’s still remain an annoyance, the intriguing narrative, superb voice acting and wonderful visuals make up for its shortcomings. At only ten bucks, Fahrenheit is a steal, and a must play for those who missed it back in 2005.
Fahrenheit opens with Lucas Kane, a seemingly ordinary New Yorker, murdering a stranger in a diner bathroom. The plot revolves around ordinary people becoming possessed and killing complete strangers. Haunted by hallucinations, Lucas leaves his computer tech job at the bank to uncover the truth behind his possession. Meanwhile, detectives Carla Valenti and Tyler Miles are investigating the diner crime scene, trying to make sense of the murder. The story is told from various perspectives, and players get to slowly unravel the bigger picture by experiencing different narrative viewpoints.
"The recently released Fahrenheit remaster (Indigo Prophecy in North America) is a wonderful flashback to Cage’s most successful work."
The core ideas aren’t particularly inventive, but it’s the cinematic direction and satisfying pacing that make Fahrenheit such an engrossing experience. The sense of mystery remains intact whether you’re playing the police or Lucas, and seeing the different paths intertwine is particularly exciting. Fahrenheit is broken into chapter-like scenarios. Players get to choose between certain characters before each section, giving Fahrenheit plenty of replayability should you go back and replay sections with different protagonists.
The different gameplay elements all blend beautifully, whether you’re searching for clues at a crime scene, gathering info by conversing with the world’s many interesting side characters, or simply engaging in everyday activities to boost your stats. Each scenario feels like its own little mini adventure. In one of the earliest sections, for example, Lucas hears the police knock after waking from sleep, surrounded by bloody sheets and evidence tying him to the murder. A timer kicks in, and you’re asked to hide all evidence before the police breaks down the door. Fahrenheit is filled with mini-games like these, giving the otherwise leisurely pacing a welcoming sense of immediate danger.
"The different gameplay elements all blend beautifully. Each scenario feels like its own little mini adventure."
Unfortunately, the game’s otherwise brilliant action-sequences are marred by horrid QTEs. The problem isn’t the existence of QTEs, but rather the kind of precision they require, and how long they last. In several instances, you’re forced to perfectly time left and right analog flicks for several minutes at a time. It’s exhausting, frustrating, and it ruins the immersion. Luckily, Fahrenheit’s strong storytelling outweighs its frustrating parts. The characters are genuinely interesting thanks to superb voice acting and expert writing. For every aggravating QTE sequence, there’s a compelling plot development that makes you wonder what’ll happen next.
"Fahrenheit was a masterpiece when it originally released in 2005, and it’s still a fantastic game today. It’s the kind of title that grabs you from its opening sequence and never lets go."
As far as visual upgrades go, Fahrenheit Remastered still looks gorgeous after all these years. Textures are crisper, the lighting is improved, higher resolutions are now supported, gamepad support has been added and refined and the entire experience is generally smoother and more polished. Sure, the models are still relatively low-poly, but this is only a ten dollar release, so there’s only so much that can be expected.
Fahrenheit was a masterpiece when it originally released in 2005, and it’s still a fantastic game today. It’s the kind of title that grabs you from its opening sequence and never lets go. Despite its frustrating QTEs, Fahrenheit is a remarkable venture. It’s also a sad reminder of what has become of David Cage. The guy is clearly talented, and is undoubtedly an important industry figure, but he has yet to deliver another interactive story like Fahrenheit. While both Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls have their admirable strengths, they lack the personality and narrative fluidity of their decade old predecessor.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: PC