Sunday, October 02, 2005

I Feel My Temperature Rising

(aka Indigo Prophecy here in the States) is recommended -- though tentatively.

I give a half-assed recommendation because, while I enjoy it, there are core gameplay elements which I found completely stupid, unwieldy, unnecessary and actually counterproductive.

Also, I haven't finished it. So I can't vouch for the bits I haven't played.

**Spoilers may be forthcoming. Consider yourself warned.**

Very cinematic game, right down to the grainy filter over the screen. Well done, not intrusive or distracting. The animation is nice, but the faces need some work -- expressions and lip-syncing are vital to a game of this nature, so if there's ever a sequel I'd tell the team to give that area special attention.

Good tutorial. Very postmodern, "this is my game" kind of stuff, and the director of the game is right there. Points for novelty.

The black guy -- are they serious? I guess the character's like a French imagining of an African-American New York cop perpetually stuck in the character of The Ladies Man. He has this weird 1970s caricature swagger and his apartment is psychedelic, dude. Oh, and he dribbles a basketball to relax. Of course. I just couldn't believe the department would let him dress like a Beatnik poet with a fondness for pastels. Still, his script isn't saddled with the same ridiculousness they drape on his appearance and surroundings.

The bad bit -- they have these action-y sequences that require timed button presses. Yes, just like those featured in Resident Evil 4. I best remember these sequences as the basis for Dragon's Lair -- a game that looked great but played like shit. Used sparingly (a la RE4), they can create appropriate tension without making things too difficult.

Fahrenheit uses dual analog sticks as if you were playing Simon on two Simons at once. And, I hate to bash anybody's nostalgia, but Simon sucked. It sucks even more in digital form. There is one brutal sequence that goes on far too long, where one wrong button press leads to a failure condition (and hence a lost life) -- such a penalty is far too stiff for one missed press, especially so early in the game. Especially given that the sequence itself consists of at least eight separate sequences with their own patterns, and while it continues right from the pattern you missed, it hardly leads to fun.

If the rest of the game were as bad as those frustrating parts, I'd be telling everyone to stay away. But the rest of the game is compelling and interesting.

The split-screen camera work (like in the movie Woodstock) works great.

The control is never too-bad, though like every adventure game of this type (going back to Alone in the Dark, at least) that uses interesting camera angles to frame the action, control sometimes suffers in exchange for directorial conceit.

I've been away from adventure games for awhile.

Too long, it seems.

I'll have to dive back in.

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