Hi folks, how are you doin’? Don’t answer, I can’t hear you. Today, I’m reviewing Fahrenheit, the Quantic Dreams/David Cage-directed precursor to the critically-acclaimed Heavy Rain. If you don’t enjoy reading these long posts, I will just give you a tl;dr now: if you have nothing better to do, and I mean NOTHING better to do than play video games, play Fahrenheit. Otherwise, don’t bother. You have been warned.
Okay, let’s get to it. Fahrenheit begins with a guy in a bathroom covered in blood and holding a knife. He is standing over a dead body. He doesn’t know how he got there and why he is holding the knife. All he knows is that he killed the man in front of him. Let the games begin.
I will speak no more to the premise, as this would ruin it for you. After all, the beginning of this game is the best part.
So what is there to talk about then? Welp, there is this thing called the “plot”. Ah yes, you’ve heard of this mythical “plot” have you not? Many a video game have strived to have a thorough, deep and interesting narrative, but most fail.
Fahrenheit is one of those… which failed BUT TRIED REEEEALLY HARD!!!
Okay, let’s cut the review garbage and get to the meat of the issue. Fahrenheit, at the core of it’s gameplay, is simple and not bad at all. It’s a variety of quick-time events with your standard point-and-click puzzles and multiple choice decision making. This is typical for point-and-click games and not altogether unusual, so I can’t fault Fahrenheit in this regard.
However, David Cage does not make games. He makes movies that masquerade as games. And movies are not known for their GAMEPLAY. In other words, the fact that the gameplay had no major holes means bupkis, because that wasn’t the selling point. Thus, the focus of Fahrenheit is the story and the characters. And this is where the problems begin. ***SPOILER ALERT NOW, I RUIN EVERYTHING, but it doesn’t matter because the PLOT SUCKS***
This is a summary of the underlying plot of the game: Mayan sacrifice rituals are being perpetrated by secret Illuminati-style organizations who are all trying to gain ultimate power by fulfilling an ancient prophecy. This prophecy foretells that a girl will be born who, at a specific time and day, will reveal the answer to all questions in the universe. This girl is known as the Indigo Child (Indigo, prophecy, get it?). These various organizations employ mystics who force random strangers to murder each other in order to briefly open a portal to “the other world” and determine the location of the Indigo Child.
Okay, let’s stop right there. I’m sorry, what? I’m actually not going to talk about all of the problems with this. Suffice it to say that this plot is a load of horse-hockey.
But this isn’t even the biggest problem. I don’t actually care that the plot sounds like it’s from Nicolas Cage’s next retirement film. The biggest problem is the characters.
We have three main characters. The bloodied dude in the washroom is one of them. We also have the guy and girl detective team who are on the hunt for the aforementioned bloodied dude. Throughout the game you get to play as each of them and you get to see the storyline from each of their perspectives. You play as the guy as he gets chased by characters whom you can also play as. You get to try and catch… yourself? It’s unique, if not altogether a strange concept. It holds promise for interesting decisions that could be made. You know the cops are coming to get you, because you played as the cops, and so you can escape [yourself], but you also play the cops and so you know how [you] are escaping etc. Very interesting. This type of P.O.V. changing might also allow the player to get to know and understand more of the cast at a deeper level. It really allows you to get attached to the characters and see things from their perspective. You make decisions as them and so you really get an idea of what is going through their minds as they follow the story.
Oh but wait a second. Remember how the plot sucks? Well apparently the plot sucks so much that it sucked away all of the things you thought you knew about the characters and it forced them to become completely different people from who you thought they were and the result is that the ending is as much of a bloody mess as the beginning was.
So what happens in the end? The bloody guy’s girlfriend dies, as does the bloody guy, but the bloody guy is brought back to life, gets in a relationship with the girl cop, post-being a dead person, and they have child. And all the while, the most significant things that occur in the life of the guy cop is that his girlfriend leaves him and he beats another random cop, whom he owes money, in a game of basketball in order to settle the debt. And guess what, you can’t prevent that. They don’t ask you as you play, “Are you sure you want to have a child with this man who came back from the dead? No? Are you sure?”. You just have to play and watch obliviously.
What was the point of having me play as the characters if you were just going to screw up everything at the end? There should be reason that I get to play as all of the characters and it shouldn’t be because “that sounds like a cool idea, let’s try putting that in”. No. That is logic only reserved for Kevin Spacey in Call of Duty.
I am so annoyed by this. I play with these main characters, I follow them as they go through this intricate game of cat and mouse, chasing each other, and then at the end, I have no control and I just have to sit and watch them make out. What? Where did this come from? None of it makes any sense. I don’t understand. Why did the writers give up? Did I say something to upset them? It annoys me to think that they give you the illusion of control by having this innovative game-play feature, and then they just make the characters do things that make no sense. Plot, why.
Alright, that’s enough. I’m tired. Oh yeah, look forward to a review of Broken Age at some point. Thanks for reading and have a great day.
Hmm, I’ve run out of music. Oh well.