Fear Effect Sedna
Well, how so, huh?
Fear Effect fans were ready to turn a blind eye to a lot, because the series has never been an ideal development: strange animations, non-obvious puzzles, frankly mediocre combat system, and problems with the camera and controls – all this has been an integral part of the franchise since its inception. It probably repulsed someone even then, but such trifles could not interfere with true fans of the old dilogy, because there was something to love for it. She was loved for her unusual style, which mixed comics, futurism and Chinese mythology. She was loved for her charismatic heroes and attractive heroines. She was loved for her cruelty and sexuality, for her gloom and comedy, for her strange balance between category B action movies and atmospheric horror. She was loved for puzzles – including their non-obviousness. She was loved for screensavers
And the trouble with Fear Effect Sedna is not that it has kept all the sores of the series: it’s annoying, no doubt, but forgivable. The trouble is that not all the advantages of the franchise have survived the change of developers and budget cuts.
For example, the old characters remained themselves, except for the predictably reduced emancipation of the heroines. But the Frenchman who imposed on them in the team is just a Frenchman, and the rest of the participants in the events do not deserve such a description. History tries to repeat the trick of its predecessors and combine fantasy with mythology, for a change, exchanging Chinese beliefs for Inuit parables, but there is neither past madness, nor unusual style, nor an eerie contrast between manufacturability and mysticism. Maybe the myths of the Eskimos simply did not deserve such attention. Maybe the authors failed to adequately show them. But what’s the difference if at least something interesting in the plot of Fear Effect Sedna happens only at the end?
Not everything is good with screensavers. Purely visually, they are marvelously canonical: everything looks and moves correctly, and only the Rhine jars, by default looking at others with inappropriate contempt on her face. Only the director of the commercials was not enough for something talented and memorable – only for high-quality and functional. But next to the sound engineer, the comrade who was responsible for the screensavers looks like a real genius, because the sound is the weakest link in Fear Effect Sedna. The actors might have been happy to play their roles normally, but obviously no one directed them, and therefore you can say goodbye to the correct timing of phrases or appropriate intonations in advance. And along the way, forget about the fact that the sounds in some horror games can work on the atmosphere worse than the graphics – here even the weapons sound weaker than other children’s toys.
Shooting in Fear Effect Sedna is generally very strange. Back in the days of Kickstarter, the authors were told that trying to combine paused team tactics and an arcade shooter was not the best idea, and after the release of the demos on Steam, the developers even admitted that they had made a mistake and promised to seriously shovel their gameplay. Only they didn’t do it. Before us is the same arcade shooter with not very convenient aiming, leveling this shortcoming with another problem – the flawed AI of opponents. A good turn-based action could have come out of the game – this can be seen in the tactical mode, the variety of special attacks, and the possibility of combining the latter. But the authors decided to go their own way and make most of the invented mechanics useless – now the most effective tactic in Fear Effect Sedna remains “Stop and shoot at the enemies running at you, occasionally healing with first-aid kits scattered at every step. You have to try only on relatively inventive bosses, which both make the game more interesting and vividly remind you of how crookedly local management is implemented.
Unlikeable characters from video games are making a comeback. They’ve returned from a long sabbatical to wreak havoc and steal things in their own unique way, of course. Lock and load, for the Fear Effect, has returned after a 17-year hiatus.
While most of the post-Matrix world had moved on to cyberpunk, noir, and digital terrorism by the time Fear Effect arrived on the PS1, it was still an oddity in the genre’s postmodern landscape. Even if they’re fondly remembered, 1999’s Fear Effect and its 2001 sequel Retro Helix suffered from a number of problems. Don’t go around with pitchforks in hand. With a fascinating environment, engaging narrative, and distinctive stylistic decisions to go along with the horrible combat, bad controls, excessive load times, and hazy visuals that were sometimes indistinguishable from a blur, the games were betrayed.
Sushee, a new indie band, has done just that with its previous concepts. Sushee has reimagined Fear Effect as a tactical strategy game, removing all of the game’s mechanics and leaving only the characters, mood, and gritty, neon-soaked surroundings. The goal is to give the same aesthetic experience as before, but with better gameplay.
But there are almost no complaints about puzzles. Not all of them are equally interesting, and not all of them provide the necessary minimum of visual clues that allow you to at least predict the results of your own actions; but for the most part, they are varied, entertaining, and fit well into the overall outline of the passage.
Alas, you won’t be fed up with puzzles alone, and everything else in Fear Effect Sedna is not impressive. The gameplay is not infuriating, but it does not deliver much pleasure either. The story is tolerably written but fails to tell anything interesting. Screensavers are competently staged but mediocrely voiced.
This is not the kind of game that will make you throw a gamepad at the screen or call a plague on the heads of developers, but it cannot give true pleasure either. It’s nice, of course, to see your favorite heroes again, but this opportunity hardly justifies the existence of an entire game.
Fear Effect deserves more.