It’s been quiet here of late and while I did want to post I didn’t have anything ready nor did I want some whining apology with no content.
For the last few weeks I’ve been a recluse getting my Open University TM427 project wrapped up and delivered and now that’s out the way I’ve been kicking back and relaxing with a few games and a bit of retro computing.
Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy)
A murder takes place within the confides of a small wash room in a down town American diner and you are left holding the knife very unsure as to what just took place. And so begins the start of a point-and-click adventure affair interspersed with sections where you need to hit buttons rapidly as they are shown. Your actions, while not throwing the story much off it’s linear path, are at least reflected upon and determine dialogue and actions available later in the story.
From the forums and hype you’d believe that French studio QuantricDream has created a whole new genre, and you’d be quite wrong. We’ve had adventure games with much more freedom in the past – even in 3D – check out industry legend Yu Suzuki’s masterpiece Shenmue for something similar but much larger in scope and execution.
Where Fahrenheit does score highly is in the storytelling and atmosphere – taking control of multiple opposing people within the same story is just icing on the cake. The story leads through a few emotionally and physically charged pieces story telling more adult in nature than the standard affair, no doubt contributing to the 15+ rating on the box.
The experience is refreshingly much shorter than the 35+ hour fest that the gaming industry insists on pushing onto us for plot-driven games. With game production costs now getting out of hand it would make sense to produce shorter games for less money. This would surely allow companies to better absorb the cost of a flop here and there too.
David Cage, the Frenchman behind this little escapade, has already stated there is a sequel in the works. Here’s hoping they concentrate more on the game’s content itself by dropping their own inferior game engine in favor of something like Source or Max Payne 2’s… Then we’d be able to experience decent sized levels you can actually interact with.
I’ve been waiting for this one since legend Peter Molyneux started talking about it in interviews. Taking the same principles as Sim Hospital and Theme Park it sees you operating a Hollywood style film studio and lets you go down as far as editing the shooting scripts and even lets you export your movies out to put online.
Initially the game was quite fun, setting up in the usual fashion of introducing you a few concepts and buildings at a time but within about 8 hours of game-play things had gone awry.
The main problem, and one that is common to this genre, is that there is no way of delegating control of the aspects the player isn’t interested in or become repetitive over to the AI. Soon you find yourself clearing up litter and dragging individuals around to do the job they were employed to do (perhaps it was the quality of the staff I employed but frankly I had to employ everyone the game threw at me just to meet the positions I had. I could still have done with many more).
Perhaps I could live with that if it weren’t for the fact that the game simply moved at such as pace there was barely time to do anything. Inventions and scenes were flying out faster than I could get them in scripts and award ceremonies were coming up before I’d had even chance to dress my stars in attire suitable for the decade.
I guess that’s another disappointment from Peter – Fable had so much promise too. While features were dropped it had me hooked with the opening scene showing the mysterious abduction of a loved one. The game then proceeds to send you on unrelated trivial exercises that do nothing to advance said plot. Attention lost, game consigned to the dusty drawers.