Replay Value: 8
Eidos' and Kronos' Horror title has finally made its way to stores. After numerous delays and a name change from Fear Factor to Fear Effect, Eidos' newest title is now in my hands. To be honest at first I didn't pay much attention to Fear Effect. I though that this would just be an average game, until recently when all of this hype started surrounding it, I couldn't help but board the wagon and wonder to myself if this could be one of Eidos' best creations. I waited and waited anxiously, until it came, when Fear Effect hit the shelves. So was all the hype surrounding Eidos' title worth it? Find out.
This not only the most unique blend of graphics I have ever seen, but the graphics are some of the best I have seen on the Playstation, period. Mixing anime characters that walk around in real-time environments is excellent. But these surroundings aren't just any real-time, they are actually CG quality running environments. So what you actually have is an anime designed character (with facial expressions), exploring in a CG environment. Now that the basics have been stated, let's talk about the special effects. What a Sci-Fi adventure title like this needs is some kick ass looking effects, luckily Kronos knows that as well. The job they did not only with the basic visuals but with the special effects is wonderful, explosions look great. In-fact if you ask me, things like fire, explosions, lighting and all of the other effects, seem as if they had a lot of time put into them just to make them look believable. If you are interested in knowing the process of how the backgrounds were generated here it is: Kronos started out with super detailed 2D sketches, then they render them into 3D and under low-resolution. Later final touches are made and then they are set to run under hi-res for the final version the game. Before I leave of to the gameplay, I want to mention a quick thing: For those who care, Fear Effect has over 600 backgrounds, and I'm guessing that that is the most any game has had.
Although the gameplay may feel like "been there, shot that", but Fear Effect's gameplay is really a breath of fresh air. The camera flow is a lot like Resident Evil's and Dino Crisis', the gameplay in general is as well. Though it may not be shooting zombies or skeletons, the navigation is pretty close to the RE series. You start out as Hana at the beginning of the game, you make your way through roofs and such, until some story twisting events occur, you are later forced to play as Glas, Hana's partner you now have to get Hana out of a few sticky situations. Along both of their journeys you face bosses and pretty mindless enemies. Which now leads me to another topic in the gameplay, the AI in FE is pretty stupid. You can shoot pass them and they won't suspect a thing. Compared to AI from Syphon Filter and Metal Gear Solid, FE's AI hasn't even graduated pre-school yet. Although when they spot you, they will fire at you with excellent accuracy. The plot in my mind is pretty inimitable, although you may have seen a plot like this before it is really the setting that makes me say this. I wouldn't want to ruin the story for anyone so I'm deciding not to describe it for you, but I will describe the setting. You are in Hong-Kong (the year, is pretty far from now) and the atmosphere of the game is Sci-Fi, hence all of the dramatic sequences (special effects) you will encounter in the game.
Like Capcom's RE series there are puzzles to be solved in this game as well. Some can be so challenging that you will be forced to use a cheat or guide. FE is a pretty squeamish game, tons and tons of blood is squirted all over the place. Besides all of that you have a variety of weapons to choose from, Uzi's, .40 Pistols, Machine Guns, Hand Guns and more. The game spans 4 CD's but most of the space is used for the graphics quality, and the gameplay is hurt by a short replay value.
All of a sudden we see so many games with voice acting spawning out everywhere. I won't mention many, but some of the few are Tomba 2, Alundra2, and Syphon Filter 2. It look as if this phase is being recognized by developers and is now being used in other games as well. FE sports some top-notch voice acting, there isn't a slight show of breakup and the voices manage to keep up and they don't stray, so late timing is not an issue. Sound effect that come from, say the gunshots are quite good, you can hear everything from the gunshot to the wasted bullet falling to the ground. The sounds of the environments are great too, looks like Kronos put some time into the sound effects as well.
The control is very similar to Resident Evil's. You have to hold the up button and move using the right and left buttons. Since games with this type of control scheme don't come too often, I had a hard time adjusting to the movement and layout of the control, but you RE freaks should get acquainted in no time. It took me a good half hour to get used to the controls fully, but once that task is done all is fine.
Fear Effect is Eidos' best creation so far, the only game that can compare visually is Final Fantasy 8. The gameplay like I said is a definite "breath of fresh air", a suspenseful, thrilling, unique game that will grab hold of you and never let go. Every second of Fear Effect must be savored, because the game doesn't last as long as current games do today. Give it a week or so and you'll be done. But still nothing should stop you from purchasing Fear Effect.