Friday
Apr132018

QCF: Fear Effect Sedna

This review was freelanced by Jon McAnally. You can find more reviews and articles written by him over at https://dontfeedthegamers.com/author/jonmcanally/Follow me on the Twitterverse @McAnallyJon

fter a seventeen year chasm in time, the Fear Effect crew is back. Back in the late 90's/early 2000's, the Fear Effect saga brought players to a cyberpunk world full of espionage, digital terrorism, and a unique story brought together by the team of Hana, Glas, Rain, and Deke. While the original title and its sequel, Retro Helix, may serve as a nostalgic gaming experience, there were some major imperfections as far as gameplay and controls. Fear Effect Sedna comes jam-packed with the nostalgia, but is the gameplay overhaul better than what its predecessors could do?

Boasted as a "tactical strategy" title by indie developers, Sushee, Fear Effect Sedna keeps the cyberpunk ambiance, dark humor, and the characters from the original series, but with an entirely different style of gameplay. Instead of the fixed security camera-style angles of the previous games, Sedna is now a fixed top view, reminiscent of Diablo. This may feel like a completely different experience, but the level design and atmosphere hold true to the classic PS1 setting. Dingy rooms, neon lights, and an overall aesthetic that lets you feel like you can smell the despair that will have Fear Effect fans feeling right at home in the latest addition.

Unfortunately, the new style of gameplay doesn't necessarily make it better. It's hard to really consider Fear Effect Sedna as a true tactical strategy game. Players are given the "Paused Tactical" mode, in which you can pause and send your characters to various vantage points for cover and/or attacks, then unpausing and letting them loose. The problem with this lies within the artificial (not so) intelligence. Using the Pause Tactical mode is more of a gamble than it is a strategy. Often times the characters would just approach a cover spot and instead of taking cover, would just stand there watching the enemies shoot them until they've fallen. As you can imagine, this tends to be quite frustrating and deems the feature useless.

Each character has their own set of special skills that make them "unique" in combat, but throughout my playthrough, I kept forgetting they were there. The special skills don't offer up too many advantages, with a few obvious exceptions such as boss fights. Overall, none of the characters really felt that different from one another.

I can deal with sloppy AI, less-than-perfect controls, and repetitive actions in a game as long as I can connect with the story and the characters, and to some credit, the story in itself isn't terrible. It's predictable, and at times comical, but the voice acting in Sedna is cringe-worthy at best. Every line sounds like it is being read by different variations of Siri and Alexa. While I do try to find the good in every situation, this right here made me want to play the entire game on mute—it's that bad.

The one aspect I enjoyed above all else in fear Effect Sedna are the puzzles. Just as with the previous titles, Sedna is full of various puzzles for players to master before progressing further into each level. One of the key features of these puzzles is that they force you to scope out your surroundings. Clues will be left on the walls as signs, tapestries, and even graffiti at times. The puzzles are all unique, for the most part, and if you fail, you die, which adds an extra edge to the puzzle solving. For me, the puzzles are Fear Effect Sedna's saving grace.

I know it seems like I've ripped this game to shreds, and I did, but it is far from a perfect game. Will I play it again?—probably not. Was it worth a single playthrough?—sure. As I mentioned before, the puzzles are unique and can give you a run for your money, if you're into that sort of thing—if you're a dedicated fan of the PS1 titles, play Sedna if only for the sake of nostalgia, but don't go expecting any game of the year awards.

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