An engaging murder mystery stumbles its way into paranormal madness.
Format: PlayStation 2, PC/Windows [Remastered Edition]
Original Release Date: 2005
Genre: Interactive Movie / Action-Adventure
Synopsis: Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy is the game that slapped studio ‘Quantic Dream’ on the map. With this PlayStation 2 title, they both successfully crafted a good non-linear narrative and threw a decent budget toward a genre that had once previously been trivial, commercially unsuccessful and frankly cheesier than an order made at Dan’s ‘Gosh Darn Cheeseburgor’ company.
You play Lucas Kane, a seemingly regular guy with a decent job in New York City. However, he has a moment of madness in the restroom of a diner, enters a trance and randomly attacks an innocent man, stabbing him to death. After this gruesome event, you must then take control of Lucas and clear up the crime scene before leaving undetected, so you can begin to figure out how on earth this all happened…
Clearing up the crime scene as Lucas, kicks Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy (FIP) off to a tense and thrilling beginning. You get the strong feeling Lucas didn’t intend for this happen, so you start by complying and helping him cover things up. Lucas leaves behind a sea of DNA and blood spatter before escaping to later meet with Lucas’ brother — a principled priest — in the hope of figuring out what may of come over him that night.
FIP is controlled like an interactive movie and therefore doesn’t contain the usual mechanics typically associated with third-person action-adventure titles. Other than navigating the 3D world, your options of interaction are simplified to either examining objects in the environment, or engaging in conversations with others. This means that the title heavily relies on being carried by strong storytelling and its very particular control system, to help make you feel like your real-world interactions mimic that of the character. For instance, climbing a pipe might simulate a swirl out to top left on your left analogue stick to imitate the left arm reaching up, or frantically rattling the stick left and right to mop a stain. This offering of mild immersion works well for the most part, but its lack of precision is ultimately damaging and offers up nothing but frustration in its trickier stealth scenes.
Lucas spends a large portion of the game keeping a low profile and hiding from the authorities whilst inching closer to the answers he so desperately needs. Fortunately, you also get to play as two detectives — Carla and Tyler — both investigating Lucas’ crime. This is great as it gives you an extra skew on the storyline and showcases how Lucas’ actions have affected others in this world. Playing as Carla or Tyler, you can easily enter an overall dilemma as you complete your detective work of searching databases, drawing up composites of the killer and finding crucial clues and evidence… Should you or should you not purposefully jeopardise your mission to buy Lucas some extra time? I found myself deliberately screwing up as Carla once in a while, in the hope that this would greatly affect the story. Spoilers: it doesn’t. Still, once Carla, Tyler and Lucas come together – it creates in my opinion, one of the more well-written and tense scenes in the game, as Lucas tries to evade a barrage of tough questions.
FIP loves to throw in the odd Quick Time Event to pick up the pace and throw some extra challenge your way for action-filled scenes. At first it’s mostly used sporadically, but once you pass the halfway mark, it becomes relentless. A Quick Time Event makes sense when dodging, fighting or even when Lucas picks up the guitar in his apartment to strum some Blues rock. But for seemingly calm conversations, it feels out of place and has you fully focused on a far-too-intense game of Simon Says, rather than absorbing another helping of what later becomes a wild and twisted plot. Thankfully, they had really improved and updated the QTE system come PlayStation 3’s Heavy Rain.
Despite the story getting itself in a bit of a tangled mess, FIP has truly great moments and is therefore well worth your time, especially if you’re already a fan of Heavy Rain and/or Beyond Two Souls. Where the game really shines is with some of its characters: Carla plays out through most of the game as a very strong and independent female who’s head is firmly on her shoulders, looking to get the job done and keep the NYC streets a safe place, Tyler is her trusted partner and he fully supports Carla through the investigations and Lucas is so determined to resolve his issues that you end up glad you joined all three of them for the ride.
- Timed scenes with split-screen perspectives create fantastic tension
- A story you will want to see through till the end
- Lucas and Carla are great playable characters
- Polygonal sex
- The Quick Time Events get a bit ridiculous
- Controls are a poor fit for the tough flashback sequences
- Entirely possible to achieve a ‘Game Over’ screen, rather than continue the game based on first decisions
- Story completely de-rails, creating plot holes endorsed by the Grand Canyon
It’s worth playing for the mechanics and interactivity that was unique for its time, and then it’s worth sticking with for the characters themselves. Grab the re-mastered version for PC/Mac and appreciate the foundations for what then later became Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls.
- Lucas apparently knows expert-level kung-fu, y’know
- The oracle, the indigo child, Agatha and a geometric yellow humanoid all add to the madness
- I will always treat my furniture with the respect it deserves
- Drinking Game: Watch a video of David Cage talking and take a sip each time he utters the word ’emotion’