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Fear Effect Sedna

Posted by GG Goblin On March - 13 - 2018

A sequel 17 years in the making.

 
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we live in a time of videogame remakes and remasters. Much as I enjoy the occasional dip back into a favorite game from the past, it really does feel like there is a lack of new ideas at the moment, or that developers and publishers want to make as much money as possible with the least effort. Still, at least developers Sushee have tried something new, albeit latching their idea onto an already existing series from more than a few years back.

 
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Fear Effect Sedna is, for anyone who was around in the glorious days of the original PlayStation console, a sequel to the well known Fear Effect games. It has been some 17 years since the last Fear Effect game, so it would be no surprise that many gamers would not have heard of the series. The original Fear Effect games played like Resident Evil, but had a more futuristic setting that mixed technology with the supernatural. The gameplay was okay, but the Fear Effect games were more likely known for the relationship between the two female protagonists, Hana and Rain.

 
Sushee’s offering with Fear Effect Sedna really is very different from the original games, but follows that future meets past theme by dropping Hana and Rain into a story that sees them taking on a job that inevitably goes pear-shaped and ends up with a whole chunk of Inuit mythology being dropped on the player. It is not a bad tale, and the mix between old and new is not something we see that often as gamers. However, this halfway decent story sadly serves as the highlight of the the game overall.

 
Fear Effect Sedna is played as an isometric real-time strategy game, which I have absolutely no problem with. Players will be controlling up to four members of the team at any one time, and can switch between them at will with a press of the button. Characters have different abilities that will be needed over and over again, so players will find themselves jumping between them at an alarming rate, especially when the action kicks off. When it comes to the shooting, of which there is a lot, the characters control much like in a twin-stick shooter. It makes the game seem more difficult than it should, especially with the enemy AI having really impressive aiming. That being said, a healthy supply of med-kits does mean that this higher difficulty will present few problems to most players.

 
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There is an option for stealth in the game, with characters being able to sneak around and stay out of view, getting behind enemies and taking them out with little effort. The problem is though that once the enemy catch a glimpse of the characters, that impressive precision comes into play again and any chance of stealth is completely lost.

 
There is also a more tactical option, with the player able to pause the game and issue commands. Up to three actions can be given to each character, allowing players to plan their moves to a certain degree. The thing is, using this method really does break the immersion and, especially when the team gets larger, it all becomes quite dull.

 
The other side of the game comes from the puzzles, and believe me when I say that some of them really are tricky. The puzzles are quite fun, and vary well to give the player something different each time. Some are easier than others, but they are all quite welcome to offer a break from the unimpressive combat. The only problem is that many of the puzzles are designed so that failure is an option, which inevitably leads to a game over screen and then a reload. It’s frustrating and takes away the joy of working through a complex puzzle.

 
The visuals are quite nice, but the fixed isometric view does make for some awkward moments during gameplay. And why, oh why is everything so small? Not just the view of the gameplay, but even the UI. I found myself having to keep running up to about six inches from the screen to see the little icons (yes, I probably need glasses – but they really are small!). The Fear Effect, which is the gameplay mechanic that gave the game its title, is barely noticeable. The idea is that when the characters get scared, they do more and take more damage. But for the majority of the time, this effect is so easy to ignore or manage that it almost becomes forgotten. Oh, and I am not even going to mention the voice-acting…

 
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Fear Effect Sedna looks good, has an interesting story and fun puzzles. But there are just too many problems with the rest of the game to give this a recommendation. I suppose if you were a fan of the original games, it might be a thrill to see Hana and Rain again. But the changes to the gameplay from the originals will likely even put the fans off. There is some game here to enjoy, but finding it will mean overlooking a lot of frustrations.

 

 ★★★★½☆☆☆☆☆ 



 

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