raidingkvatch's Indigo Prophecy [Xbox Originals] (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

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Fahrenheit: The exciting review

Firstly the only difference between the North American Indigo Prophecy and Fahrenheit is the title (apparently the North American market was deemed too stupid not to confuse the game with the Michael Moore documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, which is, quite frankly ridiculous).

If you are the type of person that likes mindless shoot-em up arcade style games, such as Black, Fahrenheit is probably not for you. It is an intelligent action/adventure puzzle game, with a cinematic twist (referred to by developers Quantic Dream as an "interactive movie").

Fahrenheit is the story of IT technician Lucas Kane, who, after going to the bathroom in a New York diner, finds himself standing over a gruesome murder scene with the bloody knife in his hands. The player is given the choice of how much, or little to clean up the murder scene. Every interaction mirrors the movement of the character, for example when mopping up the blood on the floor the player must move the right thumb-stick from side to side. The player must make decisions for Lucas and how he will deal with his conscience, as well as covering up his crime to prevent him from getting arrested.

Parallel to the story of Lucas is the investigation of the murder by detectives Carla Valenti, who is very serious and married to her job, and Tyler Miles, much more easy-going and fun-loving than Carla. Decisions made while playing as Lucas directly affect the Carla/Tyler storyline; depending on how well Lucas has covered up the murder in the diner Carla and Tyler’s job can become much simpler, or more difficult.

The gameplay focuses almost entirely on the thumb-sticks, and almost entirely ignores the face buttons. According to designer David Cage thumb-stick prevalence was intended to increase immersion and make the player feel more like they actually performing the action, rather than just commanding a character. It achieves this effectively.

Fahrenheit also features scripted action set-pieces which rely on reflexes. Diagrams representing the thumb-sticks are super-imposed over the action. Using different colours these diagrams demonstrate sequences of control inputs, which the player must imitate to survive the scene. Each character has a Mental Health Meter which represents the mental state of the characters; different actions drain or fill this bar depending the consequences and how the character responds to them. If the meter reaches empty (Wrecked) it spells game over: Lucas either kills himself or turns himself in and Tyler and Carla will turn in their badges.

Stylistically the game is very cinematic featuring a large amount of motion-capture animation to realistically portray the action. It also employs the use of split screen shots, of a similar ilk to the thriller genre, in particular 24.

Without wanting to give anything away, I will say that that by the final third of Fahrenheit the plot starts to move very fast and somewhat incoherently, making it a little difficult to understand what has happened by the time you reach one of the three endings.

Despite the confusing nature of the plot towards the end of the game Fahrenheit still features innovative gameplay, is very visually interesting and has an interesting and gripping, if somewhat confusing, plot. It is easily worth the 800 MP you would spend downloading to your 360, in fact I thought it was well worth the £35 I spent on it when it first came out for the Xbox.

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