By DevWil 18 Comments
I just finished playing Indigo Prophecy. Well, Fahrenheit, to be totally accurate. Now, seeing as this is a blog on a website about video games, I'm going to espouse my opinions of said video game.
I really didn't like it!
I completed it in basically one sitting, so it had my attention for a good while. Most of the time I wasn't way into it, but I was certainly interested in seeing how things turned out.
Here comes the part where I spoil a six-year-old game.
Things turn out super lame! I'd heard from various sources that the story takes a really crazy and fantastical turn, but that's not exactly how I would describe it, I don't think. You can tell from the very beginning that it's going to be a supernatural thriller, so I was game for all sorts of magic, sci-fi, whatever. But I totally wasn't game for a boring, poorly written supernatural... adventure?
First thing's first: ignore that Tyler Miles was ever in the game. That's certainly how the ending of the game treats him. He practically only exists to be the black detective who plays basketball, listens to funk, and decides whether or not to move to Florida with his girlfriend. Okay, that's a bit reductive. Regardless, I decided to have him stay in New York City and keep being a cop, but it was totally meaningless because I didn't see him again for the rest of the game. He doesn't die or anything; he just sort of isn't mentioned again even though he was one of the three most important characters for the majority of your time with the game. He doesn't help Carla any longer, and I don't think it was ever really made clear why. If there was a reason, it definitely wasn't a good one.
Before that, however, Tyler and Carla are NYPD detectives who are trying to solve the murder that Lucas Kane is apparently guilty of. The player is put in a fairly interesting situation, as you're keeping the suspect away from the authorities when you control Lucas, but you're also trying to track him down when playing as Tyler and/or Carla. That is, until the end of the game.
By the end of the game, you're just trying to save the world (OH HOW ORIGINAL). You (as Lucas) are no longer a fugitive on the run, and Carla is no longer interested in having you arrested. She's awfully interested in your penis, though. Completely out of nowhere, she decides that she wants to have sex with you the night before your (anticlimactic) final encounter with the moustache-twirling forces of evil. She wants to have sex with you in a subway car where homeless people live. Did I mention that you're a zombie? No. I didn't. You're undead, and you're so cold that your breath doesn't make water vapor condense in front of your mouth.
I'm not a woman, but I don't think many women would be turned on by an ice-cold corpse in a hobo's makeshift shelter.
This is also one of the more graphic sex scenes in video game history. It's no hardcore porn, but you see Carla's breasts (nipple included) and I wouldn't say it's especially romantic. I'm not scandalized; I actually think that there need to be more games with sex in them for games to develop into a more mature medium. However, when it's a previously-independent-minded woman just absolutely needing to get it on with a zombie man because he's got a chance to save humanity the next day, it's not progressive at all. It makes games look even more like sophomoric nonsense. When mediocre comic books have better writing than games that focus on their story... we're in bad shape.
Oh! You also don't have a choice in the matter. It's video game rape. Yes. I said it. Video game rape. Now, before the boys roll their eyes and the girls yell at me for trivializing rape, hear me out. The game forces sex upon your female (player controlled) character. I think it's less than crazy to call that rape. After you fix a radio in one of the game's many poor attempts at real gameplay, your only remaining option (other than let the game idle indefinitely) is to sleep with Lucas. There's an empty mattress in a neighboring car, but no: you have to press down on the analog stick and get down with an undead dick. But he's magical hero something so whatever yay humanity!
So the sex is awful in Fahrenheit, but what about the gameplay? Yeah, that's bad too. It's mostly oddly complicated quick-time events that really feel like they're only there to make sure that you're still awake. There are some puzzles here and there too, but they're not good. Sniffing around a crime scene is kind of fun, I guess, but overall it's not fun.
I bought Heavy Rain a few weeks ago, and wanted to play Fahrenheit as a lead-in to it. Man, I hope (and expect) that it's way better. I was impressed by the demo. I felt like it was really immersive, actually. However, I won't be completely surprised if it's just as lame as a whole and the story is about how there's a flood coming to take out all of humanity.
(But Quantic Dream can't really be that shamelessly awful, can they?? Please don't spoil Heavy Rain for me, even if I should return it while it's still in the shrink-wrap.)
P.S. Lucas Kane reminded me a lot of Francis York Morgan.
P.P.S. One thing I did appreciate about the story in Fahrenheit was that there was a gay character, and it totally wasn't a big deal that he was gay. He's just Carla's gay neighbor, and they're friends. He's not the butt of gay jokes; he's not giving Carla a makeover; he's just a dude who likes dudes and drinks wine with the cop lady across the hall.
Edit: Well, then. 25 user reviews have this game averaging at 3.7/5.0 on this site. Bracing for blowback.