Fear Effect and it’s sequel were breakthrough hits at the turn of the millennium. Releasing late in the life of the original Playstation, they stood out with their stylish cel shaded graphics and sexy bisexual lead character, which was a big deal at the time. And then the series died. 15 years later Square Enix, who inherited the property after buying out Eidos Interactive, put out an open call for expressions of interest in bringing Fear Effect back. A (barely) successful kickstarter followed and last year French developer Sushee shat Fear Effect Sedna out.
So what’s wrong with it? Pretty much everything. We’ll start with the story. Professional mercenaries Hana and Rain find some guy creeping around their Hong Kong apartment and instead of executing him they take a job offer to steal a statue or something from the Chinese Ambassador in Paris. You get there and bump into another member of the mercenary gang and decide to flip to work with the French government or whatever on stopping other statue theft? I dunno but it all ends up in Greenland fighting mythical gods or something. You won’t gain any valuable insights into the nature of man, or even care for one second about anything that is taking place
The cutscnes all look great in screenshots but are animated poorly and written worse. The actors put in their best but can’t do anything with such a jilted script that requires Hana and Rain to allude to their relationship in every scene. We get it, they’re fucking. This is a shame because this initial teaser trailer from the kickstarter, with the band of mercenaries all looking sexy and mysterious, was really promising. Sadly it ended up being better than anything they put in the game.
The actual game itself is super boring. It pitches itself as a kind of tactical action game with an emphasis on exploration but in reality there are no tactics to speak of and all the levels are linear. I guess you have to backtrack to find esoteric clues for the games unsatisfying puzzles and can pickup nondescript collectables to unlock concept art. The game tries to mix things up with action segments, stealth segments and information gathering segments, like early on where you’re disguised as a waiter and have to serve drinks while picking up clues. Each different character you control has a unique attack too and you can switch between them on the fly. It all just falls flat though because the fundamentals are so empty. I’m struggling to even articulate because there’s almost nothing to describe. You just end up in shoot outs with enemies and patch yourself up afterwards. Perhaps it’s the isometric camera that lends a dated, restricted feeling to the whole affair but nothing feels satisfying. Fear Effect Sedna feels like a PC RPG from 20 years ago in its presentation, but lacks all the interesting mechanics and freedom of those games.
I can’t go on. Fear Effect Sedna is enjoying a surge up the charts on the various digital outlets thanks to a heavy discounting the “celebrate” the one year anniversary of it landing with a splat from Sushee’s arsehole. I spent my spare eshop gold coins on it. Don’t make the same mistake.