The first thing I have to state; Fahrenheit is not the game you are expecting. All the previews and video footage would have you believe the title plays out like a high-octane psychological-action-thriller protagonist to Resident Evil’s psycho-analytical horror reaper – rooms seemingly viewed at a pre-set angle containing all manner of puzzles to either be solved or avoided. Well Fahrenheit does put the emphasis on the puzzle-based environment, but not in the way you’d think.
The title is an interactive film. You may have heard this statement before and, regardless of my reluctance to label games in such a regimented fashion, the tag-line comes with ease with Fahrenheit. The comparisons to the Resident Evil franchise are predictable, and none more so than the renovations the series has seen with Resident Evil 4. Though it’s inescapable that Fahrenheit uses the same sense of interactive story-telling with its strong play-lead narrative and character-focussed interaction, I would consistently defy any comments in reflection of play between the two.
The title plays through a series of scenes, with our preview code limited to only the first, within which your character has an objective to complete, in which ever fashion you should choose. Interaction with your environment is placed by simply flicking the right Analogue Stick in the desired direction when the icon representing that action appears at the top of your screen. The first scene places you in a diner in what appears to be a Fahrenheit offering of a small section of Manhattan . You’ve just committed a gruesome murder in the toilets and regain your consciousness just in time to realise that any second someone will come walking in through that washroom door – time to get busy.
Mopping-up blood and removing bodies is all fine and dandy – but is restricted to some degree by the emotion-based meter in the bottom left of the screen. For each action either you or anther character commits the meter will either increase or decrease affecting your characters state-of-play. To what extent this meter will either help or hinder your progress is currently very far from clear, however the minor differences seen in the basic avatar are at least a nice effect.
Fahrenheit has the makings of a game poised to destroy all preconceptions and move forward the seemingly newly-founded movie-game genre leaps and bounds with the solitary release. However, with the usual interpretation of finished titles such as this extraordinary new venture from ATARI coming as half-baked approaches to a stylish piece of work, only time will tell if Fahrenheit becomes as exceptional as its initial conception, or falls into the territory of sorely missed opportunities.