Yesterday, during the aforementioned Steam Sale, I finally got a good chance to pick up Farenheit – Indigo Prophecy to you American readers that don’t want to get confused with Michael Moore’s movie of the same name. Fahrenheit comes to us from Quantic Dream, the French production studio that’s due to bring us Heavy Rain early next year. Heavy Rain will be a somewhat spiritual successor to Farenheit, but there is no connection between the stories.
Fahrenheit revolves around the tale of 3 New Yorkers in a blizzard and the bizarre sequence of events that bring them all together. First off is Lucas Kane, who finds himself in a diner restroom having just killed a man, but has no recollection of doing so. His tale leads him to try to figure out what happened to him and why he can’t remember the sequence of events leading up to the start of the game. The other two are a police team, Carla Valenti and Tyler Miles, who are sent in to lead the investigation into the murder, but stumble upon something much bigger than they had ever imagined.
Gameplay takes place largely as a series of Quick-Time Events (QTEs), similar to the likes of Shenmue on the Dreamcast if you’ve ever played that. Movement and such is normal, but actions and decisions are controlled by left-clicking and dragging with the mouse in a manner similar to actually mimicking the action itself, like pulling a door handle, opening a cupboard, sitting down, etc. The face buttons are only ever really used for direct action sequences, in which you’re presented on-screen by two games of Simon, and you have to match the button presses to the colours in order to progress. Other events will involve you using left and right to keep your balance, keep breathing steadily, and perform exercises, amongst other things.
Personally I loved the story of it, it was gripping from start to end as you really want to figure out for yourself what’s going on, as it’s never really shown off-camera from an antagonist’s perspective. You feel almost sorry for Lucas that he’s been caught up in the situation that he is in, a common man turned fugitive against his own will, but also feel for Carla and Tyler as they get into a much deeper situation than just a standard murder case, and unravel their own mysteries along the way. I didn’t mind the QTEs although most people see them as a burden on games, they’re executed well here and although that makes everything almost scripted, you can leave things pretty much as you want to, leave clues for the police, or stash them away to cover your trail, and so on. The presentation of the whole package just came off really well for me, the graphics (for an almost 5-year-old title) were great and really helped show the character’s growing sense of tension and fear.
If you’re not a fan of QTEs whatsoever I’d really avoid this game like the plague. Despite its excellent story you’re really not going to enjoy this at all. If, like me, Heavy Rain has caught your eye, but you’re not sure how things will be executed, there’s no better time than now to get it over the holidays when it is going cheap enough, and see for yourself whether it’ll be your cup of tea.
Fahrenheit – Indigo Prophecy in the US – was originally developed by Quantic Dream in 2005 for PS2, Xbox and Windows. It’s also available on the Xbox 360 on the Xbox Originals platform. Played the PC version to completion once, changed the controls a little bit to suit my laptop not having a dedicated numeric keypad.