I guess I'm a sucker because I tend to believe people when they tell me things and I lend friends money and I'm under the impression that just being a good guy is going to get me some loving broad in the long run. Worst of all, however, is this insane notion I have that video games are as valid an art form as books, movies, television, and the backs of cereal boxes (Urkel O's brought a tear to my eye).
I'm not entirely wrong, I don't think. Video games can be art, at least in a conceptual sense. I firmly believe that Katamari Damacy introduced an idea that could not be explored as well in any other medium than video games (the idea of rolling lots of crap up into a ball). More recently, Shadow of the Colossus did a pretty good job of making a video game experience seem sort of epic, in a way quite different to that of like that Gladiator movie or something.
This is all well and good but what I'm looking for here is story. I truly do not believe I have played a game in which I thought at the end, "Wow that was an amazing STORY that CHANGED my LIFE PHENOMENALLY." There are games that hint at such greatness but are ultimately ruined by some weakness in the storytelling, some just plain crappy writing, or, as is often the case with RPGs, wayyyyy too many elements are added, convoluting what at first had been a much smarter, more sensical storyline.
Beyond Good & Evil is a very good game that touted some kind of wacky story with twists and turns and cover-ups and crap. In reality, you found out who the enemy was fairly early in the game and that was basically as far as the twists went (except for some weird plot point about shooting people bam zoom straight to the moon). Final Fantasy VII was an incredible game. I was into the storyline when it was all centered around the city of Midgar but by the end of the game I barely even knew what the shit was going on. What is Cloud even? A monkey or something? Some kind of monkey? I don't get it.
All I'm saying is I've yet to be so attached to a character that I really, REALLY care about what's going to happen to them by the time I finish the game. In the end it's more about just wanting to beat the game because, well, that's how they work. I'll be honest, to mention Shadow of the Colossus again, I think it was most recently the game that I was most interested in what was going on right near the end. Still, a bunch of weird "oohh I have to interpret this for myself" stuff screws it up just a bit. I don't mind interpreting things for myself but, still, some of it is just like "uh?"
With all that said, we come to this game, which is called Fahrenheit everywhere except in America where it's called Indigo Damacy because the word "fahrenheit" makes people remember other things and that's not good at all. No, my my, no.
This game is basically riding entirely on its story and it's been getting rather good reviews as such. There have been mentions of the game's third act being a little...flimsy but that's about all. Well, you know what? I disagree. This game FUCKING BLOWS.
I HATE THIS GAME because it's getting away with a reputation of having a "mature storyline" when the storyline is anything but. It starts out with a fairly okay premise about some guy, in some kind of trance, murdering some other guy in a public bathroom. Too bad it doesn't go anywhere good with it.
The problems aren't just in the third act. I was already wary when very early in the game I was suddenly running from GIANT MAGICAL DUST MITES. Or a little later when I brought the main character back to his apartment and proceeded to have to deal with a VERY drawn-out action sequence in which massive gusts of wind blow through the apartment and LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE FUCKING THING THE MAN OWNS FLIES AT HIM ONE ITEM AT A TIME. OH NO! I DO NOT WANT TO GET HIT IN THE FACE WITH A BOOK!!!
This game was written and directed by David Cage, some foreigner with a hilarious accent. I'm not sure what the accent is. Foreignese maybe. I think I now know why video game stories suck. Because they're often written by people involved with video games and, hey, NONE OF YOU KNOW HOW TO WRITE. David Cage SUCKS and he's SOOO fucking proud of what he's done with this game he seems to think it's going to spark some kind of goddamn video game renaissance. He puts a 3D version of himself in the game telling you stuff and includes a lengthy intro in the manual that includes lines like "I HOPE THIS POOPGAME GETS A SMALL PLACE IN YOUR HEART ALONGSIDE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS AND MOVIE AND CHANGES THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT VIDEO GAMES AND MAKES YOU RECONSIDER SUICIDE." NO. If anything, this game serves as a good example of how NOT to try and make a story-driven game.
There's so much nonsense to pick out of the story (I'm going to ruin things from it now but, trust me, you don't care) that it's really too easy. For example, the way an evil computer program is randomly introduced and tries to take control of your mind or the way the main character's girlfriend dies and he never even thinks to mention her again or the way two of the main characters spark a love interest with NO LEADUP TO THIS WHATSOEVER or when it suddenly blatantly rips off the final fight scene from the worst Matrix movie (the third one) or, hey, THE UNDERGROUND NETWORK OF HOMELESS PEOPLE WHO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THE SECRETS OF UNIVERSE. Yes, that's right! This game justifies homeless people! They aren't hungry and without shelter, they're just part of a secret society! So it's okay!
So the story is a shit but there are more subtle things that just display what a crap sense of things in general David Cage has. Tyler, one of the main (and yet mostly useless) characters is a black guy. BUT HEY. I CAN'T TELL FROM THE COLOR PALETTE YOU GUYS USED THAT HE'S A BLACK MAN. YOU GOT ANYTHING ELSE FOR ME?! Yes, how about the fact that every time Tyler arrives on the scene loud funk music BLARES, often drowning out dialogue and other sounds until you move to a new area. Or, hey, how does Tyler calm down? Why, by playing around with the basketball in his office! Of course nigga likes basketball! Shiii...! Lastly, there's the fact that Tyler's apartment is decorated like the 70's never ended with tie-die, psychadellic crap and lava lamps everywhere. Ah, the 70's! Where the black man was king!
I also like David Cage's idea of how the average woman functions. How do you get Lucas' (main character, by the way) ex-girlfriend to do the nasty with him!? Booze 'er up a bit, tell her you miss her, and then PLAY THE GUITAR FOR HER. Another one of my favorites is Carla's (other main character) gay neighbor who is written totally like a straight guy who thought "WOW, I UNDERSTAND HOW HARD IT IS FOR GAY PEOPLE TO GAY IT UP AS THEY DO." "OHHH I THOUGHT PEOPLE IN NEW YORK WERE OPEN-MINDED" whines the cookie-cutter homosexual! I'm not saying I could write a gay guy better but if I found it was coming out this shitty, I probably wouldn't even try!
As for gameplay...what fucking gameplay?!? The wacky system that was invented for this game that David Cage and family are just sooooooo proud of is supposed to make you feel like you're part of a movie. It doesn't. It feels boring and stupid. You're mostly stuck doing mundane tasks with the characters. For a second it feels fun and different because, I guess, you've never really played anything like it (unless this is what The Sims is like but I've never played that so I can't say). Oooh, make your character go potty, make him wash his hands, make him look in the mirror, make him take his medication, and so forth. DAMN, WHAT FUN.
Supposedly, you have freedom to do all these things because the game can go in so many different directions based on your decisions. BULLSHIT. There is an illusion of choice and nothing more. What you do only affects the story minutely and in the end you can only get three endings (each almost exactly alike to the other) and which one you get depends on what you do in the last FIVE MINUTES OF THE GAME.
The mundane tasks are all the more fun when you are FORCED TO DO THEM. Like this one part with an old lady. "Go to the kitchen and get the matches and then go get some candles from that cabinet and bring them over here and put them all in ONE AT A TIME and light them ONE AT A TIME. Now that that's done TURN OFF THE LIGHTS and CLOSE THE SHADES." Or Tyler's part where his wife tells him "GET SOME GLASSES AND POUR US SOME CHAMPAGNE FROM THE FRIDGE and PREHEAT THE OVEN." You actually have to walk around performing ALL OF THESE LITTLE TASKS. HOLY SHIT. TALK ABOUT IMMERSION.
By the way, I don't see anybody mentioning it anywhere else but, personally, I've found the control to be SHIT. The game, at least when played with a PS2 controller, can't seem to decide whether it wants the controls to be character-oriented or camera-oriented. This led to me running into walls A LOT whenever the camera angle changed and usually giving up trying to maneuver out of the situation and instead coming to a complete stop so everything could "reset" and pushing forward actually made me go forward again.
When you aren't walking around doing NOTHING, you're engaged in garbage action sequences in which, once again, you have no real control. These action scenes are far too awesome for you to actually be involved in so, instead, you have to do some kind of crappy Simon rhythm game. No, Simon, really. A little display which looks like two Simons (complete with the red, yellow, blue, and green colors) comes up in the middle of the screen telling you which way to point the analog sticks (or whatever it is you're playing with). While this is happening, some crrrrrrrrazzzy action sequence will be going on in the background, not that you can pay attention to it because you'll be too preoccupied PLAYING SIMON. It basically boils down to being a glorified version of Dragon's Lair and at least that game looked like a cartoon. Other times, you rapidly jam on two triggers (like L1 and R1 on the PS2 controller) in order to simulate doing some sort of strenuous activity. This was NEVER fun. I'll tell you what was not simulated...MY BOREDOM! GUFFAW!!!!
Here's the cat again.
What does this game have going for it? The voice acting is basically fine except for an old woman who doesn't sound like an old woman and an Asian guy who doesn't sound Asian (although it turns out he's actually supposed to be faking it so I guess it's okay) and the composed music is fairly good, albeit you hear the same themes repeated far too many times throughout. The other music is done by a band that sounds like every crappy angst band you've heard. Staind, Creed, and...I dunno...Crapface must have been too high profile for this game because we ended up with THEORY OF A DEAD MAN. Anyhow, they're completely indistinguishable from every other crap band with an annoying guy whining that's out there today and they suck.
Other than that, when the game IS being fairly simple, it has a dark, moody feeling to it that works pretty well. The opening in the diner is probably the best thing in the whole game, stylistically and everything else, and since you can obtain the demo (which is just the diner part) of the game from the "internet," I suggest you do that if you're curious and then never think of this game again.
Oh yeah, if you do get a non-American version of the game, you get to see some 3D boobs and ass as there are two sex scenes that were cut from the American one, due to all that silly Hot Coffee hoopla. I actually got this version and I'm sure it won't look like anything except me being way too interested in seeing some 3D animated porn, but since I had heard this game had a great storyline, I actually wanted to see it as it was originally intended. I know, I actually expected something worthwhile, which once again leads to me being a sucker and all that. That said, don't worry about the sex. It's good for a laugh and that's about it.
It's not fair to review a game based on the hype it built up for itself but, frankly, maybe David Cage and his jerkteam shouldn't be so quick to open their mouths when they end up with garbage like this. Otherwise they will face the consequences LIKE MY OVERLY LONG ANGRY REVIEW ON LISTENTOME.NET! POWER!!!!!!!! However, I am not just reviewing based on hype.
The storyline is so bad and so stupid and disjointed that I wasn't so much upset by how it had all gone sour by the end as I was just completely disinterested because it was so screwed up at that point that it almost felt like there had been no story to begin with. The notion of having choices in the game was mildly cool until I figured out that they made no damn difference. The gameplay seemed kind of interesting at first until I realized it was just stupid and I wasn't really having fun. All in all, there's just no real reason to play this game.
This game does not have a good story and, although I guess it's trying, it does not feel like a movie. If you want a game that feels like playing through a movie, get Resident Evil 4. The plot for that game is complete trash but at least it's fun, goddammit.
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