Fear Effect: Sedna is the product of the “Square Enix Collective” which allowed indie studio Sushee to develop a new Fear Effect title using a Kickstarter. This is great news for fans of the original games released back on the Playstation 1 as this is the first new title in the series since 2001. Will this game reignite the series flame or leave it’s cult fans lay in fear of the future? Read on to find out!.
Fear Effect: Sedna is set some 4 years after the original Fear Effect, once again this follows the exploits of Hana & Rain as they end up taking on a mission to steal an Artefact. Naturally because it’s a game and it’s Fear Effect, the mission doesn’t quite go to plan and the team end up globe trotting, fighting mercs and other unmentionable nasties.
The story in Fear Effect: Sedna is one that I personally found quite enjoyable, I haven’t much history with the series so I can’t really compare to previous entries but I found myself quite taken with it. The mix between cyberpunk and mythology was something I especially enjoyed and the cast were all well written, especially Hana & Rain who from all reports have had some “exploits” in the past.
Usually after discussing story elements we go on to talk about Graphics and art style, I’m going to break that rule for this one as I feel talking about the audio is the perfect lead on.
The audio side of Fear Effect: Sedna isn’t too great, especially the weak voice acting which actually negatively impacts on the story. The lines are delivered with little to no enthusiasm and feels like it was made up of some of the rejects from a B-Movie special. The music is just pure background sound offering little in the way of memorable or moving tracks. When you deal with Cyberpunk I personally feel audio is a huge factor in creating that ambience, this unfortunately has been more than missed here.
Stylistically the game is a marvel, it fuses Cyberpunk and ancient mythology in an almost seamless way, the stages ooze atmosphere and the camera angle though not everyone’s personal choice is one I think suited for the genre.
The cutscenes are done well and feature well designed cel shaded models. The animation in the cutscenes is quite stiff and almost B-Movie level, the highlight being the many “Death” cutscenes you can trigger throughout the game.
The gameplay in Fear Effect: Sedna is a far cry from it’s roots as a Tank Control, Survival horror lite styled game, it’s now a top down. twin stick shooter/real time strategy hybrid with puzzles. As interesting as this idea sounds, it’s implemented in one of the more confusingly tepid ways & really damages what would of been a fantastic title.
The game allows you to employ stealth, this is achieved by avoiding the enemies sight cones, a standard fare but overall works as it should. The game is also home to some brilliant puzzles, these range from shape puzzles to reading cryptic clues and even bomb difusal, the puzzles are just as good as ever here and they really shine through.
Combat is where the cracks truly shatter this title apart. Despite being top down, rather than employing proper twin stick shooter mechanics it has an awful lock on system which doesn’t always work. The cover system works very rarely and there is no really oomph to the combat causing it to feel like a chore.
As you have up to 4 characters to control you can choose to briefly freeze the game and issue commands to your team, this just doesn’t work, tends to put you in a worse position and feels really under cooked. Fortunately the game sees quite aware of said fact and supplies you with more med kits than most clinics!.
Overall Fear Effect: Sedna is a real missed opportunity that feels hampered by budget restrictions, the story is solid and gripping, the settings are real fantasy fuel and the whole set up just scream homerun, it’s the combat which the game has too much built around that really damages the whole product.
Had a little more work and thought gone into the combat, the bosses and the command issuing, Fear Effect: Sedna would of been in a much stronger position. As it stands it’s a tough game to recommend. hopefully the team learn from this title for the Fear Effect remake and can address the issues here for future titles, they have the blocks here to really bring Fear Effect into this gen of gaming, fingers crossed they are up to the challenge after scraping their knees with this title.