- Game: Fear Effect Sedna
- Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC
- Publisher: Forever Entertainment
- Developer: Sushee
Review copy supplied by the publisher.
If there’s one past franchise I would have never expected to see make a comeback, it’s Fear Effect. The original release, plus its sequel Retro Helix, graced the PlayStation One and provided gamers with a unique take on third-person action games. Developer Sushee and publisher Forever Entertainment have brought the series back from the dead with the introduction of Fear Effect Sedna, a decidedly different series installment that focuses on top-down mercenary action. This thematic gameplay change tries to present Fear Effect in an interesting way, but a litany of issues doesn’t do this franchise revival any favors.
Fear Effect Sedna marks the return of Hana, Rain, and their team of fellow mercenaries. Their sole mission focuses on retrieving an ancient statue from a Chinese politician, but things take a turn for the strange when paranormal elements spring up during their international travels. The cutscenes and overall visual presentation of this new series entry maintains the cel-shaded look fans still highly regard. It’s great to see that the franchise’s signature look has been retained – it gives the game its own flavor and sets it apart from a sea of games that adopt generic art styles. When it’s time to get to work on your team’s main objective, the action unfolds across a variety of maps from a top-down perspective. You’ll usually take control of a sole character or multiple mercenaries as you stealthily eliminate or shoot down baddies and solve a bunch of puzzles. The puzzles themselves can be quite punishing, so expect to watch those annoying death animations far too many times. These head scratcher sequences are some of the toughest puzzles I’ve encountered this gen. While my patience grew thin with repeated attempts at solving each puzzle, I felt extremely gratified at finally discovering their solutions. Some of them even manage to be more fun than frustrating, too.
Taking down the opposition during each mission isn’t as fun as the mechanics utilized during the first two Fear Effect games. Picking off enemies with a one-hit stealth kill works well, but the shooting itself is completely lackluster. Each character may come up with their weaponry and sub-tools, but the enemy encounters don’t get any more interesting even though they’re a part of your arsenal. A tactical mode pauses the action and lets you set up your moves via strategy RPG maneuvering, but you’ll rarely use it since its mechanics are poorly explained. You’re much better off placing your bets on running in with your guns blazing instead of wasting your time by setting up your moves beforehand. Losing health breaks down your character’s fear meter, which increases your attack power but decreases your accuracy. This mechanic works so much better with the gameplay style the series is more known for instead of this change to top-down mechanics.
Fear Effect Sedna isn’t exactly the comeback series veterans have been waiting for. The top-down viewpoint change isn’t an issue, but the lackluster shooting and gimp tactical mode prevents the action from being amusing in any way. It’s satisfying to see that the cel-shaded art style returns along with the familiar mercenaries the Fear Effect series pushes into the fray. The more masochistic crowd of gamers out there will get a kick out of the formidable puzzles and vicious death cutscenes. The pure mediocrity of the rest of the game doesn’t do enough to make it a worthy recommendation, however.
- The cel-shaded visuals shine
- While tough, the puzzles provide a great sense of accomplishment upon completion
- The tactical mode is practically useless
- The shooting segments feel unsatisfying
- The novelty of the death animations wears off pretty quickly
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