Retro Corner: Fahrenheit

Heavy Rain, made by French developer Quantic Dream, is probably one of the most revered and innovative titles available for the PlayStation 3 right now. However, very few people know about Fahrenheit; the studio’s main effort for the PS2. And that’s a real shame. Because, without Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain probably wouldn’t exist.

Fahrenheit takes place in New York, where random citizens are becoming possessed and killing innocent strangers for seemingly no reason. The player is put in the shoes of four alternating characters: There’s Lucas Kane, one of the possessed murderers who’s trying to figure out what happened to him; Lucas’ brother (a priest named Markus), and detectives Tyler Miles and Carla Valenti who are investigating the murders.

This idea of multiple, wildly varied paths in the story (and radically different endings) was what made Fahrenheit so innovative. It also gave it massive replay value; you felt compelled to play it through again and again, in order to take every possible path and see every possible ending.

Not only that but this was also the first time that you were given real control over every single movement the character made, whether it was jumping out of the way of a car or simply opening a door. Everything was controlled through little twirls and nudges on the analog stick. It was fiddly but fun, and it set the game apart from everything else out there.

Not everything about it was amazing – the dialogue felt a little clunky at times, the camera was just awkward, and the story devolved into ridiculousness about two-thirds of the way through, ending in an epic battle between an ancient cult and – wait for it… the internet. No, I am not kidding.

But don’t focus on the negatives, because, even though it didn’t quite work, Fahrenheit was still an important video game. Quantic Dream took a gamble and, taking fan feedback into account, they worked on it. And all the tweaks and improvements they made became Heavy Rain, a unique and essential title for anyone who owns a PS3.

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