Nearly 20 years afters its debut on the original PlayStation, Kronos Digital Entertainment and Eidos Interactive’s Fear Effect is getting a modern remake. The tale of a trio of mercenaries on the trail of the daughter of a powerful Hong Kong Triad boss was a gripping one, and it received a sequel just one year after its debut in the form of Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix. Now Sushee, the same team behind the latest chapter in the Fear Effect franchise, Fear Effect Sedna, is hard at work on Fear Effect Reinvented. It’s planned for launch in 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch. But seeing as it’s been 17 years since some fans heard the name Fear Effect, it’s high time to look back and take in what made the game and its prequel so special. Here are five things to know about Fear Effect.
The name of the game refers to a game mechanic
The name Fear Effect isn’t just a clever title. It refers to the life bar in-game, which kind of looks like the lines on an EKG machine. It’s actually called the Fear Meter. When your character takes damage, their heart rate will go up, which acts as their health. When you flatline, it’s game over. You don’t have to breeze through the game while hemorrhaging health, though. Certain actions will give you more of your health back. You could stealth kill someone or solve a puzzle, and you’ll be back in the clear. It’s a pretty interesting mechanic that’s rewarding if you know how to play correctly.
The original game was one of the first to use cel-shading
Playing through Fear Effect for the first time was the first time I had ever personally seen cel-shading used. Fear Effect used unshaded characters with textures used to resemble the look, and it was very striking, having done so. It also used special full-motion video that looped for its backgrounds, which was one of the reasons it took four entire discs of content. Remember swapping out discs? That’s not something you see every day now.
Changes in camera angles offer cinematic qualities
Often, while you’re playing through Fear Effect, the camera will change as you make your way to a new area. Sometimes as you’re changing scenes or charging forward with guns blazing, the camera angles will alter, and you’ll suddenly see some grandiose action playing out around you while you’re still in control of your character. I’ve not seen anything quite like it again, and even with the low-quality graphics for this day and age, it’s still a very cool effect.
There’s a sequel called Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix
But don’t let the word “sequel” fool you. This entry is actually a prequel, exploring the original game’s characters’ varied histories and introducing a new character into the mix. It offered an even more bizarre plot than the first game with additional supernatural elements and a few changes that critics didn’t enjoy as much, but it was still very much worth playing.
There’s a new addition to the series coming soon
Fear Effect Sedna is currently in development after receiving funding from a Kickstarter project via Sushee Games. It takes the characters from the original game and explores the universe further as a real-time tactical action game for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It’s still being worked on, so there’s still a ways to go before you can play it un full, but there’s enough finished for now to get a feel for how it’s meant to play out.