Although divisive, it’s safe to say that developer Quantic Dream is simply one-of-a-kind. Helmed by the ever-enthralling David Cage, the French studio has delivered a small albeit unforgettable spread of classics throughout the years. In fact, back in 2010, Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain managed to swat big hits such as Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption aside on its way to winning TSA’s Overall Game of the Year. It may not have reached the same heights yet 2013’s Beyond: Two Souls was also received well, boldly attempting to blur the line between video game and cinema.
Half a decade before Heavy Rain’s PlayStation 3 debut, however, came Fahrenheit, also known as Indigo Prophecy in some regions. Although revered as somewhat of a cult classic during the Xbox/PlayStation 2 era, at first Fahrenheit seemed like an odd candidate for the recent remaster craze. Even as someone who lauds Quantic’s recent work I must confess that, going into this updated mobile port, I had significantly lowered my expectations.
However, when Fahrenheit sank its hooks in just five minutes into the opening, I needn’t have ever worried. Much like Beyond and Heavy Rain, there’s a distinct focus on character-driven narrative which, when combined with the game’s authentic backdrop, gives Fahrenheit a grounded and somewhat personal feel. Throughout its meaty duration, players will switch between three characters, all of whom are brought together following a brutal murder.
Our story begins in the restroom of small downtown diner. A young man is hunched over in one of the stalls, barraged by a onslaught of flashes and hallucinations. Taking a cutlery knife in one hand, he savagely lashes out at a bypasser, stabbing him to death. He immediately comes around and, as soon as he realises what has transpired, flees the murder scene. Cue the entry of two New York detectives, Carla Valenti and Tyler Miles, who now find a mystery case on their hands.
It’s a compelling thriller, given a hefty boost by a dynamic cast of characters. Straight away, players can see tension forming between Carla and her often unreliable partner. What’s perhaps more interesting, however, is how Fahrenheit also allows you to play the role of the killer, Lucas Kane, giving the game a sense of duality. At times you’ll be scouring crime scenes and questioning witnesses while also helping Lucas keep his composure and cover his traces.
Fahrenheit’s gameplay systems can aptly be described as precursors to those we’ve seen in Heavy Rain and Beyond. Players can move their character around freely and will be presented with button prompts whenever close to an interactive part of the environment. These interactions are often trivial things such as opening cupboards, pouring drinks, and even using Fahrenheit’s numerous toilets. The game also works in plenty of quick-time events that are mapped to eight on-screen buttons in this handheld remaster.
While we are on the topic, compared to most ports meant for touchscreen devices, Fahrenheit is easily one of the best. Sure, the virtual joystick will occasionally frustrate with its inaccuracy but everything else works just fine, the use of touch gestures giving certain actions some added tangibility.
Visually, Fahrenheit hasn’t made much of a dramatic leap. Lighting effects and texture work is slightly improved throughout yet, in some parts, is hardly noticeable. That really doesn’t matter though given the detail and authenticity Quantic worked into the original assets. Players can see the difference for themselves at the tap of a button, switching the game between standard and high definition. There were no crash issues or bugs either, even after several hours of play.
In short, this remaster is essential to anyone who considers themselves a Quantic Dream fan as well as those simply looking for a solid adventure game. After almost a decade Fahrenheit still manages to stand tall, even casting a shadow over the recent outbreak of Telltale episodics.