As someone who is new to the universe of Fear Effect, it looks like a creative world that has a lot of potential with potentially solid characters and potentially strong female leads. Fear Effect Sedna tries to do many things, puzzles, tactical gameplay, stealth, and action gameplay, but it all falls short.
Fear Effect Sedna is the newest game released in the series ahead of the remake of the first game back on PS1. Through a licensing program Square Enix now has called Square Enix Collective let small or newer studios develop games for their IPs like Fear Effect Sedna which was developed by Sushee Games, and published Forever Entertainment.
The visuals of the Fear Effect Sedna have two distinct looks that break emersion yet, individually, are visually pleasing. The two art styles are for gameplay and cinematics, this is common in many games but there is a lack of consistency, not in art, but the setting. One stark example is in a scene one character has to break a bottle. In the gameplay view, there is a counter with big flour bags on it and on the ground around it, in the cinematic of the character breaking the bottle the background looks different, there are no flour bags anywhere, there is a dirty, bloody clump of cloth on the counter. This is also reflected in other areas where background doesn’t match, nor does lighting. This mismatch makes the game look rushed, which coordinating had to be sacrificed or lessened for scenes to be created. Aside from the differences in the art that need to be reworked, the animation in the game needs to be worked on also. During the cinematics, the lip sync is always off and mouths look like they are just flapping about randomly. The lips look to be off by a few frames, but that is enough to be noticeable and jarring. The lips also do not flow smoothly but move fast looking and are jerky. The cinematic animations for body movement also look choppy and stiff at times, but still not the worse out there.
Like most games, Fear Effect Sedna has secrets strewn throughout the levels. After finding the in-game hidden collectables the player will have access to some of the concept art that was made for the game. The concept art looks amazing, a couple of them would make really good computer wallpapers. The art in their own rights looked good, except when mixing the two different versions, (gameplay and cinematic), and mismatched scenes it looks like it was not designed properly. Even in the cinematics, the lip sync animation is not well done as it needed to be smoother and synced to the sub-par voice acting and direction.
The voice acting in Fear Effect Sedna, like the graphics, needs more improvements in flow, direction, and execution. The writing for the dialogue is paced horribly, often the player can feel like they have missed something in the conversation, jolting from point to point with no natural flow of the dialogue. It starts to sound less like a conversation and more robotic in essence. During cinematics the dialogue blows by fast but in the in-game dialogue where it shows the image of two characters talking and highlights which one speaks is very slow, pausing after every line. This cause the dialogue to again sound unnatural and pieced together. Having it pause after every line of one character speaking pads out time and becomes boring to wait around and listen to the slow dialogue. The voice acting seems to have had poor direction and the actors were never recorded in the same room, or even at the same time. When actors do voice recordings in the same room it helps to get a more natural feeling out of the acting as the voice actors can play off of each other. In Fear Effect Sedna the characters all sound like they lack a range of emotions, even when angry they sound like they have the whole way through. Each line ends with an Upward Inflection make statements and conversations sound like questions. The dialogues get muddied by the upward inflexions, poor pacing, and unnatural writing making it hard to listen to voice acting that does not know what it wants to be.
The story is not very complex. The two main characters get a contract to retrieve a special idol except when they are on the verge of getting the idol a different group comes in and steals it. From there the two main characters meet up with their friends to go on a journey to discover what these monster that has been attacking them are and where the idol is. The final antagonist does not show up until the very end of the game for the last battle, and then the game abruptly ends. It is not normal to see the main antagonist until the very end, being a weird decision the player may feel there is more game to be had after except there is a short cinematic and then the credits. At the end of the game, it finally gives you a decision between two options, which determines who the last boss will be. Depending on what the player may choose the ending cinematic will straight up say that the wrong decision was made in passing to the other characters. Luckily it is a quick load to get back to the point before the decision to make the other choice, battle the other boss and see both endings. The last boss is not all that bad as the characters will stand in spot shooting the last boss or used for distraction while using one character to do most of the work.
The gameplay suffers from trying to combine two different play styles to make an amalgamation of slow, untuned gameplay that cannot quite figure out what it wants to be. Trying to mix strategic planning and stealth with run and gun twin-stick shooting action is a tough mix to make that Fear Effect Sedna was not able to execute on. During gameplay, if the player hits the pause/options button it stops the game letting the player complete 3 actions for each of the characters to do, once the player hits pause again the characters will proceed to do the three actions. When trying to do the three options they very often do not show up in the bottom corner which is to display what action has been taken in what order until you switch characters instead of showing up as they are completed, making it hard to plan a strategy out. When one the AI is controlling one of the player characters the player is not currently in control of they will stand in place during conflicts and shoot at the closest enemy leaving them open to being killed very quickly. The enemies will run up and stand in spot continuously shooting at the player characters when a player character moves due to the commands are given they will not shoot back leaving them open to damage.
Two things that the player can do while taking control of a character outside of the strategic pause is being able to run and shoot, and also do a dodge roll which lowers damage but again leaves the player open when it would be more beneficial to just shoot and move. Combat in Fear Effect Sedna is so disjointed that the player will go through medkits incredibly fast as it is so hard to avoid damage making the combat feel unfair and that the player is never in control of the combat. Aside from the very lacklustre combat, the movement speed does not match the animation. The animation of moving is a character running at a high speed, but the player moves incredibly slow like they are taking a slow walk cause the running animation to have the feet slide, looking amateurish and not planned out properly. Due to the slow speed, it becomes a long process get anywhere, making it not enjoyable to explore. The slow speed also negatively impacts the stealth mechanics, making it hard to catch up to an enemy that is walking away, not catching up to them until the very last second. The stealth works by crouching to move, making footsteps quieter and making the enemies vision cones visible, the hiding spots will also be visible in the vision cone. If the player is caught once most if not all the enemies in an area will come in guns blazing overwhelming the player.
The first boss battle in the game is incredibly hard, possibly taking over 40 minutes of retrying to complete. Due to the slow movement, the boss will catch up to the player very quickly, and use attacks with very precise accuracy. Later in the battle more enemies will spawn in to attack the player. Fear Effect Sedna has an auto-targeting system instead of pointing the stick in a direction and being able to shot in that way. To change targets the player has to flick the stick but will not always fall on the enemy that is desired leading to being killed or taking damage. When the player dies or fails a puzzle a cinematic will play of the character being killed or losing, it can be skipped by holding B/Circle, and then the animated Game Over screen pops up where you can decide to reload the last checkpoint and wait for the game to load. It takes a long time to get back into the game which pulls the player out of the fun. The puzzles have no guidance and are fairly obscure where many players may find themselves stuck, needing a guide to get through. If the player does not want to use a guide it may be useful to have a pen and paper for notes at ready. Some of the puzzles require the player to go back through the level or wander in an area analyzing the surrounds for visual clues. Due lack of guidance, poorly designed combat, and slow speed, and stealth not worth trying.
Fear Effect Sedna was a valiant effort of Sushee Studios to try and make a juxtaposition of gameplay styles with an IP owned by Square Enix. The game is not worth playing sadly. This can be someone’s first step into the Fear Effect franchise which ultimately may be their last. The unrefined gameplay mechanics need to be looked at in a different light and remade to fit together. The animation is passable but could use another animation pass to smooth it out, the lip sync needs to be redone and match the words or it will continue to be distracting. One the best aspects of Fear Effect Sedna is the developers never used the LGBT aspects of the characters to create titillation or controversy to garner attention for the game, it was done with respect.The biggest problem – aside from the awful gameplay mechanics – is the mismatch backgrounds and setting during the gameplay and cinematics, those mistakes are very amateur, just making the game look rushed or not planned well. Moreover, the graphics themselves look vibrant, but sadly they become disappointing due to the poor direction in settings. The story game is fairly quick, luckily this means if someone did have to play Fear Effect Sedna the game would be over fairly quickly. It may be best to wait for the Fear Effect remake instead of playing this instalment in the series, no matter how short it may be.
Fear Effect Sedna0.00
- Part of the Fear Effect Franchise
- The world has potential for more
- The art looks good.
- Does not use the LGBT aspects of the characters to create titillation or controversy
- The gameplay does not know what it wants to be.
- The gameplay and cinematic background/settings do not match,
- The movement speed is very slow.
- The dialogue and voice acting pace is to scattered.
- Conversations do not feel natural.