Despite its unforgiving difficulty, Fear Effect is an innovative cinematic adventure that serious gamers won't want to miss. Set in a dark, futuristic world, Fear Effect has players switching back and forth between its three anime-style protagonists. With a story that's filled with plot twists and heaps of what the Entertainment Software Rating Board finds offensive, this is far from kiddie fare.
Easily one of the most visually striking PlayStation titles, Fear Effect shines with Japanese-animation-inspired 3-D character graphics and full-motion-video environments that allow for nearly seamless transitions between story sequences and gameplay. With the exception of restoring saves and changing CDs, there's virtually no game interruption.
Unfortunately, it's very easy to die in Fear Effect, which not only wrecks the game's pacing, but can be really quite maddening. Many portions of the game are more frustrating than challenging, requiring players to die and reload their last saved game over and over until they get things just right.
And while Fear Effect's less-than-perfect controls admittedly do take some getting used to, its real-time inventory system is just plain awkward during combat sequences. It's doubtful that professional mercenaries like the ones you're playing would be fumbling about while changing or reloading weapons in the heat of battle.
Despite its flaws, Fear Effect does manage to keep you hooked, and is one of those games you just have to see through to its end. --Joe Hon
- Striking cinematic visuals
- Virtually no game interruptions
- Intriguing storyline and refreshingly mature content
- Fear Meter aspect adds new challenge
- Can be more frustrating than challenging at times
- Awkward real-time inventory system
- Relatively short game length with little to no replay value
- May be unsuitable for younger players
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