‘Fear Effect: Sedna’ Review: A Classic Series Is Revived
There’s always something fun about a PS1 franchise finding new life on the current gen systems. Not as a port, but as a true sequel. Those of us that played the original games get a nice bit of nostalgia, and a new audience may find a hidden gem. In Fear Effect: Sedna, the classic isometric shooter Fear Effect series is reborn with a new adventure that began life as a Kickstarter project, and is now available on the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Fear Effect: Sedna focuses on the characters of Hana and Rain, a committed, loving couple who also work as mercenaries for hire. When a job comes across their desk in the form of a simple art heist, the two women accept it, only to find out that the mission leads to something far more sinister than they could have imagined. Fear Effect: Sedna utilizes the third-person isometric angles, and focuses on stealth and combat, with some puzzle solving thrown in for good measure. The game doesn’t pull punches and you will die early and often, but that’s part of the charm as you learn the correct way to complete your mission.
Hana and Rain, through the course of the story, will bump into other characters from the Fear Effect franchise, as well as some new ones, making Sedna a reunion of sorts. Fear still plays a huge part, and the EKG meter serves as the life bar. If your character becomes too afraid, they will suffer both on offense and defense, so balancing that on top of everything else is how you advance deeper into the game. Whichever character the player controls can assign roles to others in the mission, and the switching between them to solve puzzles is often needed. Combat uses a cover system, but there is a greater emphasis placed on stealth above all else, and fans of the early Metal Gear games will appreciate the sneaking and quiet takedowns of enemies.
The story has many twists and turns, and the art heist turns into a romp about mythology and genetic manipulation. And one of the original writers of Fear Effect returns to pen this adventure. The voice acting is solid, even if the written dialogue leaves much to be desired; the player gets a good feel for the characters and their various connections with each other, which is well done. The cell shaded graphics, which were cutting edge on the original PlayStation, work well here, and on the Switch, there is little difference between playing on the TV screen or as a handheld, which is nice. The cutscenes are fully animated and the classic death scenes all return.
Various weapons and tools are mapped to the face buttons on the controller, and switching between them is as easy as pressing a different button. Fear Effect: Sedna has the feel of a twin-stick shooter, but I’d argue that the combat here is more intuitive and varied. I’m a stealth game nut, so I approached each mission with the idea of sneaking as priority. Because of that, when gunfights broke out, I was usually unprepared for the shift and died as a result. It took a few hours to really grasp the combat system and after that, I really began to enjoy it.
Fear Effect: Sedna is a nice check-in to a classic game series. I particularly enjoy when developers — new or old — can successfully revisit a franchise, and create a new gaming experience in an established world. Sedna doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of current gen system power, but it doesn’t have to. It’s that classic feel that makes it fun to pick up and play, and I’ve had trouble putting it down, which is a good sign. If you are a long time fan of the original games, you will find something fun here. If you are new to the franchise, Fear Effect: Sedna is a great jumping on point, and hopefully, developer Sushee and the Square Enix Collective will continue the adventures of these characters in the future. Until then, fans have a short wait for the remake of the first game due later this year in Fear Effect Reinvented!
Fear Effect: Sedna is available now for the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam. This review is based of the Nintendo Switch version provided by the publisher.
TheHDRoom may be paid a small commission for any services or products ordered through select links on this page.