Title: Fear Effect Sedna
Platform: Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and PS4 (reviewed)
Developer: Sushee
Publisher: Square Enix, Forever Entertainment
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Back with its original visuals, but hampered by poor gameplay
Price: PS4 – £16/$20
Xbox One – £16/$20
Nintendo Switch – £16/$20
PC – £16/$20
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

18 years ago, back on the original PlayStation, Eidos published a game known as Fear Effect. The original received praise for its script, beautiful graphics, and art direction back in the day, but the game received criticism for its poor gameplay and clumsy control system. Flash forward to 2018, and we have a new entry in the series which had maintained a lot from the previous entries, and that, unfortunately, includes the gameplay.

Fear Effect Sedna brings back the original cast from the PlayStation days, so you have Hana, Rain, Deke, and Glas, a bunch of mercenaries who always seem to land themselves in trouble. Sedna, just like its predecessors, is set in a very cyberpunk and neo-noir world, akin to The Matrix. The plot gives our protagonists more than they had hoped for when they are tasked with pinching an ancient statuette from the French ambassador. What begins as straightforward smash-and-grab turns into a much darker tale, including ancient Inuit mythology and inter-dimensional activity. Honestly, Hana and the gang always seem to get caught up in some trouble involving hellspawn. Unfortunately, the plot isn’t very well written or delivered, as the voice acting seems like it had no direction. Scenes of aggressive tension fall flat and lack any form of passion, as if it were read by a kid who was forced to do drama at school.

For Fear Effect Sedna, Sushee made the decision to remove the old school camera angles akin to the classic Resident Evil titles, as well as removing the clunky and poor combat from the previous games, although what they replaced it with was also poor and clunky. Sedna claims to be a tactical-strategy title, but due to poor A.I, this is an empty claim. Whether it’s your partner’s A.I or the enemy A.I, they both seem keen to step out of cover and take the battle into the direction of a point-blank gun fight.

Sedna has a paused tactics mode, which seemed cool at first, as it allowed me to attempt stealth routes with various outcomes, but when I learned the A.I just recklessly wanders into your line of fire, I just started to run and gun. Each character even has a limited unique ability, like Hana’s ricochet shot, but what was the point when I have unlimited ammo in my gun and the A.I just love to run up and kiss my bullets? Sushee must know that the A.I and combat sucks, as they litter medkits through the level to heal your stupid partners that love to dance on the battlefield.

One of the redeeming factors of Fear Effect Sedna is the lateral-thinking puzzles; these consist of sliding block puzzles, shape matching, and even a rhythm-style game. Each puzzle usually contains hints to solve it throughout the level you’ve been progressing. The difficult puzzles can be frustrating but equally rewarding when you have that eureka moment, although be warned – failure generally leads to your protagonists’ demise.

Finally, let’s discuss the amazing soundtrack that clearly took influence from Bladerunner. Each track fits the moment perfectly, from a gentle synth rhythm for the quieter moments, whilst the action segments receive a techno beat. Unfortunately, the quality of the sound effects doesn’t receive the level of same praise, as gunfire sounds weak, with some attacks having no audible effect.

Overall, it’s clear that Sushee understands the Fear Effect universe by nailing the aesthetics and showing the series’ love for mythology and the occult. Whilst the ideas are there for the blend of stealth and fast-paced combat, they just don’t manage to pull it off in the right manner, thanks to the poor A.I, useless tactics system, and voice acting that does the story no justice. I recommend staying clear of Fear Effect Sedna if you’re not a fan of the original games. I just hope that the remake that is scheduled for later this year is something the brand deserves.

The Good

  • Captured the nostalgic art style of the originals.
  • Beautiful soundtrack that really pulls out the cyberpunk setting.
  • Puzzles are fun and interesting.

The Bad

  • Weird frame tearing and drops during cutscenes.
  • Poor A.I. partners that run out of cover into a hail mary of gunfire.
  • Voice acting at times feels meh.

Family Focus

Fear Effect Sedna is rated M for Mature by ESRB and PEGI 16. Fear Effect Sedna contains sexual references, blood, and demons.

This review is based on a digital copy of the game provided by the publishers for the purposes of this review.