Fear Effect Sedna was my first introduction to the Fear Effect series, so it was interesting to step in as a new player to enter the fray. Sneaking around, taking out armed guards, and stealing from big bad corporations? Sign me up to shoot with the big guns, please! I’m about as stealthy as a creaky windmill, but being a bat-themed vigilante in training Sedna seemed like a good practice run in learning how to be badass. And the results were…well, mixed.
Your main squeeze is Hana, a no-nonsense lady who isn’t scared to take what she wants and to leave a trail of bodies behind her. I liked her sense of style and “go big or go home” attitude, and she’s hell bent on doing one more big job for a hefty payout. Her (girlfriend?) Rain shares her dreams of striking it big and totally onboard with stealing one-of-a kind art pieces so they can settle down for good. After being hired for long last job the two enter a world filled with Intuit mythology and inter-dimensional activity. It’s hard to go wrong with a premise like that, right?
Unfortunately, Sedna from the get go kept me on the fence with its odd mix of good and bad elements, none of which compliment each other. The voice-acting was horrible, like the actors weren’t given any context to the situations taking place in the cutscene. Mechanics wise, everything works just fine since in many sequences you’re either playing one main character or controlling both. Sneaking around is pretty easy if you’re patient enough and can resist going in guns a’ blazing. With Hana I liked to hide around a corner and watch as guards walked back and forth, timing when I could go up behind and stab them in the back.
There were times I couldn’t help but laugh at how bad the eyesight must have been for some of the guards. I accidentally walked right in front of one and was still able to kill him in an instant. Or maybe I was invisible and didn’t know it?
This, sadly, is where things start to go downhill in terms of gameplay. When firefights would break out the AI would fall back simplistic behavior. I love navigating firefights (even if I’m terrible at shooting in general) but when a swarm of guards were converging on one location and not bothering to take cover or show any sign of strategy, it gets dry pretty quick. I’m all for shooting my way out of a tight situation, but when five guards are standing around with only a box separating them from Hana and not bothering to take cover it pulled me away from the intense situation.
When you have the option of playing two characters it can be hit and miss depending on if you’re bringing your buddy along or having them wait in another area. During firefights my companion would stand up and just shoot at the guards instead of staying in their cover and shooting when there was an opening. I ended up just letting my companion die or kept them waiting in another area as I cleared out a section. They were pretty useless and their AI wasn’t any better than the enemies we were shooting.
Sedna does make an effort to give you a break from the shootouts by tossing in sections where assassinations aren’t necessary every five steps. One sequence had you refilling people’s drinks as you eavesdropped for information, keeping the suspicion bar down by refilling glasses at a nearby table. When I got to the puzzles they were hit and miss, there were some I found clever and others I had no idea how to even start solving them. To be fair, hints on how to solve them are scattered throughout each level so with diligent detective work it’s possible to breeze through these sections.
Fear Effect Sedna is like being given all the best ingredients for a sandwich – only to realize at the last second you don’t have the bread. The story did keep me interested well past the point of wanting to quit and if the voice-acting was better I probably would’ve soldiered through the bad AI, too. Sadly, the game as a whole failed to impress me and will be another title I wish was better sitting on my virtual shelf.