Fear Effect Sedna is a sequel to the Fear Effect series that was originally released for the original PlayStation in 2000 and 2001. Sedna changes gears a bit by switching from a fixed camera pre-rendered faux 3D environment to an isometric 3D view similar to the Shadow Run games series. This gives the game a cleaner look and benefits gameplay as it adds a tactical element to combat.

Combat

Fear Effect Sedna presents itself as a tactical combat shooter where players can pause the action and issue commands for the characters to initiate, like the Shadow Run games, however, the tactical method appears to be an afterthought of the development process as it is clunky at best as the levels don’t appear to be designed with tactical combat in mind. Players will want to stick to real-time combat.

Combat, in real time, can be fun, little distractions in between navigating the various maps and puzzle solving. Players can duck behind cover and, in theory, have some protection from enemy fire. However, in practice, the enemies charge and overrun the player’s selected character causing the cover to be useless in combat. Dodge rolling and running in circles benefits players the best. This problem stems from horrid AI in the game. Players will be dumbfounded by the sheer stupidity of the enemy AI in Fear Effect Sedna. The enemy mainly targets the player selected character ignoring the other characters in the group. When players are grouped with the AI team members, they make short work of enemies.

Stealth

The entirety of the map is shrouded in darkness except for the immediate area that the player is in, thus rendering any tactical gameplay a moot point since players won’t be able to assess their surroundings and the enemy movements. Although a somewhat realistic approach, it makes for poor strategy when attempting to dispatch enemies via stealth. The stealth element mode allows players to view the enemies sight lines. In stealth mode players can attempt to sneak up on enemies and dispatch them quietly, however, the enemies of the game have slightly faster move speed when compared to the player characters, so it’s usually better to go in with guns blazing.

As players initiate combat, they have a fear meter in the upper left corner of the screen. As the fear meter increases, it also increases offensive damage but with a counter of increased defensive damage to the player. In order to bring the fear meter back to normal, players need to end combat and it will slowly readjust or use medkits which heal the player.  This is another gameplay mechanic that appears interesting but will be wholly ignored by players as the increased damage is negligible and it is just more fun to run and gun throughout the levels as medkits will be more than plentiful.

If the selected character is killed in combat, then the game will automatically switch to one of the other characters in the group unless all players have been killed in which the player is greeted by a long game over screen. Each character has a special weapon that can be used, ranging from a stun gun that stuns and drags an enemy towards the player, to missiles, to even a crossbow that has decent damage but a narrow range.

PC Options and Artstyle

The art style of Fear Effect Sedna has a ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ with players. Sedna uses cell-shading which is an art style that gives the game a very Japanese anime look. Through the use of cell-shading, the developers have made Fear Effect Sedna a decent looking game with low GPU overhead, allowing PC players with low-end hardware run the game with ease.  For players on PC, they have just a handful of options that can be altered ranging from resolution, graphical presets that range from very low to ultra, gamma correction, full screen and full-screen anti-aliasing. Due to the art style of Fear Effect Sedna, anti-aliasing is just a waste of performance, though if players like having their PC fans sound like jet engines, then anti-aliasing is the perfect solution. Thankfully the sound options are fantastic as players have individual volume sliders for global/master, music, effects, dialogue, and cutscenes; this is a wonderful addition that a lot of big name studios fail to add to their games.

Missions and Design

Fear Effects story starts off relatively slow with what appears to be a somewhat simple heist job that eventually runs into some complications. As players progress, Inuit mythology is compounded, and it creates a story and atmosphere that will have players intrigued and most will want to complete the game to see how it is entwined and how it all unfolds. Mission design can be quite fun and interesting, for instance, while the two main protagonists must infiltrate high-security areas of the level, one of the side characters must go undercover as a waiter at a dinner serving drinks and eavesdropping on guests to obtain information to be used in other areas of the level.

Between navigating the various areas of each stage and combat, players will need to solve a series of puzzles that range from highly fun and interesting to infuriating. A puzzle, somewhat early in the game, consists of using switches to move bookshelves to avoid being detected by security cameras. After some initial trial and error, the pattern becomes clear and environmental hints scattered throughout the stage make the puzzle a joy to complete, however, some puzzles that act more like quick time events tend to induce frustration over fun.

Level design for Fear Effect Sedna is rather well put together as each stage is unique, and players won’t feel as though the developers are just recycling assets from previous stages and calling it a day. Each area also has a sole music track that accurately exhibits the disposition of each stage. Though relatively linear, after clearing out the enemies of each area, players will have fun running around admiring the art direction of the stages.

Conclusion

Fear Effect Sedna is a typical isometric, artificial tactical shooter that has a variety of unique puzzles, stimulating level designs and fun real-time combat mixed with a decently intriguing story that will keep players entertained. Sedna is a good starting point for players who may be on the fence about playing isometric tactical games as the difficulty curve is low when compared to more competent isometric games, such as the Shadow Run trilogy, which has a steep learning curve and an extreme amount of depth. Despite its initial combat flaws and some annoying puzzles, Fear Effect Sedna gives players a respectable amount of fun that may encourage players to try other similar games.

Fear Effect Sedna Review
The Good
  • A fun Run 'n Gun
  • Interesting Story
  • Gorgeous Cell-Shaded Artstyle
The Bad
  • Tactical / Stealth Mechanics need work
  • Artificial Intelligence is not smart
  • Some puzzles can induce frustration
6.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Christopher T
Staff Writer

I'm an old timer that started in 1988 with Tempest at the Disney arcade; in 1989 I was given an NES with Contra and Super Contra, thus sealing my fate forever. I moved onto the Genesis, followed by the original PlayStation, PC (mainly just for DOOM) and the N64. I got a launch day PS2 settling for the PlayStation family of consoles until 2015 when I renewed my interest in the PC world. Outside of gaming, custom PC water cooling and car parts are life.