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Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 85%
Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix
Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix
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Advertising for games can be problematic to say the least. Looking back at old print ads, it seems that when it came time to promote the sequel to Fear Effect, all Eidos wanted to show off was Hana and her lesbian lover Rain in suggestive poses. I understand that Eidos wanted to promote how Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix was going more adult than any console game before it, but they really should've been promoting how much the sequel improves on the original instead.

Fear Effect 2 is a prequel to the original game. The plot details how Hana, Glas, and Deke (the team in the original) came together to find a cure for a disease that mutates people into grotesques. Along the way, Hana tries to help her lover Rain recover lost memories that led to her being found during one of Hana's missions. The plot this time is even more anime-ish than the original with more time jumps and flashbacks and is even more interesting as a result. The dialog is also improved especially in the playful interplay between Hana and Rain.

Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix (PlayStation)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The visuals are largely similar to the first. The characters are still polygonal, and the backgrounds are still looping prerendered video. That said, there had been some slight improvements in the second game. The cel-shading is better used, giving the characters a look even closer to anime. The enemies stand out from the backgrounds a bit more, making them easier to spot. Finally, better camera angles are used; there aren't as many long shots as in the first game. These changes didn't just make the game look better but also a bit easier to play.

The gameplay is also largely the same as the first but with some good adjustments. The second game shifts the focus more to the puzzles which was a great move. The puzzles are even more varied and interesting than in the first. The tank controls returned for the second along with a 3D movement option more conducive to playing with the thumbstick. The 3D movement mostly works well with just a couple of issues. First is that there are occasional movement hiccups when the camera changes angle. I got stuck bouncing between camera angles more than once. The second is that the roll dodges become even more problematic with the 3D controls. Fortunately, there are fewer combat scenarios in the second game, but there are also fewer points when health resets. Reloading saves when combat doesn't go your way is still par for the course here. All in all, for the most part, the second game is less aggravating than the first.

Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix is a better game than the original. It improved the first game's best aspects and smoothed out several of the flaws. The ads may have marketed the game as just girl-on-girl porn, but it's actually one of the best examples of "interactive anime" anywhere. Check it out!
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