A new addition to Xbox Live is the release of Xbox Originals on Marketplace. Microsoft have made available a selection of classic Xbox games to download at 1200 Microsoft points per title. Initially there are only seven titles of which the most notable are, Fable, Fahrenheit, Psychonauts and, of course, Halo.
This is, overall, a good selection. The titles I am most interested in are Fahrenheit and Psychonauts, chiefly because they offer a varying gaming experience from the majority of first/third person hack ‘n’ slash/shoot that dominate the market. This is not to mean that I am knocking the other releases because as we well know, Halo made the Xbox especially on Live and Fable was one of three Xbox exclusives that prompted me to splash out one of Microsoft’s black monstrosities. Besides, I have played both of them extensively and I know just how good they are.
Psychonauts, I am eager to play because it is the brainchild of Tim Schaefer, the man behind Full Throttle, Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle. It is a story about a young lad named Raz who is a cadet at psychic summer school. He discovers that a madman is kidnapping the other cadets in order to steal their brains. I order to stop this evil genius Raz must journey through the minds of some weird and wonderful characters. Sadly, Psychonauts did not fare well sales-wise, even though it was met with rapturous critical acclaim. I hope it can find its market here amongst the downloadable content on Xbox Live Marketplace.
Fahrenheit I am familiar with. This is one of my favourite games of the last 4 years. It is a psychological thriller where you play the part of several characters. The main thrust of the plot is that you have to solve a series of gruesome and mysterious murders in a very cold and snowy New York. The backdrop is very evokative of Max Payne but that’s where the similarities end. David Cage at Quantic Dream has a very clear philosophy. His aim is to create games that are more emotionally immersive. When you play as a character he really tries to help you feel what the character is feeling at that moment. For the most part Fahrenheit is very successful. It creates the right air around the whole game and it is very polished indeed. My only qualm with it is the button-bashing action sequences reminiscent of Resident Evil or Shenmue. They are meant to get the blood flowing but the difficulty curve is quite steep and I ended up feeling angry and frustrated rather than exhausted and panicked. Aside from this the game is very good and the storyline is very compelling. This is definitely a welcome addition to Marketplace.