For most games, I start out by posting some screenshots and then do a review for the game the day after that. Since Fahrenheit is one of the first games I reviewed and these are screenshots for the so-called remastered version, however, I’m going to instead post comparisons of the game’s HD mode and its “original” mode that, to the remaster’s credit, can be switched to at any time. I’ll also post some commentary explaining why I believe this remastered version is a ripoff.
The comparisons will always be of the HD version first, with the same scene in the original next, allowing you to move back and forth and compare (you can use the arrow keys for this, or if the page automatically resizing images is a problem, right-click on the thumbnails to open them in new tabs). I double-checked several scenes with screenshots I made from the original Fahrenheit to make sure that the original mode was truly identical, and apart from the remaster allowing it to run at 1080p natively (you have to use a mod to accomplish this with the original game), it appears to correspond to the original 1:1.
Before I get to the comparison shots, however, I want to note that the animations and 3D models have been untouched. This means that even in the rare cases where the remaster has improved the appearance of things, the awkward animations and low-poly models keep it from ever looking modern:
The beginning in the diner sets the tone for the whole remaster, and you could be forgiven for mistaking the original for the remastered version because of the number of details that the “HD version” has removed, most noticeably on the walls and floors. In addition, the textures have lost distinctive crinkles, which, combined with the less-harsh grain filter, contributes to many of the new textures appearing oily and lacking in detail compared to the original:
In the first comparison here, we have Carla outside of the diner next to the car. You’ll notice that little to nothing has actually been changed apart from adding some snow to the car and fogging the windows, the latter of which actually makes the game look a bit more dated than the transparent windows of the original. In the second comparison, we have Lucas waking up in his bed. While the blood on the sheets looks better in the remastered version, many details around the room have been worsened. The floors and walls look blurry compared to the original, and even the painting hanging on the wall has lost some detail. Though it’s not discernible here, the remaster includes better textures for the books on his desk, but there’s also a crease on the wall that wasn’t there in the original.
Here we have one of the screens where you select which character you want to play as. For some reason, this was changed so that Carla’s face no longer looks like her 3D model (though she got added detail on her pant legs), and Lucas’ clothes look greasy and less detailed compared to the original. The second comparison is of Tyler after waking up, and his face has been noticeably upgraded, making his eyes less creepy-looking than in the original version. On the downside, his makeover has left him with a huge, ugly seam where his neck meets his body.
It’s not all bad, though. Sam’s jersey has quite a bit more detail in the remastered version, and Tiffany’s coat is not only more detailed, but also blue. Personally, I think it looks better than her charcoal-colored coat in the original. You’ll also notice that the light switch and wall texture looks better up close, though I think I prefer the hall’s wall texture of the original over the new one.
The book dealer doesn’t seem to have improved any, sadly, though the walls behind him have been slightly improved. The textures of the bookshelves and books don’t seem to have been touched. The second shot is of Carla at the shooting range, and this is where the remastered version wins out big time. There are only a few instances where I preferred the new version, but this is definitely one of them; from the gun itself to Carla’s gloves and the walls of the shooting range, there’s a definite improvement in the remastered version.
The first shot here is another instance of the remastered version improving on the original. Whereas the bird cages of the original have blurry, metallic textures, the original goes with a darker, more wooden texture. The darker scenes are also improved somewhat by the less vicious grain filter of the remastered version, but apart from that, the elements in the second screenshot are identical. Apart from the bird cages, I didn’t see a single thing that was changed in Agatha’s house.
Here we have Carla after the awkward shower scene. Though this isn’t the first time it’s noticeable, Carla’s face has been changed a bit so that her lips are redder and her cheekbones look more prominent. Basically, she constantly looks like she’s wearing makeup now. Some people may like this, but I preferred her original look; the paleness of her lips seemed more natural for a detective working in below-freezing temperatures, and it’s definitely more natural seconds after stepping out of the shower. The remastered version includes a better shower curtain, though. As for the second shot, you’ll notice yet again that details have been removed entirely in the remastered version, especially on the back of Tyler’s computer monitor. The wood dresser and coffee table in Carla’s apartment, on the other hand, have had their textures changed to look more like wood.
I was looking forward to the scene where Carla and Tyler show up to arrest Lucas and there are weird symbols everywhere, sure that the whole thing would be remastered to look even more amazing than in the original, but as it turns out, the scene wasn’t even touched. The second comparison makes me glad for it, too, because Lucas’ dead eyes of the original have been replaced so that he has these bright, anime-meets-cartoon-deer eyes that don’t fit the tone of the game at that time at all. Put simply, it looks wrong. You’ll also notice that nothing else has been changed or improved in this area. The more you play, the fewer changes you wind up seeing, like those responsible for the remake threw in the towel halfway through the project and phoned in everything that wasn’t already done.
These two comparisons highlight the biggest problem with the remaster: many “improvements” weren’t actually worked on, instead just getting thrown into Photoshop’s unsharp filter. I know this because I have Photoshop and I’m aware of what abusing the unsharp filter looks like, and this is it. I have 50 other screenshots that tell the same story, too—while the developers claim that they hand-painted all these new textures, the vast majority of the time you’re looking at things that are a little darker and almost look beveled. To prove this to myself, I took the second comparison and ran the original through Photoshop’s unsharp filter to compare the result to the “remastered” screenshot. The walls looked identical. This game is plagued by a lazy reliance on the unsharp filter instead of textures actually being manually worked on, and I’m of the belief that charging money for mindless batch processing shouldn’t be a thing we allow to happen.
One of the selling points on the remastered version’s sale page is that it’s uncut. This is true, but you could have bought an uncut version of the game 2 years ago on GOG. I know this because I did. Not only that: the version on GOG is $5.99 USD whereas the remastered version is $9.99. It’s just not worth it given how lacking and lazy the new version proves itself to be.