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Like the original Fear Effect, the sequel features cel-shaded character models on top of pseudo-3D environments that use looping full-motion video to give the appearance of constantly animated background elements. Players take control of each of the four main characters(Hana, Rain, Deke and Glas) at different times throughout the game, which enables multilateral perspective on the storyline. Retro Helix mostly relies on a third-person perspective. The controls are mapped without regard to the character's current position or direction faced. Unlike the original Fear Effect, however, Retro Helix offers players the option of a more traditional control scheme. At the player's disposal is a small arsenal of weapons, including a variety of firearms – including pistols, shotguns, and assault rifles, specialty equipment such as a hand-held EMPs and a taser, and one unique melee weapon for each character. Fear Effect 2 is primarily focused on solving puzzles to progress rather than combating enemies. In spite of the heavy ordnance available, enemies are few and far between, with static – as opposed to dynamic – placement. The gameplay is intended to evoke tension and suspense, rather than relying on the nonstop action formula of standard shooters. This format has the consequence of making the gameplay arguably less difficult, although it is offset by the relative ease at which characters can die from enemy attacks and a number of instant-death scenarios. The fear gauge present in the original game returns for Retro Helix, a variation on the health meter common to most action games.
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