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The GoodThe story in this game is very interesting to me and mostly because the back of the box gives the impression you are just going to play a generic shooter with a very flimsy (perhaps nationalistic) story-line tagged unto it, the kind of game that would only be remembered as "another multi-player shooter", but actually explodes almost immediately. After wrapping your head around all the psychic stuff (I admit that it can be quite confusing) you'll find yourself playing as the silent Pointman who discovers the dark truth behind the Armacham's corporations military research as he tries to stop psychic commander Paxton Fettel from taking over the city with an army of cloned soldiers.
The graphics were amazing for 2005 and most of the people who actually gave this game a negative score on sites like Metacritic (bless Mobygames) were just angry because the game wouldn't run on their dated computers. While Monolith designed gray corridor after gray corridor and made sure there were lots of flickering lights, they decided to make it the most sophisticated gray-corridor shooter to date with great effects and lots of blood to add a little color to the grayness.
I wasn't really scared while playing this game, but I still like the horror part of this horror/fps a lot. One of my favorite moments was when Alma Wade appeared briefly and jumped into a small pool of water that I had to cross, you can't believe how quick I ran through that water, fearing that she might jump up and instant kill me if I lingered. There is little to no repetition as well, which is always good because seeing the same thing over and over again is going to lose it's touch really fast.
I can't seem to stop thinking about the main antagonist. without wishing to spoil anything: I can't seem to decide if he/she was in the wrong or if the unit I am working for is helping the people who deserved to be punished for their deeds. This feeling is well played on by Monolith because the story tends to be very neutral as well, not picking any sides or telling you who you should like and dislike. Alma is there to scare you, but she never physically harms you and often shows you the way to go, Genevieve and her servant where both the reason why stuff's gone wrong, but they also tried to solve it and in the end did tell you how to continue your journey and of course Harlan Wade did some horrible things, but he also sincerely tried to make up for what he has done and start over.
Graphics eventually date, unless you go with an animated style your realistic graphics will be topped by every game that will be made just two years later, so the graphics in F.E.A.R. are no longer a good argument when trying to discuss this game with a Call of Duty fan. What is a good argument, you ask?, well the AI is. In F.E.A.R. the enemies respond to your every move; they yell when they see your flashlight or hear you walk, they take cover when you suppress them and they flank you every chance they get. Enemies also take more damage then they do in most recent games and they aim pretty damn well.
The BadThe weapons are all uninspired and simple. They don't have any special or secondary functions. This makes it hard to understand the difference between two guns, which only makes it weirder that they got so many of them. Just take one weapon from all the different weapon types and roll with that.
The level design is pretty much corridor after corridor, with two corridors often meaning there is a fight up ahead and that you can get the drop on the enemy. I can understand that though, if the battlefields were more open and non-linear it would be very hard to also have the strong AI, but it's still a flaw.
The Bottom LineI really, really, REALLY love this game and because of that it's easy to look past the flaws I mentioned. The story is very interesting and even after so many years I still can't stop thinking about certain things that happened in it and who was "in the right". The AI is a lot of fun to fight and the horror is actually scary which were the two big selling points of this game.
You will notice the flaws, they affect gameplay and trouble you, but it never got so bad that I wanted to stop playing for a few days. This is a game I can recommend without any doubts, if you are old enough to play it then you should really check this game out and perhaps laugh at how easy we were impressed by graphics in 2005.