SummaryDo You F.E.A.R. Me?
The GoodUber developer, Monolith, has a long track record of high quality games. From the Doomesque, Lovecraft influenced FPS‘, Blood and Blood 2: The Chosen. To the zany spy shooters No One Lives Forever, and it’s sequel. Recently Monolith has gone back to it’s horror game roots, with the trailblazing horror series Condemned. And it’s “sister” franchise F.E.A.R.. Can Monolith strike gold yet again?
F.E.A.R., or First Encounter Assault Recon, is an elite group of soldiers trained to deal with the paranormal. You play as the newest member of the squad, a mysterious character with uncanny agility and strength, known only as the “pointman”.
“It is the way of men to create monsters. And it is the nature of monsters to destroy their creators.”
When the psycho killer, Paxton Fettel, escapes from his high security prison, F.E.A.R. is contacted to stop him. It seems that Fettel has some kind of psychic link with replica soldiers, these automatons will do anything to stop you. They feel no fear, no remorse, and cannot be reasoned with.
To make matters worse you keep seeing the ghost of a little girl in a red dress. And there is trouble at the arms manufacturer Armacham and something called project origin, can there be a connection?
F.E.A.R. is a first person shooter, with horror elements.(Like Half-life, or System Shock-MM-) And it can be quite creepy and unsettling, but it’s not quite as scary as say, Condemned. This is achieved largely by the great atmosphere.
There are lots of scripted scares. Including a really cool sequence with the pointman being haunted by a former F.E.A.R. agent. There is also the System Shock esque, use of messages you hear on answering machines, these help fill in the story and can be quite creepy.
I would like to now take the time to set the record strait on one of the biggest misconceptions of F.E.A.R. Every tom, dick, and harry, says that F.E.A.R. is like a Japanese horror movie. When it’s really not. The only element that is like a Japanese horror movie is the ghost of the little girl, but unlike crappy movies like “Dark Water” it actually makes sense in F.E.A.R. Furthermore this game is actually scary.
It also takes techniques from American horror films, namely John Carpenter films such as, Halloween. And even Italian and French horror films.
“You will be a god among men.”-Harlen Wade-
The graphics in F.E.A.R. are good. Not great, just good. Keep in mind that this game was released initially in 2005 for the PC, and a launch game for the 360. It looks better in HD, but it’s no Bioshock or Mass Effect.
The sound department is really were it’s at in F.E.A.R. The voice acting is all top notch. And the music is eerie and helps establish the mood. The gun effects are all accurate and sound great. But it is the creepy sound effects that steal the show, from the cues when you see something strange, to the screams and cries of the damned.
The BadThe difficulty settings seem to be a bit askew. Easy offers almost no challenge, Medium is oft to hard, and the other two settings are just about impossible.
The auto aiming is dubious at best, and unnecessary. The critical attacks are very cool however.
Sometimes you can get stuck in walls. And even worse there is a bug where your guns disappear, and you must load to correct it.
I am also not a fan of the checkpoint save system. I prefer the good old days when you could save whenever you wanted. Or at least meet me halfway and have manual and autosaves. With this checkpoint nonsense, you can only quit when you get a checkpoint.(Thanks a lot Halo.-MM-)
The Bottom Line“He deserved to die, they all deserve to die.”-Paxton Fettel-
Overall F.E.A.R. is a great game. And one of my favorite FPS games. It has the perfect mix of action and horror. Now I’m off to play the two expansions Extraction Point, and Perseus Mandate. And I am already looking forward to 2009’s Fear 2: Project Origin.