F.E.A.R.

July 27, 2009 by Aaron Green  
Filed under Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

Overview

Title: F.E.A.R.
Release Date: November 10, 2006 (UK and Europe)
Developer/Publisher: Day 1 Studios/Vivendi Games
Genre: FPS
Platform[s]: PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360

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Storyline

First Encounter Assault Recon or F.E.A.R. is a first person shooter with supernatural elements. The story begins with the player (a member of the First Encounter Assault Recon) sent on a mission to capture Paxton Fettel, a madman with cannibalistic tendencies. However things don’t really go to plan and you make a number of enemies; ghosts, monsters, soldiers controlled by Fettel and the powerful entity Alma (a girl who fans of The Ring might find looks a little familiar).

There’s not much more I can safely mention without accidently forcing spoilers upon you but it’s safe to say there is an ongoing plot and there are a couple of twists and turns but to be honest the execution of pieces of story could be better. I’d even go as far as to say that some of the worse acted scenes of Eastenders seem epic in comparison to certian plot elements approached within the storyline. That’s not to say F.E.A.R.’s story doesn’t have strong points.

Gameplay

Gameplay is where F.E.A.R. stands out; the PC version was renowned for its tense action sequences, genuine scare moments and fantastic AI. The transition from computer to console has lost very little of this and in that aspect, its fantastic! Firefights are fun, the flick-of-a-switch slow-mo effect gives the player an edge, but not too much and when the action ends the scares start. Sure the spooky moments are nothing more than a few sound effects, flickering electrics and visual apparitions but it works and even if I wasn’t scared to the point of terror it sure as hell made me jump a few times. Believe me these moments excuse the bad voice acting and imperfect execution of the story because it’s the action and scares you’re focusing on, nothing else.

The level design isn’t perfect though, much of the scenery is recycled and you often feel that you’re visiting the same locales again and again. This isn’t helped by the dark environments often encountered by the player but let’s face it, darkness is a key scare element and because of such is required anyway, much like the way Gordon Brown is a bit useless but the rest of the Labour Party need to keep him on to make themselves look more appealing.

Outside of the core campaign players will find a fairly simple multiplayer mode, sixteen players; deathmatch, capture the flag, elimination and a couple features unique to F.E.A.R. however there isn’t much in the way of Xbox Live gameplay and no system link either, so it’s a very lonely and sombre affair – one which I wouldn’t recommend subjecting yourself to which is a shame because the MP is actually pretty good fun! Instead there are Instant Action maps, missions focused on combat rather than story in which the player is scored by time and performance which can then be uploaded onto the XBL scoreboard.

The controls take a bit of getting used to, particularly for Call of Duty fans but after an hour or so of play they do become second nature.

Graphics

Here’s the thing, graphically F.E.A.R. is better than a lot of games released around the same time, in terms of textures and models it’s kind of outdated but in regards to special effects, lighting, shadows and such F.E.A.R. actually outperforms some titles released even today and the game holds up pretty well on a HDTV as well!

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Sound

Hook up the surround sound, turn up the volume and you won’t be let down. The sound effects are absolutely fantastic; the music adds plenty to the atmosphere and the only real drawback are the few moments of weak voice acting which occasionally rear their ugly heads.

Overall Score & Replayability

F.E.A.R is a game that manages what most survival horrors don’t; it’s a credit to both the FPS and horror genres. Its action orientated, its fun and most of all it’ll make you paranoid that all little girls in the world are in fact evil! Sure, it has faults but the good points outweigh them significantly and if you don’t mind a slightly outdated game at a bargain price then F.E.A.R. is a must buy!