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F.E.A.R. Member Review for the PC

Tyrranis By:
Tyrranis
06/19/09
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE First-Person Shooter 
PLAYERS 1- 16 
PUBLISHER VU Games 
DEVELOPER Monolith 
RELEASE DATE Out Now
M What do these ratings mean?

You'll be screaming, but not out of F.E.A.R.

[NOTE TO READER: This review covers the F.E.A.R. Platinum Pack, which includes both expansions]

Yeah, the title sucks. So what?

So we have F.E.A.R., which to me seems like it's either the most ironic accidental accronym in the history of E-ternity, or the worst marketing ploy of all time. I mean honestly, when you're dealing with supernatural beings, surely naming your unit in such a way that the acronym is 'fear', whilst knowing full well that your team is going to get into some pretty crazy and spooky scenarios just doesn't seem like a good idea.

Well nevermind that, because I really should talk about the game, eh?

I've been writing these reviews for a while now, and this will shock my regular readers but I'm really at a loss for words on this one. For, you see, to me F.E.A.R. is nothing more than a mundane shooter with a brutal difficulty curve, and some pretty wonky moments.

For starters, let's go with the games painfully obvious attempts at scare factors. Granted, they had a good idea going for this, but the problem is that I am a tough cookie to scare. The game does have some startling moments, sure, but nothing overly scary. I played through every part of F.E.A.R. (excluding Perseus Mandate's Bonus Missions), and nothing scared me. Ever. The convicts in Dead Rising were more scary than the entire of this game. The main reason? Every time the game goes into 'horror mode', you get static over the radio, which has the same effect as the guy sitting behind you in the cinema saying "Ooh, this is the part where they find the mutilated corpse in the closet. Man, I so freaked out when I saw this the first time!". Maybe if Alma had tried to rip your intestines out BEFORE the static played, you wouldn't be expecting it, and as such would be more affected by it. The problem is that this doesn't make good gameplay, so most developers avoid moments like this. Needless to say, if you're screaming because of this game, it'll hardly be due to Alma, though after some time in the game I ended up giving her a different name.

No, if you're screaming it'll likely be due to Fettel and his Clone soldiers. Being the major contributing faction to your in-game battles, Fettel and his Clone soldiers will infuriate you to the point where you wish to do terrible things to not only them, but everyone around you (and, seeing as how combat-capable friendly AI isn't in F.E.A.R. until Extraction Point, it is perfectly acceptable). The main reason is that their AI is just so advanced, moreso than most other games. They will flank you, they will dodge, they will co-ordinate and they will kill you. Over and over and over and over again. Expect a good 5 or 6 quickloads per firefight, so save often. More, if they bring out the heavy-armour guys, or in Perseus Mandate when those guys who have an insane dodging ability and throw grenades far, far too often show up. Although you get a short reprieve when you finally kill Fettel at the end of the base game, when he's brought back near the start of Extraction Point you just can't help but get very pissed off.

Other than the lackluster scare tactics and the infuriating fights, there is very little to F.E.A.R. that is worth commenting on, mainly as there is very little else to it. Sure, there is multiplayer, but (although I have not experienced it) apparently online it degenerates into slide-kicking around, over and through everything.

About the only thing good about F.E.A.R. and its expansions is the story. It's a good story, well-written and with plenty of twists, which is why I haven't mentioned any specifics in this review, but it doesn't excuse the gameplay.

Nor does it excuse the control scheme. Normally, I don't mention the controls, but whoever came up with the brilliant idea of having the 'Throw Grenade' button nestled between the 'Holster Gun' button and 'Use' buttons should be very, very ashamed of themselves. Multiple times I wanted to put my gun down, pick up a gun or even just open a freaking door, only to accidentally press the button that at best did nothing because I was out of grenades, and at worst blew me up in a spectacularly infuriating manner. It's not like the game doesn't kill me enough with the insane enemies, but does it have to make me blow myself up too?

So, I didn't have fun with F.E.A.R.. Not at all. It was frustrating and the 'scares' were let down by an early warning system. Story's good enough to warrant a playthrough though. Only one, though.


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