Don't F.3.A.R. the R.3.A.P.3.R.
Have you ever gone to the movie theater knowing full well you were about to watch a totally shitty movie? Fantastic Four, anyone? You spend the money expecting to hate everything you see, maybe throw popcorn at the screen, and talk throughout the film about how stupid that one guy is for going into the house knowing that there's a murderer waiting for him inside. It's the kind of stupidity that actually transcends itself and turns into enjoyment.
F.E.A.R. 3 (I refuse to write it the other way) manages to surprise me by being the first game to do exactly that. It takes itself way too seriously, won't scare anyone beyond the monster-closet-BOO tactics you've come to expect, and acts as a platform on which players can laugh and enjoy together, despite the stupidly simple gameplay.
If you've been paying attention to the F.E.A.R. plot this long, you're a stronger gamer than I, and may actually understand what's going on in F.E.A.R. 3. The protagonist starts out in jail, but he's freed by… his brother, or something. And then there's Alma…. F.E.A.R. 3 does nothing to explain what's happened up to this point or what's happening over the course of the game's campaign. The narrative is so convoluted and confusing that it becomes a non-issue, if just to prevent your brain from imploding. Luckily, you'll be left with nothing but pure gameplay, which is more than fun enough all on its own.
Day 1 Studios keeps track of everything in the game with a scoring system, meaning headshots, grenade kills, and more are tallied up for players to measure themselves against each other. Tactics and Aggression challenges reward players for using weapons effectively or killing a high number of enemies in a row. Aptitude and Psychic challenges award players for whether they sought out all of the collectibles or if they were smart and knew when to take cover and use slow-motion abilities. These points can be racked up in solo- or co-op campaign modes.
Remember that those terrible summer movies are only really fun when you have buddies to chat with through the entire ordeal, and F.E.A.R. 3 really shines when you have a partner to play with. One of you will control "Point Man" and the other will control the psychologically gifted Saxton Fettel. Point Man can take cover and use Slow-Motion to dispatch enemies while Paxton [Thanks sandineyes] has a limited amount of psychic powers that can be used to pick up objects or take control of enemies. Using the two protagonists in concert results in some extremely enjoyable co-op play. You'll want to play the same level again and switch characters to attempt challenges again from the other side.
F.E.A.R. 3's multiplayer modes are especially fun if you've got a couple of buddies to play with. Contractions is like your typical Horde mode where supplies can be gathered for new weapons between rounds of enemies escalate in difficulty. Soul Survivor gives each player the ability to possess NPCs in a race to gather points while Soul King gives one player Fettel's abilities so that they can proceed to corrupt every other player.
Easily the most fun you'll have in multiplayer is in the Fucking Run mode. Four players will move through a map, killing AI enemies while what can only be called a raging storm of death chases you throughout the map. If one member of the team gets swallowed up, the team fails, so you're constantly jamming down on the stick to sprint while checking behind you to see how much time you have left. Fucking Run provides the sheer, hilarious terror that the campaign mode is missing out on. Whether you're sitting together in split-screen mode or playing online, F.E.A.R. 3's multiplayer will have you doubling over laughing and screaming at the same time.
If you're one of the many co-op gamers with buddies dotting the country, you've got to pick up F.E.A.R. 3. I doubt you'll find a better co-op or multiplayer experience this summer. Don't plan on understanding a word of the campaign; just plan on playing and replaying for higher scores, better multiplayer times, and the enjoyment you can only have from pure, hilarious, scared-stiff stupidity.