Publisher: Warner Bros.
Developer: Day 1 Studios
Release Date: 6/21/2011
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The original F.E.A.R. (you know it stands for First Encounter Assault Recon right?) was marked as an excellent shooter due to its scary atmosphere, solid shooting, and (at the time) system-pushing graphics. Two installments later the game has fizzled out as an above-average shooter and has lost most of its share value over the years. The game also feels more paramilitary than paranormal with the same generic soldiers, mechs, and the occasional tough boss. At this point, if you haven’t played the first game you will be completely lost in the plot. Even people who played the first and second when they came out might want to search Wikipedia for a plot refresher because F.E.A.R. has always been known for its holy plot and confusing endings.
The game feels a bit different from the last two games, but not by much. The game is tighter-ended with a better cover system, a couple of new weapons, and slightly updated visuals. You have your standard affair of weapons from assault rifles, sub-machine guns, shotguns, rocket launchers, and a few original weapons. The weapons feel solid though yet the aiming is a bit touchy. Every gun feels different and you must really use them in the right situations. This isn’t a stick-with-one-gun type of game. The slo-mo is back, but you can now upgrade yourself by doing things you normally would in the game and earn points. F.3.A.R. has based on co-op this time around so you can play as either the main protagonist Point Man or his dead brother Fettel who follows you around the story.
You get points by collecting weapons, doing kills, headshots, using the cover for a certain amount of time, finding the rare Alma dolls, dead bodies that give you Psychic Link points, etc. Throughout the campaign whoever scores the most points gets to see that ending of that brother. It’s a neat way to do co-op, but you can still enjoy the game by yourself. The game brings back the awesome mechs and they feel better than ever. You get to use them more often than the last entry so look forward to some awesome mech sections.
When it comes to the atmosphere I feel Project Origin pulled it off the best. That game was downright scary, but F.3.A.R. loses it somehow by concentrating too much on the action. Sure there are some points that make you jump, but Alma doesn’t appear nearly as much, and those truly scary points are far and few between. The ending is even disappointing and still doesn’t answer anything, but just concludes Point Man’s journey to find Alma and his dad. Alma is what made F.E.A.R., but due to her lack of exposure in this final entry, it just feels like an almost generic shooter. Not only that, but the campaign is really short with only 8 levels that can be beaten in about 8 hours.
has the best multiplayer suite in the series with the head mode being F****** Run! where Alma’s contractions (play the story to know what I am talking about) bring the walls down on you and you have to well…run. It’s too bad no one is playing online anymore so you probably have to stick to LAN on this one. That’s a bummer despite the game being so recent compared to the thousands who played F.E.A.R.’s separate multiplayer mode that was released months later than the original. There are other modes to be had in the game, but if you can’t get a LAN party going then you’re stuck with co-op or just the single-player.
Overall F.3.A.R. has decent visuals, but for some reason, the game has serious performance issues even on high-end systems. Constant stuttering, complete hang-ups, and other issues bog down the experience a little. The game is enjoyable at best, but I doubt you will run through the game a second time (even with a buddy) just to see the quick second ending (that’s what YouTube is for). I recommend this for a long time F.E.A.R. fans, but newcomers should start at the beginning or move on.