F.E.A.R 3 Review

By on July 19, 2011

A solid shooter that’s low on scares.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Playing a well-executed horror game is an experience not many other games can match, while a poorly made one can seem like painful comedy. Fortunately, over the past few years we have seen many great horror games, and the genre has done well thanks to healthy competition between the likes of Resident Evil, Alone in the Dark, Silent Hill, F.E.A.R and most recently Dead Space. All these games have their own varying styles of gameplay, and this review talks about F.E.A.R 3, an FPS.

The plot revolves around stopping a pregnant Alma, an evil and incredibly powerful psychic, from having her child due to the fear of how powerful this baby may be. I won’t spoil the story for you by telling you all the details, but basically you spend most of the game shooting and blowing up enemies to accomplish this and there aren’t many twists along the way.

You take control of Point Man on your first playthrough of the game. Point Man is your generic protagonist, however he has super-quick reflexes that allow you to slow done time. You can also replay any of the game’s 8 levels with a different character called Fettel. Fettel is a bit more interesting than Point Man, as he has the ability to take over the bodies of enemies from afar. This, as you can imagine, can create a lot of havoc and is a lot of fun.

If you were allowed to use these abilities in tandem with each other, you could come up with many imaginative ways of destroying hordes of enemies; and that is exactly what the co-op allows you to do. The co-op allows you to play the campaign online or locally, with one player controlling Point Man and the other Fettel. Thanks to the limitless ways in which you can combine your powers, you can play each level several times without it getting boring.

Apart from these psychic abilities your characters possess, the gameplay is the same as pretty much every FPS out there. The shooting mechanics are quite solid, aiming is smooth and your weapons have a feeling of brutality about them. The grenade-throwing does feel a bit wonky however, and it seems that there’s no way to judge accurately where your grenades will land.

So the shooter part of the game seems pretty good, but as a horror game it’s got to be…. scary. Unfortunately, you won’t find too much to fear in F.E.A.R 3. There are odd moments where you might feel a bit spooked out, but there’s nothing that’ll give you nightmares.

Apart from the campaign, there’s the online multiplayer; and this is where you will probably spend most of your time. It consists of 4 game modes, and each mode only allows 4 players in a match. However these 4 game modes are quite unique. F***ing run has you and your 3 team-mates running from a wave of deadly fog, while fighting through hordes of enemies. In Contraction the 4 players work together to fight off waves of enemies. In Soul King you must possess enemies to kill each other while in Soul Survivor you have to possess enemies to kill the other players turning them into spectres like yourself.

All this is supplemented by a well-implemented points system, which has you unlocking different perks and abilities as you level up. You gain these points by completing various tasks, in the campaign or multiplayer. This helps hook you into the already solid multiplayer.

One place where the game does disappoint are the visuals. The graphics are far below the standards we’ve come to expect from this gen’s games. While graphics are not the be all and end all for any game, in this case the poor visuals ruin the atmosphere, which is so important for any horror game. The game does redeem itself to a large extent with the audio side of things. While the voice-acting is decent, the sound-effects and music are brilliant and do a great job of creating an eerie ambience.

Overall this game is a FPS with a small touch of horror, rather than a full-fledged horror game. The single player of decent length, along with the unique multiplayer make this a solid game and one that you can put a good amount of time into without it getting monotonous. So if you’re looking to buy F.E.A.R 3, you’ve got nothing to fear.

The Scorecard
Solid shooting mechanics, however small issues with the grenade-throwing.
Doesn't offer the visuals expected from this generation's games, which has a negative effect on the atmosphere of the game.
The sound-effects and music are top-notch, and do a great job at creating an uneasy atmosphere.
The 8 hour campaign is of a decent length compared to most of today's FPS's, and the unique multiplayer will have you coming back for more.
Online game-modes such as F***ing Run and Contraction, and to a lesser extent the co-op campaign, are great fun to play.
Not enough horror, but the refreshing differentness complemented by the solid gameplay make this a great game.


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