F.E.A.R: Extraction Point

By on November 6, 2006

A disappointing expansion to the original.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

It looks like TimeGate took the word ‘expansion’ a little too seriously when they were given the mammoth responsibility of making an expansion pack to last year’s successful first person shooter F.E.A.R. Without understanding the true meaning of an expansion pack, TimeGate have given us the same bottle in the same package with new banners and stickers. The expansion offers 3 new weapon types, few new enemies, few story cut scenes which do not make any sense and the same old environments.

The game starts off immediately after the happenings in F.E.A.R. You are being taken to safety in a helicopter when it is suddenly shot down. You find out that Paxton Fettel (a telepathic military commander whom you had killed in the first game-or so you think) is still alive making your efforts in F.E.A.R useless. Thus begins your journey of six brand new levels (intervals as they call it), of defeating pretty much the same enemies in the same environments. The expansion pack does not further the story at all. Paxton and Alma do appear from time to time, you also get to see some story related scenes but that’s pretty much it. Even the phone messages which played a vital role in the story development in the original haven’t been used to its potential. You do find some but they are generic and do not offer any story.

Let’s talk about what the expansion has to offer first. We have three new weapons. The minigun (chaingun sort), which can shoot bullets faster than your enemy can blink an eyelid. The laser carbine with its constant beam of red energy can slice and dice the enemy. The developers have also put in turret mines to help us in our hour of need. Put them anywhere and it will start showering those cloned retards (the telepathically controlled cloned super soldiers of Paxton) with the choicest of bullets. Though they are not very helpful in piling them up, they offer a good distraction for you to then bid them goodbye with your shotgun or whatever you would want to use. Really helps in a crowd. Apart from them you have the repeats from the original, like the shotgun (personal favorite at close range), dual pistols, rifles, sub machines, penetrator, particle weapon, rock launchers etc.

To bring some variety to the killing the developers have introduced two new enemies. There is the heavy duty machine with bullet proof armor and a minigun and your blood on its mind. But they are no more difficult than their smaller versions (mini-me?). Then you have the creepy, swift, nearly invisible shadowy ninja types. They are one of the creepiest enemies I have ever faced. Given their agility, they will manage to do a few surprise punches which will leave you fanatically firing in empty spaces while they run away and attack from somewhere else. But playing them in the expansion pack wasn’t as a great experience then playing them in the demo. I think Sierra did a mistake by introducing them in the demo. They should have kept it under wraps and shown some tit-bits in one of the gameplay videos or trailers. The reason I say that is because for me, they are the high point in the game. It’s an extremely creepy yet fun experience while facing them.

The A.I has been notched up a little too. In F.E.A.R, we saw a truly great A.I experience. In fact it was the best A.I ever coded for a video game. TimeGate has tweaked the code a little making the enemies extremely smart and tough. They now pull up crates for cover, take alternative routes to have a shot at you and on many occasions they call out to each other and gang up on you. They can also spot you within seconds which is unrealistic because it leaves no scope for sudden surprises. But they provide some real challenge on the battle ground. This results in intense gun fights, scrabbling for cover and health packs and with the slick slow-mo feature it makes the fights even more splendorous.

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The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
6
Still solid with its spectacular gun fights, new weapons and enemies but the lack of new environments is disappointing.
GRAPHICS
8
Fantastic but nothing you havent seen before in F.E.A.R. But the un-optimized engine for systems with low RAM is a downer too.
SOUND
7.5
Compliments the graphics and might well scare the bejeezus out of you.
VALUE
3
Other than higher difficulty, the game provides nothing more.
FUN FACTOR
3
It still plays the same old.
OVERALL
5.5
Lack of variety in gameplay and no story development hampers the game. A very average expansion to a great game.

About

Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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