F.E.A.R. 3
Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sound 7

The series is moving away even further from its creepy horror roots and starting to feel a bit like a typical “Call of Duty” style shooter. There’s still a few nice ideas, but the scares are thin on the ground and the story isn’t exactly gripping. The co-op seems to have been the main focus of the game and works well.

Gameplay: The shooting mechanics are solid but it loses that spooky “F.E.A.R” feeling along the way.

Graphics: Looks good and the environments are a bit more varied than before.

Sound: Nothing but silence from the lead character, but overall the voices and music is decent

Summary 7.0 Good
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

F.E.A.R. 3

Developer: Day 1 Studios  | Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment | Release Date: 2011 | Genre: First Person Shooter | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam

The original F.E.A.R was one of the premier first person shooter titles on PC back in the day. Two expansions that were deemed non-cannon and a sequel that was a console port brought down the franchise a few notches but the brand name still generates some excitement. This third installment was handled by Day 1 studios instead of Monolith and the console versions were once again the priority so is the PC version still worth your time?

If you have been following the series right from the start, then you will know that the last game ended in quite a bizarre fashion. After having her wicked way with the F.E.A.R 2 lead, Michael Becket, Alma is now pregnant and her contractions are tearing the fabric of reality apart. Brothers and unholy offspring of Alma, Point-Man and Paxton Fettel, reunite to find their creep mother, each for their own reasons. As the protagonist and antagonist respectively, of the first game, the brothers have had their differences in the past, but must now work together towards their common goal. There is still some lingering resentment seeing as Point-Man did put a bullet in Paxtons skull, but thanks to his immense psychic powers the latter now exists as some sort of evil apparition with the ability to possess foes. The story was helped pen by writer Steve Niles but never really takes off I’m afraid.

The game opens with Point-Man (and yes everyone addresses him as such despite how daft it sounds) being beaten by some Armacham facility guards. Paxton shows up to save the day and from there it’s an action packed, bullet and blood drenched roller coaster ride spread out across eight “intervals.” The journey back to Freeport will take you through sewers, slums, suburbs and even a demolished airport. It’s very clear right from the start that this game was designed with co-op in mind. Playing as Point-Man gives you the typical first person shooter experience as you go in guns blazing. He still has the ability to activate slow motion, which makes lining up those headshots easier. Paxton on the other hand cannot pick up any guns due to his corporeal form. He makes up for this by hurling bolts of psychic energy at enemies and possessing targets. As long as he has a hold over enemies, things turn back into a typical shooter, although slain foes drop tokens that allow him to stay in possession mode longer. Paxton is vulnerable while in his own body so do not think that being a ghost makes you invincible.

If you play in solo mode, only Point-Man is initially available with Paxton being unlocked at the conclusion of each interval. I thought that this would offer a unique glimpse at another side of the story, but the levels and cut-scenes (bar the ending) remains the same. Speaking of cut-scenes, these are generally pretty good and give a deeper insight into the troubled childhood that the brothers shared. John Carpenter apparently lent a hand for the cinematics, but I was disappointed by how little revelations there were plot wise. It seems that everything, including the scares, took a backseat to the action. In a typical level you might see a few flickering lights or some objects moving along with a random Alma sighting, but its not long before hordes of enemies pour in, screaming expletives and shooting the place up.

Enemy encounters tend to last a while (especially on higher skill levels) as foes can soak up damage and are quite proficient at flushing you out with grenades or flanking you. There is a new first person cover mechanic where you can take shelter behind objects to take pot shots at enemies. Cover is destructible, which keeps you on the move, but I would have liked to see greater damage to the environment. You can expect to stomp around in a giant mech suite a few times and shoot down helicopters using a rocket launcher as well which is all very cool, but doesn’t’ exactly make things spooky. One of the levels which pits you against cultists in a large abandoned store come close to the F.E.A.R of old, but the sheer amount of enemies that hurl themselves at you with explosives strapped to their bodies made it feel like a Serious Sam title. Some nightmarish creatures, conjured up by Alma’s imagination also make an appearance later on but fail to provide frights. Even the “Creep” which stalks you through the game fails to live up to its potential, although the showdown with it is somewhat cool.

The co-op mode is where the game really comes into its own. Paxtons abilities compliment those of Point-Man, so one player can levitate enemies, making it easier for the other to riddle them with bullets. Like in solo mode, you get points and achievements for absolutely everything you do which not only increases your rank (giving you new perks) but also determines who is the “favourite son” at the end of each level. Random bodies scattered throughout the game world also reward you with psychic pints so the game subtly encourages you to outdo your partner on each level. While there are a few multi-player modes, they are co-op only in nature and are played with a maximum of three other players.

The visuals in the game are good and do a nice job of showcasing more varied environments. There is nothing here that you have not seen in other games before and there is nothing “cutting-edge” if that is what you want. The audio is a highlight, although Point-Man stubbornly refuses to utter a word. Paxton on the other hand can never keep his mouth closed during cinematics and each time he posses someone he giggles like a schoolgirl. The enemy chatter sounds good, but the most memorable part in the game is where everything becomes almost muted due to some psychic interference.

The game definitely feels like a console port due to the checkpoint saves and field of view. I must admit that I found the lack of scares somewhat disappointing as well. A two-weapon limit and regenerating health further drives the point home. F.E.A.R 3 is a solid shooter with plenty of action and a kick-ass co-op mode, but loses a lot of atmosphere in the process. If you are new to the series, you will definitely have fun, but I would have liked to see a greater emphasis on the creepiness that made the franchise famous.

*Review originally published in 2011.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz, AMD Athlon X2 4800+
  • Drive Space: 4.4GB
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Video Card: NVIDIA 8800 GT 512MB RAM, ATI 3850HD 512Mb RAM or better
  • DirectX®: 9.0c
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.93Ghz+, Intel quad core 2.66Ghz+, AMD Phenom II X2 550, 3.1Ghz+
  • Drive Space: 10.0GB
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Video Card: NVIDIA 9800 GTX+ 512MB RAM, ATI 5750HD 512Mb RAM or better
  • DirectX®: 11

Related posts

Deadfall Adventures

Deadfall Adventures

Deadfall Adventures is not without its flaws, but overall it is a solid and enjoyable game with some nice locations and tricky puzzles. There is nothing here that hasn't already been done before, but it blends all the elements together for an action packed experience that isn't afraid to tax your grey matter either. Hopefully this isn't the last time we join the adventures of James Lee Quatermain. Gameplay: A nice mixture of action and puzzle solving. Graphics: Exotic locations and great attention to detail. Sound: The voice acting could have been better, but the music and sound effects are solid.

Alphabeats: Master Edition

Alphabeats: Master Edition

Alphabeats offers a new spin on word games by challenging your vocabulary as well as your reflexes. Creating the longest and most complicated words using letters dropping from the top of the screen is harder than it sounds, especially when tied to a fast beat. The game requires some quick reflexes as you must also dodge unwanted letters, so don’t expect a completely tranquil experience. However, if you have a good vocabulary and decent selection of songs to import into the game, it can certainly keep you busy for a while. Gameplay: Challenges your word knowledge as well as reflexes. Graphics: A little more bland than we would have liked to see. Sound: Includes a nice selection of music tracks as well as the option to import your own.

Bad Hotel

Bad Hotel

Bad Hotel is a iOS port and while at first glance it might not seem like much to look at it does have a certain charm to it. The unique gameplay lends itself perfectly to quick bouts of playing, but the game can also become horribly addictive. The generative audio is also a nice touch, although at times the tunes can sound a bit wonky. The game is sold at a bargain price so it is well worth checking out for yourself. Gameplay: Fast, frantic and surprisingly addictive. Graphics: Simple but charming. Sound: The audio depends on your playing style.

The Room Two

The Room Two

Like the original PC version of The Room, the sequel took a couple of years to make the transition over from iOS. Players impatient after the cliffhanger ending of the game had to turn to the iOS version for the sequel, and indeed third installment of the game, but those who held out for the PC version are in for a treat. Fireproof Games once again took the time to create an enhanced high definition version of the game instead of simply releasing a quick port. Gameplay: The larger playing areas make for more puzzle variety. Graphics: Once again vastly improved over the original mobile release. Sound: Creepy and unnerving, but very fitting.

NeXus – One Core

NeXus - One Core

It is tough and unforgiving, but NeXus: One Core is also addictive and very rewarding. The solo mode has enough randomized elements and difficulty settings to keep you busy for a while, but it is the local co-op mode where this game truly shines. If you are a fan of the genre you should definitely check out the game, but for players who regularly play local co-op titles this is a must. Gameplay: Very challenging, but improving your best times through practice is very rewarding. Graphics: The game looks good, but visual distractions are kept to a minimum. Gameplay: Some great tunes that really complement the gameplay nicely.

Blue Rider

Blue Rider

Blue Rider is a game that will make you remember the days of encountering bosses that actually served as a challenge and not just a minor speed bump on your road to finishing the game. And while the game is far from easy it is addictive enough to keep you coming back for more. Thanks to the vibrant visuals and excellent enemy designs, especially the bosses, it is also a very good looking game. If you are not scared to be challenged and in the mood for a very polished shooter then get yourself a copy of Blue Rider. Gameplay: Tough and uncompromising, but still very entertaining and addictive. Graphics: Vibrant and varied. Sound: Nice music and booming explosions.

Leave a comment

2 × three =