An average tactical shooter with some scary bits chucked in
Games that set out to scare you are becoming more and more commonplace, with games like resident evil and bioshock, as well as other horror based games. None however achieve the effect better than F.E.A.R. Having not played a lot of the first game, the concept of fear. is relatively new to me, but I picked up the game’s style quite quickly. I found fear to be similar to Half Life in gameplay style, but as I guessed, it contained a lot more shock, suspense and gore.
The gameplay of Fear is simple F.P.S. style, with a few little extras thrown in. The control system seemed fairly easy to get to grips with, yet I struggled with the controls for special weapons such as grenades and automated turrets. The game also includes a bullet time feature and a flashlight with limited power for dark areas. The variety of enemies and weapons make for a good few shocks, but levels seem dull and unvaried, with a lack of any variety. You will find yourself getting bored after a while of walking down the same types of corridors, sewers and warehouse complexes where the vast majority of the action takes place.
The game’s plot seems like a quite thin addition to the story of the original Fear. I found the story impossible to pick up because I had not played the original, and the player is not introduced to any of the other characters in any depth. The plot of the first expansion (extraction point) was a simple case of getting to the roof of a hospital for extraction, as when the origin facility (whatever that is?) exploded, the initial helicopter you were in was caught in the blast.
Perseus Mandate follows a second F.E.A.R. team dropped into the origin facility part way through the original game, who are sent to recover a prototype project labelled Perseus. Again, details on the plot are very hazy and seem most of the time to be just an excuse for the mindless violence and gore. The problem is, with the graphics being so old (think midway between half-life 1 and half-life 2 on minimum specs and your about there), the gore looks more funny than violent. I loved Yahtzee’s Zero Punctuation analogy of this; ?every now and then fear remembers that it wants to be a horror game so it makes the lights flicker or throws down a pool of blood like theres someone with the world’s most copious nose bleed 50 yards ahead of you?.
Probably my favorite thing about fear is that the enemy AI isn’t completely stupid like the AI in most of the games I play, and every now and then you are confronted with a more perplexing enemy which requires you to hang back for a bit longer and throw grenades at them. This is brought down slightly by that fact that most of the enemies you kill look and move in exactly the same way, which means you get to know what to expect.
To summarise, fear is an average tactical shooter with good enemy AI and a wide selection of weapons to choose from. The graphics look very dated in comparison to similar games like bioshock and resi 4, and this does no favours for the game’s inclusion of gore, which seems completely pointless most of the time. The details of the story are very hazy and chances are that like me, unless you played the original F.E.A.R. you wont understand the plot. Fear is in essence a bare bones tactical shooter with some horror elements thrown in, and its pretty average at what it does. What it really lacks is a decent graphics engine and a variety of different environments, but if you can overlook this, you will probably enjoy this game.
The Bad: Environments are unvaried, story is not understandable if you havent played the first fear, graphics are old
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