Sunday, March 1, 2009
F.E.A.R. (PC, 360, PS3)
Let's get one thing straight: This game is the digital embodiment of the sin of gluttony. The system requirements are through the roof.
F.E.A.R. (It's an acronym, First Encounter Assault Recon) is a spooky shooter from the year 2005. I'm quite surprised anyone was actually able to run it back then. Look, I'm sorry but I just can't get over the system requirements. I can't even run the thing on full settings on my box. Box full of FAIL.
The game is very well presented - You get a nice, small hud and some very cool looking menus. It's too bad noone plays the multiplayer component anymore, I was somewhat looking forward to having a deathmatch or two. On the bright side, you get a nice, solid campaign with a few great scares, plus there's a pair of expansion packs to get ahold of when you're done with it. Unfortunately, the cast of characters is forgettable except for a few. Which are the fat bastard and villain. Yes, that's it. The plot is somewhat one-sided with you taking a trip all through a city to try and find Paxton Fettel a.k.a mister creepy motherfucker of the year. There's also a creepy little girl on your tail called Alma. Apparently, it was experiments abound with her leaving her stripped of the miracle of life. And also giving her the ability to be a bitch.
Seriously, she's pretty creepy.
Graphically, the game doesn't disappoint with some spectacular smoke and lighting effects comparable to today's standards. And this is just 2005. The character models aren't quite as spectacular, but they get the job done. The game gives you a great slow-mo ability which is fantastic. It's great watching bodies tossed about as you juggle them through the air with bullets. Speaking of guns and such, it's a pretty gory game. Not for the squeamish. I mean really, this is GORY. You'll be walking into rooms and saying, "how in the hell did blood get on the CEILING?" like I did. All in all, the spectacular lighting makes it all the spookier, with those flickering lights... flickering... with creepy realism.
The gameplay is great. You get to have some really intense firefights, and they're even better with the slow-mo. There's a good variety of weapons thrown in - You've got a nice, big multi-rocket-launcher (three barrels, damn!), a handy spas12 shotgun, dual-wieldable pistols, a particle accelerator and a pair of machine gun, an SMG and an assault rifle. There's also an assortment of explosives to use - Proximity grenades, proximity mines, and remote bombs. The AI is great. They take cover, they react to your flashlight beams, they'll toss grenades to get you out of cover, they'll shoot explosive barrels to try and kill you. As you may have guessed from the title, fear is a scary game. There's a few creepy moments, plenty of dark corridors and screamers. They're all pretty blunt screamers though, one was so blunt it gave me a headache. It was a corpse bashing through a window. It was just so sudden and loud.
The sound design is also good. There's a good line-up of creepy sounds, music and gunshots which are complimented by some good voicework. There really isn't a whole lot to say in this category.
All in all, fear is a good purchase if you're looking for a good bit of action and some spooks. There's two expansion packs if you can't get enough, plus a sequel - Project Origin.
Presentation - 7.6 The plot is a little forgettable, but the scares and everything else keep it steady.
Graphics - 8.8 Great smoke and fantastic lighting effects leave the fairly solid model design in the dark.
Sound - 8.4 An assortment of spooky sounds and some good voice acting make fear a blast to listen to.
Value - 8.0 A nice, beefy campaign holds the game together, but that's it. Pick up the gold edition, I say. Comes with both expansions.
Overall - 8.5