The F.E.A.R. series has always been a polarizing one for me. My initial experience buying the
games a year ago had me quickly dismissing the titles based upon the fact that if there was
a horror element it was severly lacking. The fact that the first game's world was
populated with soldiers and mechs was the furthest thing from horror in my mind. The only
apparent scares being a little girl that would randomly appear during the game. To this day
I still think FEAR isn't quite competant as a horror title based on the gameplay presented
but it's the atmosphere that drives it. So why then was my first full game experience with a
FEAR title the latest game?
As the game released out of curiousity like I always do, I asked my good friends ChillyBilly
their impressions of the game. They of course really enjoyed the game but
I remember Monk relaying to me how it put alot of focus on co-op and that it's campaign
could be played with a buddy both online or splitscreen. I'm not gonna lie, I'm a sucker for
any game that allows me to do this because I love the shared experience outside of standard
FEAR 3 or F.3.A.R. (don't worry I'm never doing that again) is the 3rd game in the F.E.A.R.
series. It is the story of the two brothers The Point Man and Paxton Fettel both the
Protagonist and Antagonist of the first FEAR game. The game is set off by the escape attempt
of The Point Man with the help of his ghostly brother who appears quite corporeal to the
Point Man during cutscenes and enemies during gameplay. Through they're journey they set out
to reach their mother Alma and rediscover their childhood origins. At the end of the day it
was FEAR 3's dynamic of two brothers, one a notable baddy now set to help is brother that
prompted me to check out the older FEAR titles and to see the evolution of how we got to
where we are now in FEAR 3. It's also the game's greatest strength.
FEAR 3 is a really fun game and it's made so by the co-operative gameplay of the brothers.
Admittedly this is mostly due to the more "helpful" nature of Fettel, arguably the reason
you should check out this title. It's true The Point Man really doesn't have the strongest
arsenal at his disposal left mostly with Slo Mo reflexes, a slide and jump kicks and obvious
advantage of guns. On the other hand Fettel can suspend enemies, possess their bodies with
all the benefits that come along with that, shoot psychic blasts. His suspension power can
also be used as a shield on the Point Man much like The Medic uses the medical beam on a
Heavy in TF2. To be fair while he is definitely the more compelling, there are alot of
situations in the game where he's the weaker of the two. When Fettel possesses a body he
must maintain it by collecting blood orbs and sections sometimes become impossible in his
ghostly form. To that end though the game shows it'sfull strength when played in a co-op
environment, as one player as Fettel suspends a soldier for The Point Man to shoot. The
game also offers up in game challenges for both brothers which end up determining which
of the two brothers is "Alma's Favourite Son" and affecting the games outcome.
I think one big critism of FEAR 3 by it's detractors is that it doesn't "feel" like a FEAR
game and now having played significantly through the first FEAR anyways I can somewhat see
why there might be concern. The original FEAR seems to predicate itself on "atmosphere" with
lights flickering on and off while always seeing something out of the corner of your eye.
Yes, FEAR 3 doesn't have the same care toward being spooky in this regard, it does have the
attempted jump scares and Alma being scattered amongst the environment but you're no longer
skulking through dark corridors. Instead it's become more traditional horror. For the FEAR
series I may be one of the few that actually feels it works better. FEAR 3 environments
which admittedly are more about the look are appealing to an aesthetic, that the environment
itself is fucked up rather than shadows that are lurking. Heck it still has that to a smaller
extent but it's still creepy for a different reason. Of course though and it's totally true
you are going to lose some of that now that you're playing with a friend but I think when
most of your time is spent shooting soldiers it's not a bad thing to try and ramp up the
horror rather than totally rely solely on setting that atmosphere solely for scares when
again you have to look at what your doing gameplay wise. I think honestly FEAR 3 is alot
truer to it's attempting to be than the first in that regard but hey that's me.
I'd honestly say that I'd agree with Jim's assessment of FEAR 3. I might have given it a
point more because while I've had trouble getting into Multiplayer I have been able to get
into it. I've also been stuck on the forever loading "Joining Match" loading screen. I'll
just throw out a warning now. Never use the "Quick Match" function in FEAR 3, lest you
desire having to reboot your system. The actual Multiplayer itself has both some really
interesting and really standard modes in it. Contractions which can be fun no doubt, is
essentially the games "Horde Mode". It's good and fun with friends but definitely not the
stand out reason to try Multiplayer. Soul Survivor is another "alright concept". It's a
basic survival mode where when played with others one player is designated a wraith that can
possess bodies while everyone else is human. The wraith must possess these players to bring
them to their side with which they then get to hunt down the other players.
Soul King however is pretty interesting. You and 3 other players wraiths and must possess
bodies and then kill as many NPC's as they can to become Soul King (the most souls possessed)
with other players able to interact with one another and take each other out to collect all
their souls (like Skulls in Halo). However has the most souls at the end of the round wins.
F**king Run is probably my favourite mode. Your tasked with always moving forward as a giant
tornado aka Wall Of Death stalks you on your path as you and 3 other friends kill enemies
infront of you to move forward and always keep one step ahead of your impending doom. It's
a shame that there is no standard Deathmatch mode but I can't knock if for trying something
else. It only has up to 4 players on each mode with you also being able to play each mode
Solo or 2 player Splitscreen which honestly is a nice change considering alot of Multiplayer
modes are accessible only online.
In the end FEAR 3 is a fine game, some would say criminally short (4 to 5 hours) but for me
anyways offers up reasons to replay it based on characters like Fettel and the said shared
experience of it's campaign. Some might want to wait on it down the road but I do think it's
a game you should definitely check out. It's a fun horror game that puts emphasis on playing
with friends, what's so wrong with that?