F.3.A.R – Review

Platform | Release Date
PC | June 22, 2011
PS3 | June 22, 2011
X360 | June 22, 2011
Developed by Day 1 Studios
Published by Warner Bros.

The Pitch:


F.3.A.R. combines classic single and multiplayer combat with the unforgettable Horror and Survival gameplay that the franchise is known for. Continue the intricate storyline tying together the psychically dangerous mother Alma with her two sons Point Man and Paxton Fettel, as well as the F.E.A.R. Operations team. Players take control of both “Point Man” and Paxton Fettel at different times in the game, utilizing each characters unique abilities and powers in a dark adventure that will test the player’s loyalties, combat skills and sense of duty.

 

Let me start with saying this; F.3.A.R. is not scary. It is not even remotely unsettling, but then again I did not come into the game thinking it would be. Though it has been shoved uncomfortably into the thriller/horror genre, solely on the merits of the original F.E.A.R., the first play through of the game would be better classified as a military shooter. This being said, the title has accomplished quite a bit as a shooter, especially after having to live down the failure of F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.

Playing once again as the original F.E.A.R.’s protagonist, the ominously named “Point Man”, the player is thrown into a new adventure as he and his dead brother Fettel, who is seemingly back from the grave in psychic energy form, come together for a not always pleasant alliance. Their journey takes them from escaping captivity to making their way back to the original F.E.A.R. labs. The game follows a linear yet natural level progression, pushing forward through scores of Delta soldiers and as you get closer to the labs, followers of Alma who have been possessed by her psychic energy to the brink of madness.

Armed with basic military weapons; shotguns, snipers, pistols, duel wielded Uzis, a few different assault rifles and a variety of grenades, combat is taken to a new level while playing as Point Man. The AI in F.3.A.R. is incredible. Instead of stagnant, repetitive soldier movement, the AI seems to almost think for itself. Constant movement, flanking, and changing cover makes the frequent combat fresh and challenging, even reminiscent of playing against actual well trained humans. The use of the cover system is also well designed for challenging combat with different entry points and destructible surfaces.

Playing as Point Man is an incredibly satisfying shooter experience, but more satisfying is the addition of a second play through as Fettel, making the same campaign a completely different experience. As a spectral being, Fettel has the ability to inhabit enemy soldier’s bodies and use them to fight his way through the level. The more souls he captures, the longer he can possess other’s bodies. This play through is faster paced, a race to capture souls and build the body count.

Bringing both play styles together, the online co-op mode sees players join forces as Point Man and Fettel in a tag team blood bath. Using Fettel’s psychic abilities to control enemies and Point Man’s pure weapon based approach, I was faced with hours of fun playing with friends. Also packaged with online play are four different multiplayer modes. All MP modes are four player and range from cooperative to competitive, including the popular horde mode and the completely unique “F******* Run!” mode. With tons of MP, Co-op and 2 single player play throughs, F.3.A.R. gives more bang for the buck than most $6o titles.

F.3.A.R. seems to be only a very distant adopted relative to the original, not fitting neatly into its intended genre. However, what it did not inherit from its scary, paranormal parent, it makes up for in succeeding as a unique shooter. It exceeds expectations with more content than most games and a totally kick-ass fun co-op mode that kept me going back for more. This all came together to make F.3.A.R. not only a good game but a great value.

About Niki Fisher

Niki Fisher is a former staff writer for Splitkick and former co-host of the Fall Damage podcast.
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