Friday, December 23, 2011

Review: F.3.A.R.

[This review was originally written in June as a video review but was lost, now that I've recovered the original script I've rewritten it to fit a regular text review. Enjoy.]
There's been two years since FEAR 2 Project Origin was released on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Games for Windows Live. Last week, Day One Studios took their shot at developing the latest sequel to the Monolith Software franchise with FEAR 3, alternatively named Fthreeaaeh... FffthreeAer... Fine, F.3.A.R. But I'm not calling it that!

  • F.3.A.R. (F.E.A.R. 3)
  • Developed by Day One Studios / Published by Warner Brothers Studios
  • Reviewed on 360 / Available on PC/360/PS3
  • PEGI: 18+ / ESRB: M
  • Reviewed by: Tobbii Karlsson

FEAR 3 picks up about 9 months after the events of FEAR 2, which I won't be spoiling in case people might have missed that beauty of a game. You're back in control as Point Man, the F.E.A.R. operative from the original FEAR game from 2005, but this time there's a huge twist on the gameplay. A second player may join in to play the entire campaign in co-op as Point Man's dead brother Paxton Fettel. Thanks to his psychic ability and their strong bond due to being of the same blood as the antagonist Alma Wade, he has been able to take human form despite being dead to torment and also help his brother along his way.

The story is well written, but don't even try to grasp it unless you have good knowledge on both the original FEAR and FEAR 2, the game is much heavier on reffering previous events than FEAR 2 was and it also relies heavily on the way it's been set up. Because of this, even mentioning anything further than what I have done so far could be considered massive spoilers for either FEAR 2 or the original FEAR, so I'll refrain from doing that. I will however, comment on the ending. Without mentioning any direct events, I felt it did not explain as much as it could have done. There are two ways the game ends depending on which of the two players have had the highest score throughout the game, but in either case it feels a bit short and not as large as the rest of the game builds it up to be.

The game itself takes about 6 to 7 hours to beat in single player, after that you can have another go as Paxton for about the same time. But if you intend on playing co-op, you might be disappointed with the length of the game. Everything is presented the same, which means that thanks to there being two of you, it almost halves the time you play and ends up in a 4 hour territory. Thankfully, the game stands greatly on its own both in singleplayer and co-op, so this is not much of an issue. Also, thanks to Point Man and Paxton playing very different from eachother, the game gives even more reason to playing it at least twice. Point Man plays much like he did in the original FEAR, however, for some reason he can not dual wield handguns anymore, he also lost his inventory space from three weapons to two weapons.

But perhaps the biggest change, is the change from a regular health-bar with kits lying around, FEAR 3 has adapted the regenerative health system. That's perfectly fine, although I'm not a fan of when a franchise that's been active for six years suddenly makes that kind of change when there's been no previous need for it. Paxton on the other hand, has no weapons. He uses his psychic ability to make people explode or taking over their bodies to battle against the replica forces. When he takes over a body, he plays like Point Man but on a time-limit. Paxton also lacks the ability to willingly slow down time with his heightened reflexes.

There are four kinds of multiplayer to FEAR 3. They're called Soul King, Soul Survivor, Contractions and Fucking Run. Soul King lets four players play like Wraiths with the same ability as Paxton Fettel trying to steal souls from enemies and eachother. Soul Survivor lets you play as survivors that, when they die, becomes these Wraiths and tries to kill off the rest of the team. Contractions is your standard horde mode that gets really tough. And last, but not least, is Fucking Run. Fucking Run is a co-operative mode which pits you against a liniar stage with a lot of enemies and a wall of death following you. If anyone dies, the game is over. It's hard, but a lot of fun.

For some reason, the regular FEAR Combat is not available in FEAR 3. Both the original FEAR and FEAR 2 had some of the most fun deathmatches of modern shooters in my opinnion, so this is quite a loss. Except that FEAR Combat can be downloaded as freeware for your PC letting anyone experience the great game without any fees, so perhaps that's why they let it be for this entry.

FEAR 3, is without any doubt going to be a great contender for FPS-Game of the Year in December. The question is, can it stand up to the likes of Rage, Modern Warfare 3 and Serious Sam 3? Well my instincts tell me, yes, it can probably put up a hell of a fight. Now if you excuse me, I need to get back inside so I can play some Soul Survival.

Final Evaluation:
8.5/10 - Great Game

Tobbii Karlsson played F3AR for a total of 20 hours, 15 hours for the main campaign.
Tobbii beat every questline twice and spent 5 hours on multiplayer.

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