F.E.A.R. Exclusive Hands-On Preview - Multiplayer and Hitting the Wall

We run like the wind through a new panic-inducing multiplayer mode in this horror-themed shooter.

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We rounded the next corner and poured out of the alleyway. From behind cover, a half-dozen enemy soldiers opened fire on us as we sprinted up the street. There were flipped cars and sandbags to hide behind, but we knew better. The real danger wasn't at the end of a rifle; it was behind us, chasing us. Our hands were wound tight around the controller, and our eyes were glued to the screen. We were eating bullets like they were candy, but safety was just a few yards away. We could hear the voices of our teammates screaming over the headset as we crossed the threshold into the safe house. And just before the doors closed behind us, we turned to see it: the Wall. This is the story of our time in multiplayer. The third game in the F.E.A.R. series will have pulse-pounding multiplayer to go with its single-player game.

The F.E.A.R. series has always combined gunplay with horror elements. Just when you think it's safe, some supernatural horror will materialize from out of nowhere and send your heart straight to the back of your throat. While this experience can be easily manipulated in a single-player game, it's a bit more difficult to build that same dread and tension when you're chatting with your friends over Xbox Live. However, this hasn't stopped developer Day 1 Studios from trying. It may not give you goose bumps, but it's hard not to be freaked out when you're blazing through F.E.A.R.'s new multiplayer mode, which is called, and we're completely serious about this, "F***ing Run!"

The new mode cleverly adapts tense atmosphere into a multiplayer setting.

This new multiplayer mode is a four-player race against the clock. In front of you stands a city of armed soldiers, ready to give their lives to end yours. Behind you is the Wall, a physical manifestation of rage from the most dangerous character in the F.E.A.R. series, Alma. The Wall takes the form of a twisting gray storm cloud made up of screaming faces. The goal is to get all four players from checkpoint to checkpoint without losing a single one to the Wall. When you reach a checkpoint, you're given a brief reprieve (and some ammo) before being shoved back into the chaos. This is an all-or-nothing situation; the moment one of your teammates gets swallowed up by the storm, the round is over.

Maps will tempt you with weapons and ammo hidden within side streets and long alleyways.

After playing a handful of matches, we quickly learned that the best strategy wasn't to shoot every bad guy we came across. Dropping those fools takes too much time, and we had to keep moving if we wanted to survive. However, if we just ignored our foes, they would quickly swarm us with numbers and bury us under a barrage of shotgun fire. Being felled by an enemy doesn't spell instant death. If you aren't too far behind, an ally can double back and quickly revive you. That is, if the Wall doesn't get you both first.

When the rolling terror gets too close, the screen starts shaking, all color fades from your view, and a violent end is usually one wrong turn away. Together, these elements made for a multiplayer mode that was stressful in all the right ways. It relentlessly challenged our fight-or-flight instinct, and even the tiniest slipup was a panic-inducing one. The emphasis on teamwork and the pressure to keep moving forward reminded us of the frantic matches of Left 4 Dead. Not surprisingly, that game happens to be a favorite around the Day 1 offices.

When things go bad, above all else, make sure you don't hit the Wall.

One aspect of this new mode that we didn't get to experience was "score attack," which was still in the works. Once implemented, this fiendish risk/reward system will grade your team not just on its speed but also on its efficiency. How many kills can you score and still finish within the time limit? See for yourself when the game debuts on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC this May.

Discussion

122 comments
MihaiHornet
MihaiHornet

Well, it's out, is less than 10 hours long and it has checkpoints. Hardly surprising.

sooty1987
sooty1987

noooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MihaiHornet
MihaiHornet

@sooty1987 No 1 feature in F3AR description on Amazon: "Divergent Co-op: Deep, social gameplay that gives players distinctly different abilities." Social? WTF is this, f***ing fac3book? And multiplayer is already over hyped on Gamespot. Scary coop? Really? I don't buy this. My bet is that single player will be like 10 hours, more or less. Considering FEAR 2, I'm also pretty sure that F3AR will also require steam (which personally I hate). To summarize, social F***ing Run! on steam. F***ing cool! :P I hope I'm wrong but I'm afraid I'll be right. You have been warned! I wonder how many preorders they got because of this f***ing stupid name. DISCLAIMER I'm not using offensive language, I only copy/paste F3AR coop mode name, whatever it f***ing means.

sooty1987
sooty1987

omg looks cool i hope its not just all about multiplayer...

MihaiHornet
MihaiHornet

I'm only guessing... Single player will be short, multiplayer is what FEAR 3 will be about. Will require steam. I might f***ing pass on F3AR.

trozan_911
trozan_911

YES Amnesia is the scariest game ever made.....Will there b amnesia 2??

kjk07
kjk07

I wish I were playing this right now.

-TheDarkWolf-
-TheDarkWolf-

@ trozan_911 You've obviously not played Amnesia: The Dark Descent, then.

Dante200X
Dante200X

Let's hope FEAR3 is more like the first one and less like the 2nd. Anybody with half a brain knows that the 2nd was more of a step-DOWN than step-up in most areas. I really do have high hopes for this one though.

km001
km001

@trozan_911 I think the scariest game is Amnesia: the dark descent. It makes me scared in the dark lol

trozan_911
trozan_911

I still play F.E.A.R 1 because i think its the scariest game ever made

kenny1292
kenny1292

I borrowed F.E.A.R. 1 from my cousin and it was amazing. That was only a couple of months ago. I think im gonna buy FEAR 2 and 3 next. I'm gonna try and pursuade my friends to buy it if the multiplayer turns out well. Also, two words...yep you guessed it... F***ING RUN!!!!!!!!!! LOL

trozan_911
trozan_911

I still play F.E.A.R 1 because i think its the scariest game ever made :)

thetravman
thetravman

Imagine that. A co-op experience that's actually scary. I'm hoping they pull this off well.

DarthChristian
DarthChristian

It sounds pretty fun. I wonder what Monolith Games are doing now days tho. The first Fear is one of my fav games ever.

DarkWolfx12
DarkWolfx12

OH man, I so love horror themed FPS!!

Pr3acher
Pr3acher

the next one is gonna be called F.E.4.R, then 5.E.A.R, then F.E.A.R 6, u got me.

s_emi_xxxxx
s_emi_xxxxx

Love the blood & gore.. always been awesome in FEAR series.

sensei_hEnRY
sensei_hEnRY

Nice concept, i hope there will be splitscreen offline co-op for this mode. I would be happy playing it with my brother

Gooshnads
Gooshnads

I was worried it'll be something like the 2nd [or even worse with the live action trailers and the coop idea] but the fact that it's the same composer for music as dead space and dead space 2 along with the artistic direction going back towards Fear 1 somewhat... I'm excited.

Kooken58
Kooken58

@HaloinventedFPS I agree, the original looked great for its time and it and the lil expansion was alot more freaky than the second....Hell even the gore effects and the AI was better in the original. The AI actually flanked you and such. That was a couple of my personal dislikes with the game, the cartoony lookin blood...and that it being a console port.

irwin888
irwin888

Haha! Let's get an oorah for the F-Run! Never thought the F.E.A.R. crew would make me laugh, but I stand corrected. Even if it turns out to be the worst installment, I'll play it just so I can scream that phrase at the beginning of a multiplayer match :)

killer2145
killer2145

FEAR = F**K EVERYTHING AND RUN Man is this game look scary ;P

davedrastic
davedrastic

I really liked FEAR Combat - free on the PC. I then played FEAR on PS3 and it was dated, but good. FEAR 2 was more of the same, but I did lose alot of time not knowing where to go, which was annoying. I'm likely to get FEAR 3 at some stage, but I'm confident it won't be a ground breaking game. Having said that, it doesnt have to be. If they get the right balance on multiplayer it might well be worth a full release purchase - have the maps not too big, not too small. Not everyone can invest the time required to know all the ins and outs of complicated maps. Keep it simple and i'll buy it.

HaloinventedFPS
HaloinventedFPS

looks like another console port such a shame, since Fear 1 was so good, Fear 2 was just a casual piece of garbage made for console gamers

rob_dAmAgE
rob_dAmAgE

@leafsfreak - i totally agree with you 100% The ending was exceptional and very adult oriented for a video game. Fear 2 has definitely been my favorite in the series, and unfortunately, it looks to stay that way...

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

I like the fear games but the franchise doesn't interest me as much as others do soo I'll just put this title on the back burner and see how it turns out after release...

Mr_Dukes
Mr_Dukes

I think F.E.A.R went the wrong way. I think Alma should have been done after 1st. FEAR is a group. They should have multiple missions, they've been on this single mission w/ Alma since 2006 or whenever 1st FEAR came out. I think they could maybe expand there minds and have some other missions involving creepy stuff elsewhere in the world. Deploy around the world, taking care of the creepyest missions that teams have disappeared on. Alma is boring, yes, it can be fun/ creepy at times, but man!!! The F.E.A.R unit has lost all credability... i dont even think your chearacters part of the unit anymore. Its just the same thing everygame, im serious, the 1st FEAR shoul've ended it, they NUKED the city, Alma's gone, good job guys, mission accomplished, NEXT!!! maybe a poltergiest in babylon? Something creepy in the bramuda triangle... anything other then this.

DanielL5583
DanielL5583

If a Gamespot reviewer gives this less than 8.0, then he was probably wetting himself so much that he was embarrassed by it. That's the only vaguely valid reason.

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

sounds awesome, i wasnt planning on getting this, but im much more interested now. great preview by the way "which is called, and we're completely serious about this, "F***ing Run!" " lol :D what a great name

Colestone
Colestone

No reason why both the single player and multiplayer can't be good.

Astro-Effect
Astro-Effect

F3AR...looks they hav sm awesome eyepoping horror elements(hmm wht ts this..:shock:..they made ma sreen go paranormal :o whl commentng...LOL) n yeah multiplayer seems quite interesting.

Astro-Effect
Astro-Effect

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

Looks good, pre-ordered it from Amazon along with that $20 dollar credit. So far, it looks like a interesting game. Can't wait.

nuke45
nuke45

terror apocalipse,good!

leafsfreak
leafsfreak

Fear 2 was a fantastic game, the most underrated game of last Gen in my opinion. It looked great, ran smoothly, had extremely satisfying shooting and an UNREAL ending. Why it got such low scores, I'll never know but I'm thrilled for this game and am probably going to play through the first two for old time's sake.

RugerRellP90
RugerRellP90

I'll bet there is no way this will be able to touch the first ones storyline.

foojam
foojam

Editors are noobs, they played with a controller. PC=mouse/keyboard.

killer690
killer690

I like the FEAR games, "scary" 1st person shooters, I can't wait to F3AR Alma again..... again.

koospetoors
koospetoors

Sounds like a fun gamemode. While I'm still a bit skeptical about this game, it still looks a tad bit promising.