F.E.A.R. Updated Hands-On - Xbox Live Marketplace Demo

We spook out our Xbox 360 with the new downloadable F.E.A.R. demo.

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Following the 2006 Tokyo Game Show like jet lag, Sierra has released a short single-player demo of F.E.A.R. for the Xbox 360 through Xbox Live Marketplace. The demo should be immediately familiar to those who've played the original PC single-player demo of F.E.A.R., as it features a similar scenario. Despite the strong sense of déjà vu it gave us, the demo gives a good sense of what to expect.

The demo wastes no time with explanation or exposition.

The demo starts with you in the passenger seat of a car. Within seconds, and with no additional setup, you arrive at your destination of a nameless industrial complex, a common locale for F.E.A.R., where your objective is to find and eliminate Paxton Fettel. You start off armed with a handgun and a submachine gun, though we also picked up some hand grenades, a landmine, and a shotgun before the demo was over. The setting and the payload might seem a tad generic, but with F.E.A.R., the devil's in the details.

As a PC first-person shooter, F.E.A.R. made a name for itself in two areas: explosive gunplay and unnerving scares. The first is delivered through a series of intense, close-quarters firefights that punctuate the roughly 12-minute demo. Most of the encounters were with just a few enemy soldiers decked out in high-tech gear, but the artificial-intelligence enemies proved to be quite aggressive and just smart enough to make up for their limited numbers. Much of the F.E.A.R. demo is shrouded in darkness, and we found ourselves relying on our flashlight item quite often to navigate the poorly lit corridors. But the demo lights up during firefights, as bullets spark and ricochet around the area, causing plenty of debris to fly about. Grenades cause a kind of shockwave that creates a striking "warping" effect in midair, and we also found the weapon reports to be sharp and extremely loud, adding to the visceral experience.

The basic controls were standard for a console first-person shooter, with the left and right analog sticks handling movement and aiming, respectively, and the shoulder triggers used for firing weapons and tossing grenades. There were a few unique touches, too. Pressing left or right on the D pad lets you lean out from behind cover without fully exposing yourself, and more importantly, hitting the left shoulder button triggers a John Woo-style slow-motion effect. It only lasts for a few seconds, but during that time, you have a pronounced tactical advantage, as you can move much faster than your enemies. Despite feeling mostly familiar, the demo took some getting used to since the aiming felt a little oversensitive and our view bobbed about noticeably while our character was walking or running.

In between the brutal shoot-outs, the F.E.A.R. demo is peppered with some creepy moments. The young girl known as Alma runs past open doorways and around corners, only to vanish, and a full-grown man (whom we later discover to be Fettel) promises that "they all deserve to die" and appears in front of you, only to immediately turn into ash. Near the end of the demo, we found ourselves in a blood-slick hallway as the young girl stood on the ceiling accompanied by some eerie whispers. We admit that it was more effective the first time we played the PC demo, but these creepy scripted sequences still carried some weight.

When you're not going toe-to-toe with ruthless, well-armed soldiers, you're being freaked out by an unnerving little girl.

Our immediate impression of the Xbox 360 demo of F.E.A.R. is that, while it does a proficient job of capturing the F.E.A.R. experience, it didn't feel quite as sharp or as clean as its PC forbearer, even when running in HD. Some of the issues felt like the usual casualties of a PC-to-console port, where textures don't look as highly detailed and special effects look a little dull, but we also noticed some distractingly choppy character animations.

But keep in mind, we're comparing the demo to one of the best first-person shooters of 2005, so the bar is set high, and even by those standards the demo wasn't bad. F.E.A.R. is expected to hit the Xbox 360 in early November.

Discussion

88 comments
davonas
davonas

this game is awesome right on

teluan
teluan

You know what, I find the Gamespot screen shots a little fuzzy compared to the game on my high def projector. Could the demo reviewer have a bad video connection, hence the graphic comments. Take a look and chime in with your thoughts.

teluan
teluan

Ahhh...I really thought the demo looked great. Maybe not the best, but more than good enough for me. The atmosphere and action more than makes up for any slight graphical issues.

Clone_545
Clone_545

My computer completely SUCKs!! And im not going to buy a new graphics card (for about 400 bucks). But i do have a shiny new 360. I personally have played the demo on my 360 verses the computer and i can tell u that the 360 version is WAY better! I think the graphics look great!

chrobrego
chrobrego

Terrible graphics on the demo. The previews stated the developer as saying that the graphics will be superior to the pc version -- hope the demo isn't indicative of the game, otherwise this game will be a pass for me.

stationgame
stationgame

I play the demo today, and it dosnt looks like a nice 360 FPS, i dont know how this run into a HDTV but in a standard TV... ...is unplayable :(.

Agent-FTO
Agent-FTO

These really look like gamecube graphics compared the the PC version. And I wasnt playing the PC version at very high resolution either. I only hav an ATI 9800 pro graphics card but its way better than this. I'll stick with the PC version thanks.

Salemiscool
Salemiscool

I do't hjave a 360 yet but... from the sound and many complaints it dosnt sound like they were telling the truth with that developer interveiw. They said "We maxed all the graphical settings and still found room for more." Well ya you found it, but did you do it? Nooo,

Chrissyc86
Chrissyc86

Well... I was disappointed, Gameplay was fun but we get the usual second rate graphics as a result of a port. Come on developers, don't bother porting games, just make us a new game that exploits the hardware of the 360 to the max or don't bother. I can run fear on my pc at a low res but with all the prettys and it looks better, thats not why i got a 360. I wonder if half life 2 will suffer the same? the "bringing it home" trailor on live is not all that promising...

DanBal76
DanBal76

Developers need to add an option to toggle crouch and lean, like Rainbow Six 3 on the Xbox, because is impossible to crouch, lean and still aim at enemies the way it's on the demo. And why the developers didn't make use of the analog feature of the stick assigned to move the character is beyond my understanding; no matter how far you pull the trigger the character will always run.

dondidit2u
dondidit2u

LOL THIS ON A NEXT GEN SYSTEM COULDA BEEN MADE ON THE REGULAR XBOX

Striker_Zero
Striker_Zero

i downloaded it last night...and it scared the crap out me...:}

lcxnamjah
lcxnamjah

well if you have an HDTV and with a simple cable you can game on your HDTV. My point is this, you all say they can make games that look far better than F.E.A.R on the 360. I totally agree, just look at Gears of War. I am just pissed if they leave the final version the way it is now when they can make it look like the game is running off a high-end PC. I am a person who prefers gameplay over graphics, however F.E.A.R. is a great game because of its graphics and you can not deny that. If you have ever played this game on a widescreen setting at 1680x1050 resolution with all the eye candy at maximum, it is a completely different experience than if you played it at even the xbox 360 demo settings. I know the 360 can do far better and with a 1 year old game comming out looking like **** for 60 bucks, is it worth it? Maybe to those who have never played it.

miiiguel
miiiguel

Anyway I prefer toplay in my HDTV with the big 5.1 soundsystem, on my couch rather then on the PC sitting on an ofice desk any day of the week.

_Sam_
_Sam_

hope the graphics improve

gamefreakwill
gamefreakwill

I played the F.E.A.R. demo, and it was pretty good in most parts. I just think that the graphics will kindof be a little bit off, but in the time between now and November, i'm sure they wil fix things up a bit.

-Unreal-
-Unreal-

To the people saying "this is only a demo, the graphics will be better", look at the screenshots. If you have played the PC game on a nice system, it looks sharper, has more particles, more detailed smoke effects, soft dynamic shadows and higher texture resolution. I am not talking about just the demo, becuase I've looked at the screenshots of the 360 version which are not in the demo, and they aren't as nice as the PC version of the game.

preaching
preaching

This is a New Generation Game? Bha! The grafics is orrible and present most errors! This game is for Xbox1 or XBox360?

preaching
preaching

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

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

Yuck... they took the best thing about this game (the graphics) and they screwed it up. Looks like they were trying to port it to Xbox 1 and went for $10 more instead. Very disappointing... I'm waiting for HL2.

e_boulanger
e_boulanger

The demo was OK I guess, but the graphics are disappointing compared to the PC version. If you played the PC version with your mouse, you won't like the controls on the 360 (not precise enough). So this game is basically for people who like FPS and do not have a PC powerful enough to run the PC version.

GreyblutDBM
GreyblutDBM

where are the soft shadows?! it had them on the pc version, and i know that the 360 supports that feature. but none within the first 30 second of the xbl demo. those of you who played the pc on a higher end puter would know what i mean by this. i mean- wasnt this games big thing supposed to be the usage of fuzzy shadows?! this is going to have to be put off as a rental until i can see what improvements are made.

btwillett2003
btwillett2003

This is just the demo, the same exact demo as the PC demo. As with any game going from PC to console, there will be some changes due to tech issues and performance issues. The bugs will hopefully be ironed out. Hopefully the graphics will be fixed because what made the PC FEAR so great (other then the gore, story, fast action...etc.) was all the particles and debris flying around. When someone one was shooting at you, at times you couldn't see with all the sparks, fragments and other objects being tossed up in the air. Hopefully the full release of the game will include the full effect of this. For now the graphics for the PC FEAR still rain supreme and the ease of using a mouse. The 360 should come with a optional keyboard and mouse...lol

Doomlike_Mitc
Doomlike_Mitc

The Demo doesnt tell a lot about the game, it was exactly the same as the one on PC, tough I liked this Demo, the graphics where greath, only a bit polishing, and have a litle better framerate, and the game should be fine, the controlls are fine, only aiming is a bit, well it aims harder then other FPS I have played on my 360, but the F.E.A.R demo was good, and I am sure that the developers will fixt those litle problems in the Demo to make it a greath game. And if they dont, well I am still going to buy it, because the Demo was good enough to convince me to buy this game, :D Only a litle question, what are the extra's you get with the 360 version extra levels ? I would like to know else I have absolutely 0 scary moments because I played this already on the PC.

drack48
drack48

My computer is OK. AMD643500, 2gs ram, 7800 gt. It was pretty sweet like two years ago.. The computer version looks way better on my pc than the 360, and I played the demo on my 30inch hd TV. Call of duty looks the same on both, but Fear feels muddy. They say the demo was for E3 and the newer build is supposed to be way better. Here is to hoping! If you never played in on the PC I would still get it, it's one of the most intense games around, but like Quake 4, I think this game will probably be better on pc, and the pc is getting an expansion next month! It will be interesting to see the ps3 versus 360 reviews for this..

Fedele
Fedele

I played the demo on XB live and was very impressed. I am buying this game!

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

I wasn't that impressed by the demo. And, the creepy moments are very disturbing. Why? Because you cannot shoot to death what scares, it's gonna scare until it goes away, and there is nothing you can do.

goose_uk
goose_uk

Are gamespot not aware this is an old demo which has been stated to have reduced graphics by the developers? Nontheless it still r4pes the living sh1t out of my pc versions graphics

cloud0830
cloud0830

Oh yeah i cant wait for this game i am going to love it !!!!!!!

EchoEcho
EchoEcho

I've owned the PC version since it first shipped, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Great game. I played the 360 demo and, while the scares hold up and the action is still intense, it really didn't seem to function as well. Control-wise, I'd really prefer the leaning to be on the left and right bumpers since it's next to useless on the D-pad. Also, the aiming just didn't seem quite on par with other console-centric FPSes, making it hard to hit my marks. I could definately live with the Focus being on the d-pad, since all it takes is a quick press to activate or deactivate. However, I didn't actually check to see if the demo allowed you to reconfigure the controls, so it's possible that the button mapping won't be a problem in the end. On the graphics end, it really doesn't stack up well against other 360 titles. Don't get me wrong, it still looks good -- but in more of an Xbox way. My computer isn't phenomenal, so I can only play the game on medium graphics and CPU settings if I want to keep it lag-free, yet it still looks better than the 360 version. My verdict would be... if you have a computer that can at least play the game on medium settings, I suggest you take the comp version over the 360 version. But if you have a crappy computer -- or if you suck with mouse and keyboard and don't mind slightly worse textures and effects -- the game is still a great game even on the 360.

-TrepidatioN-
-TrepidatioN-

Graphics didn't look too good, it played kind of funny, and the character animations were slightly confusing... Having said that, it was a fun and eerie experience, I'm looking forward to the full version when it's out - even might reserve a copy beforehand...PROMISING they fix it up.

chaoscougar1
chaoscougar1

i cannot wait for this game to come out, its gonna rox

The_Tay-Man
The_Tay-Man

Does it really matter about the "res" of the textures and particle effects, i haven't played the PC version, So for me it comes down to gameplay, and the gameplay is great. P.s. How much does it cost for an Xbox 360 compared to a **** hot gaming PC?

payback_56
payback_56

honestly, i downloaded the demo on the pc before it came out (on pc) I bought the game on the pc, and i have a relitively high powered pc, the graphics look amazing on the PC, I was dissapointed because the graphics were not as good on 360 first of all, now i do have a better pc than the average person, but still even the smoke effects looked bad, and the lighting wasnt super great either as for the game, it was the same game, the demo was the same when they released it on the pc...so i mean what is new worth gettting on this game? They could have at least had a different level for the peopel to play... oh well By the way razor wolf, fear already kicked butt as u put it, and condemned criminal origins was actually a good game, obviously u havnt played it, or u r a little kid and can't appriciate what it was trying to do...

Chaos_Daro
Chaos_Daro

To RedThanos: You're not the only one. I thought the graphics were pretty bad (looked more like good PS2 graphics) and I found the aiming awkward for some reason. But it's just a demo.

Razor_WolF
Razor_WolF

OK sorry F.E.A.R is going to be Kick butt and the guy named Xbox sucks Condemned is the dumbist game out for Xbox360

RedThanos
RedThanos

was anyone else very dissapointed and underwhlemed by the demo?

SilentHillX
SilentHillX

A little puzzled... As a fan of FPS and Monolith (Condemned is still my fav 360 game) I am quite satisfied with FEAR. However the puzzling part is the performance (albeit a Demo and hopefully/usually not representative of the Final Product) If you watch the FEAR Developer interview on (Gamespot), the Dev talks about how they were able to push all the detail sliders up, on the 360 version, and still had room to pack in some extra graphical punch with the particle effects and DRL and what not. He boasts that the game will look even better on 360, than PC. Armed with that mentality, I was a little dissapointed at the low res textures and overall lack of detail and lighting on the Demo (pretty much what Gamespot had to say), especially after watching the Dev Interview. All in all FEAR aint a bad looking game, by anyones standards, and no matter what system its going to be on, but being the type of gamer whos into the tech and cutting edge of the ever evolving Visual and Audio quality of games, I was expecting a little more. And when you watch the Dev Interview and hear what he has to say, and watch those gameplay clips, I think you can share the same thoughts. But, like I said, it is a Demo, and the Devs do have over a month to nail things out, so im hoping they do just that. All in all ill probably wait for the Comparison reviews of the 360 and PS3 Versions, before I decide which platform to pick it up for. Take it easy

tonyleo01
tonyleo01

I don't really think it gave me that impression when I first played it on PC. Probably not because I've played it before, but that the graphic is identical to the pc, which is not a good thing because the game kinda got pretty old now.

XENOmorph00010
XENOmorph00010

I thought the demo was great. It did feel a bit awkward at first, but then it got really good once the action picked up, only real persisting issue is that it's too short (I can beat it in less than 5 minutes). But I think it's turning out to be a great shooter, I can't wait!

jack0591
jack0591

I played the demo and have some problems w/ the controls and graphics. aiming was jerky and i definetely feel the 360 can pump out more graphical power than what was shown, and the framerate needs som serious work. if any1 agrees, comment.

demonik_360
demonik_360

wow.....this a must have demo.....GREAT game i cant FN wait!definatly a must have!

eurochamps2004
eurochamps2004

lets just end this whole pc 360 comparison now... a pc can be as good as the amount of money you put into it so as long as you have the money it will always be better than the consoles. now ... the 360 is absolutely amazing in terms of power for the 400 dollars you pay for it

slim_jim7007
slim_jim7007

All i got to say is "sweet". never played pc version but i like this......if single player is good, xbox live will rule.

owskie
owskie

i hate to say it but it didnt really wow me. i like the pc version more. then again i only played the demo so i could be wrong it could be better i nthe long run

themyth01
themyth01

Looks like a decent game, maybe after a price drop.