Better than the modern day Resident Evils..... and they actually allow you to walk/strafe when holding up a gun.
Capcom needs to look at this and learn how to make a good RE game after the failure of 6
Atmospherically, Cold Fear is derivative and predictable, which is a shame considering that it is, at times, an enjoyable action game.
Atmospherically, Cold Fear is derivative and predictable, which is a shame considering that it is, at times, an enjoyable action game. While Cold Fear does not exactly establish itself as a high-quality survival horror game, the involved story and occasional interesting gameplay element make Cold Fear worth playing, for at least a little while, anyway.
In Cold Fear, you play as Tom Hansen, a US Coast Guard officer who has been sent to investigate a mysterious Russian frigate on a windy and stormy night in the middle of the ocean. You find out early on that the boat is occupied not merely by hostile Russian soldiers, of which there are plenty, but also by alien creatures that feed on the humans and provide a severe threat from both inside and outside their host bodies. Your investigation leads you to a few friendly faces and many threatening ones as you uncover the mystery of the ship and its lethal cargo.
The perspective is third person, with the ability to go into a first-person aiming mode through which you can freely guide your view. Although the fixed camera gives a wider glimpse of the scene, it's not easy to keep fluid control when going back and forth between cameras, which is a problem as you try to maneuver around the boat and take out the enemies you encounter along the way. Additional controls let you crouch, run, and scroll quickly through weapons, which is slightly more intuitive in the PS2 version, thanks to the extra trigger buttons. However, since the weapon scroll is placed on the white/black buttons on the Xbox controller, the difference is not that severe. Running brings up an onscreen meter that, when depleted, prohibits you from running anymore. This helps to make certain puzzles more challenging, and you will find yourself monitoring the meter frequently, but it does not detract from or add to the gameplay in any significant way.
Because Cold Fear takes place in ocean-locked environments, the control scheme is affected by the movement of the waves. This is mostly noticeable when you are outside, and at times it looks like you're walking almost completely sideways, due to the volatile movement of the deck beneath you. This adversely impacts the controls, but the trade-off is a unique and interesting component of the gameplay. As you fight against the tossing of the boat, timing yourself to cross decks only when the waves are low, you encounter some of the most compelling aspects of Cold Fear. Unfortunately, the outside environments are not tapped to their fullest, and you'll spend the majority of the game, past the first hour, in generic indoor locations.
Your objective in Cold Fear is to discover the story behind the vessel's apparent destruction and the emergence of the nonhuman creatures upon it. Despite being a highly derivative story about a genetic experiment gone wrong, the relationship between characters is interesting, and the story is neat and simple. Most of the plot exploration is conveyed through notes that are littered about the environment and through dialogues with characters (for the short duration that the people on the boat other than Hansen manage to stay alive). The notes are well implemented, and they drive the story and reveal critical information about weapons, environmental objects, and enemies.
Although you start off with merely a handgun, there are a number of different weapons to be found in the middle of the ocean, including a submachine gun, an AK-47, a speargun, a flamethrower, and a grenade launcher. The weapons are almost all equally effective, except for differences in power. The speargun is the only weapon that is not used explicitly for dealing damage, and when fired, it releases a gas that draws enemies near it. This is a great tactic to use in conjunction with one of the more explosive weapons such as the shotgun or grenade launcher. Otherwise, the objective of the game is to make headshots on all humanoid enemies, which can be exceedingly difficult as the enemies draw nearer to you. Fortunately, most of the weapons have either a laser sight or flashlight, which aids your precision. The point of the headshot is to conserve ammunition, although enemies will not die unless they are decapitated. This means that if you shoot an enemy anywhere other than in the head, and merely knock it down to the ground, you have a certain amount of time to run over and step on the head before the enemy gets back up and attacks you again.
Many of the zombies are possessed by exocel creatures, which are spidery beings that alternate between crawling on the floor and the ceiling before attempting to take possession of a human being by reaching out a long tendril into a human's mouth and then climbing inside. Outside of a host body, these exocels are fairly easy to destroy--usually one bullet sends them rolling up into a ball, and a second one takes them out--but given their flexibility and their penchant for appearing out of nowhere, including bodies you've just killed, they provide a formidable threat if not dealt with quickly. More advanced abominations of genetics appear later on, but with the more difficult enemies, it's sometimes easier to merely avoid confrontation and run along to the next room. If you choose to run, you'll find these creatures often jumping on your back. When this happens, you're given a button sequence to throw the enemy and try to achieve a critical hit. If you successfully land a critical hit, enemies are killed much more quickly than if you had gone about it the normal way. Because of this, it's sometimes tactically important to let Hansen be jumped by enemies, as long as you can throw them quickly.
Other game tactics include using pieces of the environment to do the work for you. You can shoot explosive barrels, fire extinguishers, and different-colored valves to create an environmental trap for oncoming enemies. From time to time, you'll encounter a fight between two of the enemy species, and you can let them fight among themselves before you intervene. Environmental effects, such as laser beams and swinging obstacles, can often be used to pick off the less bright enemies, and the rocking of the boat will send a zombie or you overboard, if you're standing on the wrong side of a slippery surface.