While F.E.A.R. is still a good action game, it doesn't live up to its potential, thanks to stuttering frame rates and washed-out graphics.
- Engaging shooter that blends horror with fast-paced action
- Awesome firefights thanks to cutthroat opponents
- Excellent sound that will keep you on your toes.
- Doesn't look like a next-gen game, thanks to washed-out visuals and a stuttering frame rate
- Really long load times
- Complex control scheme feels clumsy at times.
When F.E.A.R. originally debuted on the PC in 2005, it delivered a kinetic and spooky first-person shooter experience, capped with memorable firefights and cutthroat artificial intelligence. That same experience transferred successfully to the Xbox 360 last year. The PlayStation 3 version of the game retains the same focus on action, but lacks the level of polish and atmosphere seen in the previous two versions.
The PS3 version of F.E.A.R. is almost exactly the same as the PC and Xbox 360 versions in terms of content. You play as the newest member of the First Encounter Assault Recon, the military's top-secret task force that is assigned to deal with paranormal situations. And the mission in F.E.A.R. certainly counts as above and beyond the regular call of duty. As explained in the opening sequence, a military commander, named Paxton Fettel, goes insane and takes over a secret army of cloned soldiers that are telepathically linked to him. Fettel and the battalion of elite soldiers then go on a rampage in a nondescript American city.
F.E.A.R. strikes a balance between spooky atmosphere and electric action. The gunfights in the game are impressive. Bullets tear chunks out of concrete and wood, blinding clouds of dust and debris fill the air, bodies are torn apart or slump on the ground, and the deathly silence of the aftermath contrasts sharply with the sheer chaos that erupted only moments before. Gunfights in F.E.A.R. feel right. This is partly because the weapons you have in the game feel the way weapons should—powerful. You have the standard array of guns to play around with, including a pistol, a submachine gun, an assault rifle, a shotgun, and a rocket launcher. There's also a scoped, burst-firing rifle that's a dead ringer for Master Chief's battle rifle in Halo 2, as well as an incredibly nasty particle weapon that sears the flesh off of opponents and a few other special toys.
You've also got some special abilities at your disposal. For example, you can kill foes with a swift dropkick or scissors kick, which is such an awesome move that even when you pull it off in desperation (like when you've emptied a clip and don't have time to reload), it still feels incredibly cool. Yet, your most important ability is your ultrafast reflexes, which can be activated in short bursts to create a Matrix-like bullet time. Now, bullet time has been done to death over the past few years, but the execution of bullet time in F.E.A.R. is still well done. When you kick in the reflexes, everything else slows down, and you can see the vortexes in the air created by bullets. You can activate this ability only in short bursts before it runs out. However, because it recharges at a decent rate, you have it at your disposal in most fights. This slow-motion ability is almost essential for surviving some of the tougher battles, as you'll need it to whittle down the odds. With that said, it would almost be better if there were more of a limit on its use, because F.E.A.R. really comes alive when the firefights are shown in full speed, not slow motion.
F.E.A.R. doesn't support the Sixaxis' motion controls, and they're pretty much identical to the Xbox 360 version of the game. Thus, the PS3 version has the same issues that the Xbox 360 version did, because the controls are a bit clumsy for a game that relies on split-second reactions. Also, it's easy to accidentally toss a grenade when you mean to go into bullet time or burn a med kit uselessly instead of using the flashlight. Unfortunately, F.E.A.R. still relies on the overly hackneyed contrivance of having your elite military trooper equipped with a flashlight that has a 30-second battery life.
Without a doubt, you've got an extremely formidable arsenal at your disposal. And you're going to need it against the artificial intelligence in F.E.A.R. Put simply, these are the smartest, most aggressive, most tactically oriented AI opponents that you'll find in a shooter. The AI opponents are incredibly sharp and will do things that you don't expect, like pin you down while one of them flanks you. Or, they'll pin you down and plop a grenade next to you. These guys move around from cover to cover while communicating with one another, and they'll react to any sound or sight of you. They've got the same weapons as you, and their guns do the same amount of damage to you as yours do to them. So you've got to use cover and lean around corners as much as possible because it doesn't take much to shred your armor and health to zero. This can create situations in which you're pinned down, firing desperately to keep their heads down while trying to figure a way out of your current situation. The AI also takes advantage of the game's physics system and knocks over objects to create cover.
You'll take a lot of damage during the game, but thankfully, you can pick up countless health packs and armor kits. You can also collect up to 10 health kits for later use, which you'll use liberally to keep yourself going in the heat of battle. And while there is a way to permanently boost your maximum health level and stamina, sooner or later you'll fall to the enemy. The PS3 version includes only a checkpoint save system, which means that when you die, you'll fall back to the last checkpoint. Although there's no way to manually save the game at any point, the checkpoints are reasonably spaced, so you shouldn't run into any issues where you have to play lengthy sections over and over again.
- Player Reviews: 115
- Game Universe:
- F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin (PS3, X360, PC),
- F.E.A.R. (PS3, PC, X360),
- F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate (PC),
- F.E.A.R. 3 (PC, PS3, X360),
- F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn (X360, PS3, PC),
- F.E.A.R. Files (X360),
- F.E.A.R. Platinum Collection (PC),
- F.E.A.R. Gold Edition (PC),
- F.E.A.R. Extraction Point (PC),
- F.E.A.R. Combat (PC)
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
16 Players Online