F.E.A.R. is the epitome of the FPS/Horror genre, and will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire game.

User Rating: 9 | F.E.A.R. X360
Originally appearing on the PC in 2005, F.E.A.R. has made its way to consoles for the first time with this port to the Xbox 360. In F.E.A.R., you'll play as a new member to the First Encounter Assault Recon, or F.E.A.R., a top-secret government agency designed to investigate paranormal activity outside the spectrum of the public's watchful eyes. Thus, during F.E.A.R.'s engaging campaign, you'll encounter many creepy "things" and explore many creepy places, highlighting what F.E.A.R. does best -- psychological horror. This game is downright scary. Along with this element of horror, F.E.A.R. is also a solid first person shooter, complete with "bullet time" gameplay, a wide array of weapons, and some of the best enemy AI in any game to date. Though the graphics are distinctly from early this generation, F.E.A.R. remains a great first-person shooter that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire game.

Though multiplayer is present, single-player is where F.E.A.R. really shines. As mentioned, you'll start F.E.A.R.'s single-player as the new guy on the First Encounter Assault Recon -- the same as in the PC version of the game. As this soldier, you'll help chase down a rogue military commander, Paxton Fettel. However, Fettel, as you'll soon realize, isn't your ordinary commander -- he's telepathically taken control of an army of cloned "replica" soldiers. As you chase down Fettel, you'll experience other paranormal threats coinciding with Fettel's activities.

These "threats" you'll encounter are best experienced on your own, so it wouldn't be fit to describe them in detail here. Just know: they're downright scary. F.E.A.R. will try to mess with your mind, and as soon as you think you've figured out what it's going to do, F.E.A.R. will throw you another curveball and you'll end up scared all over again. Other than these paranormal situations you'll be encountering, F.E.A.R. conveys the horror theme through creepy settings and well placed sounds, contributing to an extremely engaging atmosphere.

In F.E.A.R., the settings consist of three basic locations: industrial warehouses, office buildings, and a generic urban setting. These settings get a bit repetitive, and you'll find yourself constantly backtracking through them. However, F.E.A.R. does a great job creating an atmosphere of horror: you'll see bloodstains on the wall, broken windows and doors, and even things such as blood seeping through ceiling tiles. Plus, when you explore these locations, you can listen to voicemails and read emails from the now deserted setting you're in. These mementos often detail unexplainable events close to your current location, causing you to be careful as you step into that dark room next door or the deserted hallway outside. It's things like these that always keep you on your toes while playing F.E.A.R. - you'll never feel "safe," contributing to the already stellar horror atmosphere the game has created.

Not only is F.E.A.R. a great horror game, but the shooter aspect isn't too shabby either. You'll have a wide array of guns and explosives to counteract the "replica" soldiers Fettel throws at you and also the paranormal experiences you'll encounter. These range from dual wielding pistols to a particle beam gun that turns your opponent into no more than a skeleton slouching on the ground.

Though sometimes weapons like this may feel a bit overpowered, you're going to need them: the AI in F.E.A.R. is one of the most intelligent and sophisticated to date. They'll patrol and scout for your location, and as soon as you make a sound or turn on your light, they'll chatter about your location for a couple seconds then seek you out. Not only that, but the replica soldiers will actively use cover and won't hesitate to flank you, making even a seemingly easy firefight quite challenging. The AI in F.E.A.R. works as a team, and it shows.

Lucky for you, you're a "super-soldier" of sorts -- you can use "bullet time" to slow things down and take out enemies before they even have time to reach for their gun. Despite all these tools at your disposal, combat still feels very balanced -- the game definitely won't come across as "too easy." The only annoyance, gameplay-wise, is that you'll be fighting the same replica clones the whole game. Other than a couple paranormal threats here and there, you'll be killing clone after clone. Though that's what the game intended, it does get tiresome after a while.

Another of F.E.A.R.'s downfalls is that the graphics are noticeably from early in this generation of consoles. Edges are hard, textures aren't up to par with current generation shooters, and characters look unrealistic and plastic-like. The environments have a "boxy" feel to them: the sides of buildings won't have separate textures for windows or inaccessible doors; they're just "wallpapered" on. Luckily, the gameplay makes up for this minor quirk, almost to the point where you'll completely forget about it.

Between the amazing atmosphere and well-developed shooter components, F.E.A.R. creates a great blend of first person shooter and horror elements. Though the graphics aren't quite up to par with some of the newer games out for the Xbox 360, F.E.A.R.'s gameplay is so good you'll barely even notice it. If you're into horror games, or are just looking for a solid shooter at a budget price, F.E.A.R. is sure to satisfy your needs and more.

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