Play this game if you want the most realistic and intense shooting experiences in a horror filled side story.
I was not expecting much from the game, that in it's core would be similar to shooters like CS, Splinter Cell or Rainbow Six, which i do not like. But FEAR turned out to be a discovery, and a blast, that had much more than a base of a shooting tir. Fans, who might not like other shooters might actually like FEAR.
It combines elements of realistic in physics and visually stunning combat fights and an atmosphere of horror and tension attached to the rest of the game, all backgrounded with a decent enough story.
The story is not the strongest part in the game, and i won't bother with it.
Certainly it is not the story that make the FEAR shine, but it's gameplay and technical design, so it is not worth complaining about too much.
The parts about FEAR that make it the best are: realistic physic laws, stunning graphics and challenging, intense, unpredictable combats. The last part comes from the well packed abilities that are given to you, as well as from the supreme artificial intelligence of your enemies. The enemies in FEAR have the best A.I. ever seen in FPS games. Not only will they perform lots of actions like dodging, hiding, flanking, withdrawing, zig zag moving, combining in groups, cornering you around or pushing you off if you are too close, but they also react to sound, light and can use voice commands to one another what to do in certain situations.You, on the other hand, are also well developed to even improve the experience of those combat situations, as you are given the actions to perform great melee moves, have lots of amazing weapons to choose from, although you can not carry all of them, and most important - have a unique ability to sharpen your reflexes to the point, where in your senses time slows for a while! This feature can not be overused too much and is well balanced. It is totally the same thing seen in the other critically well acclaimed FPS - Max Payne. While in this mode, you truly appreciate the simply fucing awesome physics effects even more - as you see incoming bullets warping up air and making a Dopler sound effect, dust and splinters shatter around with extreme detail, and bodies are massacred in a level of extreme gore realism using stunning rag-doll physics. Explosions, and ordinary object destruction pakced with great sound effects will make you feel sorry already that FEAR will eventually end.
That being said, the campaign can be finished quite fast, because there are no side quests, no puzzles and no secret places.. Also the campaign is pretty straightforward in the sense, that all of it's the levels look more or less the same - basically you will be storming buildings, warehouses and what's beneath them, occasionally running through some sewer or street. Of course this all does not make the game boring - no way! Actually the whole gameplay, physics, sound effects and graphics as well as the level design feels like a throw back to the original Max Payne game, where everything just mentioned was very similar and also at that time it was done superbly outstanding like in non other video game seen before.
Now the big difference between Max Payne and FEAR, apart from the story of course, is that Max Payne had a very generic and life-like atmosphere, where it felt like participating in a detective action based movie. In FEAR, however, the atmosphere feels surreal - while you be doing other things than shooting down your main foes, you will be haunted by horror elements that will frame you inside your chair and make you feel very nervous. The sound effects in this game exceptionally well deliver this part. You will definitely feel the paranormal activities in this game!!! The enemies you will be facing here are almost the same everywhere - replica soldiers equipped in standard combat light armor gear and standard weapons. There will be some exceptions however - like the very tough and heavy armored shield soldiers equipped with bolt guns or the highly acrobatic and fast nano suit soldiers, which can be invisible too. Apart from living targets you will have to dodge bullets from automated turrets or evade explosions. Also the game sometimes will drift you into the "paranormal world", where you will have to face very strange ghoul-like creatures or run from fires of the abyss...
The multiplayer is well executed. With all of the melee abilities and realistic physic laws in it, it packs up a huge punch, and is certainly addressed for more than 4 people..
Before playing FEAR, definitely patch it to 1.08 version.
There is one crucial thing - AA is very important! Without it the game will look quite bad on lower resolutions and enabling soft shadows will not help! Definitely turn on AA, if your VGA will allow it. If you have anything slower than a 7600GT, it is not ever worth start playing the game then on low res. On higher than 1280X960 resolutions, no lesser VGA than a 7900GT should be used.. Consider the fact, that when lots of explosions and debris will occur, it will lag much more..
FEAR is not a game to relax, to say the least. It is a game for max reflexes and tension. I would recommend playing it in the evening.