F.E.A.R. 3 Updated Impressions

We get ghostly with a buddy and take a look at the cooperative play in this upcoming paranormal shooter.


F.E.A.R. 3

Do you love horror-themed games but live with the secret shame of turning the volume down low and the lights up high so you can sleep after playing? Day 1 Studios has you covered with a nifty way to share its F.E.A.R. 3 experience without looking like a wuss. Cooperative play will feature prominently in the upcoming first-person shooter, allowing you to buddy up as you take on either the role of Paxton Fettel or Point Man. F.E.A.R. 3 picks up nine months after the events of F.E.A.R. 2 and right in the firing zone as Alma is about to give birth. Her contractions pepper the gameworld, and each jolt tears into reality with catastrophic consequences. Our demo included a look at the brothers in action, using their unique abilities to defend each other, power up some new and devastating attacks, and navigate obstacles and hidden content.

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Point Man is a supersoldier, and his abilities are deeply rooted in how he handles a gun. There was no shortage of variety of things that go bang during our play, with shotguns, handguns, and assault pistols all making themselves known. Fettel, on the other hand, is more concerned with ethereal abilities, using telekinesis to raise up and drain the energy of his targets and in the process act as a form of crowd control while the other player riddles the object with bullets. Body possession plays a vital role, allowing the Fettel player to take control of a host at will and make use of his weapons. When you’re ready to rejoin the spirit world, a button press violently spews you out of your target, showering the screen in blood and goo. Co-op play also allows Fettel the chance to see secret paths and doorways oblivious to your sidekick. New paths appear as you clear rooms and navigate through the environment and encourage you to keep your eyes peeled.

Our demo began inside a building complex, and as we systematically cleared the rooms, we ran into all manner of spooky enemies and situations. One included the demonic rise of a previously uninhabited bed, the form of a body beginning to sit upright as the sheets surrounding it hugged the unseen body. One new enemy type we saw goes beyond the living realm, and if you are unlucky enough to become trapped in its grip, both you and your partner are whisked away to a state of limbo created from your own memories. Attacked by one such creature, we found ourselves transported into an eerie, hazy forest, where a merry-go-round sat spinning of its own accord. These dream sequences don't always appear as combat scenarios, and after a short look around we found ourselves snapped back to reality outside the building we had been in. As an attack helicopter flew overhead, waves of armed soldiers descended on our position.

Clearing a small group of power substations blocking our path, we proceeded on. Two conveniently parked mech suits gave us the chance to tear through a building, leaving a wake of corpses as our body armour and more powerful weapon loadout decimated the helpless defenders inside. As a living, breathing human, Point Man can jump in and out of these mobile armouries at will, but since apparitions need some physical appendages to work the buttons and knobs, we needed to steal a body to don the mechanical suit. Unloading a volley of machine-gun fire and rockets at enemies taking cover had some adverse effects on our surroundings, as nearby trees caught alight and burnt around us.

Since surprises are such a big part of F.E.A.R. 3, and scares aren’t so scary the second time around when enemies spawn in predictable places, the development team is hard at work on building dynamic AI. This promises that no two plays will be identical, with foes spawning with different intensities depending on your performance, and in fresh locations both in front of and behind the player. Likewise, certain enemy types, like the one that sucks you into your own memories, will appear only if you’re playing alongside Fettel, making for unique single- and multiplayer action.

Since targets can and will spawn behind you, the game will also include a quick 180-degree snap shooting system. We didn’t get a chance to see it in action, but we were told that with a single button press you will be able to quickly turn to fire on enemies approaching from the rear.

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If you like your pants brown and your shooting paranormal, then from our latest look at the game, F.E.A.R. 3 is shaping up as a solid mixture of the two elements. Stay tuned for more information for this as-yet-undated title as it makes its way to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC platforms.

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