F.E.A.R. 360: Updated Hands-On

We try out one of the new weapons in the 360 version of F.E.A.R., as well as the exclusive instant action mode.

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With the huge success of F.E.A.R. on the PC, a next-gen console port was all but assured. Visitors to Vivendi's recent press event, for instance, weren't exactly shocked at the announcement that the game would be ported to the PlayStation 3 by the time of its launch. We weren't able to see that version of the game, but there was plenty of hands-on time available with the upcoming Xbox 360 version of the title.

The new Instant Action mode allows you to jump right into a firefight without having to deal with the game’s cutscenes or horror interludes.
The new Instant Action mode allows you to jump right into a firefight without having to deal with the game’s cutscenes or horror interludes.

With all of the different gameplay mechanics in the original F.E.A.R., it was somewhat difficult for us to imagine how it would all be mapped to the 360 controller, but for the most part the game's controls have survived intact. Although it takes a bit of getting used to, controlling F.E.A.R. with a console controller can actually make some aspects of the gameplay a bit easier to experience, such as melee attacks. You won't be getting many headshots on distant enemies with the analog controls, but there is a decent amount of aiming assistance built into the game, so you'll be connecting with plenty of your shots. The one aspect of the game that might be a bit difficult to get used to is the leaning, which is mapped to the left and right directions on the directional pad; currently it doesn't actually lean you very far to either direction, making it difficult to use properly.

The single-player aspect of F.E.A.R. appears to be a straight port of the PC version, from what we saw, although some minor details have been changed here and there. Fans of firepower will be pleased to note the addition of a new machine pistol weapon, which can be dual-wielded, like the pistols. They're inaccurate at anything but short ranges and will probably be replaced by beefier weapons as you progress, but still, it's amusing to run around with a pair of laser-sighted, rapid-fire guns at your side. At the very least, they're a good upgrade over the dual-wielded pistols that you pick up even earlier in the game.

Vivendi paid special attention to the instant action mode of the game, a new addition for the 360 version that was unveiled back at E3. The basic gist of the IA mode is that it plops you down in one of the areas from the game, then throws a large number of enemies at you. When you kill all of the enemies in the area, a door will unlock, leading to another area, where more enemies will await you. These games unfold over a period of five to 10 minutes, and if you don't die you'll eventually reach an ending point, where you'll be ranked.

FEAR on the 360 should be a fantastic introduction to the franchise for anyone who didn’t experience it on the PC.
FEAR on the 360 should be a fantastic introduction to the franchise for anyone who didn’t experience it on the PC.

Your ranking in instant action mode depends on such factors as the amount of time remaining on the clock, the number of enemies killed, your accuracy with your weapons, the amount of medikits and armor remaining, and whether you found any secret items during your run-through. To add a bit of a twist, your ranking will automatically be uploaded to Xbox Live, allowing you to see where you stand against other FPS fans. There are four levels of difficulty included in the IA mode as well, offering up what should be a good amount of challenge and replay value.

We're looking forward to seeing more of F.E.A.R. on the Xbox 360 before it launches this fall, so be sure to stay tuned to GameSpot for more coverage on the title in the coming months.

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