F.E.A.R. Extraction Point Exclusive Hands-On - The Beginning of the End
We take a look at the upcoming continuation of the F.E.A.R. franchise.
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At Sierra's recent press event in Palm Springs, we had the opportunity to sit down and play through a few levels of the upcoming expansion pack for F.E.A.R., the company's massively popular horror-themed first-person shooter. Titled Extraction Point, the expansion picks up right where F.E.A.R. ended and continues the story of many of the characters involved in the original game. We can't say much about the story of F.E.A.R. at this point, but it's safe enough to say that Armacham's cat is out of the bag, and Alma is angry.
Although Monolith, creator of the original F.E.A.R., wasn't involved in the production of Extraction Point, the game seems to be in good hands, as TimeGate Studios has taken over the production reins here. TimeGate is best known for real-time strategy games such as the Kohan series and Axis & Allies, but from what we played, they have a sure grasp of the fundamentals of F.E.A.R. gameplay, giving players plenty of Replica soldiers to kill and copious amounts of bullets to expend, along with heaping helpings of supernatural events that follow Alma wherever she goes. The pacing also seems very similar to the first F.E.A.R., as you'll spend a few minutes fighting foes at a breakneck pace, then have a minute or two of exploration before getting right back into battle.
One of the new aspects of the gameplay is a crate-supply system. When you come across a box marked as Armacham property, you'll be able to bust it open and claim whatever weapons or healing items are inside. While crate supplies have been an aspect of first-person shooters since time immemorial, the crates in Extraction Point at least offer up good amounts of ammo for weapons that are otherwise somewhat scarce in the game world, such as the ASP rifle.
There are obviously going to be some new weapons in the expansion, including a wicked chain gun that kicks up a huge amount of smoke when its shells impact walls. Also on the docket is a sniper rifle (we're told that a few of the outdoor areas of the game will now be large enough to support a bit of long-range combat). We picked up on a new bindable-key setting for a deployable turret, although we didn't stumble across any of those in our play session.
One of the complaints about the original game was the relatively small number of discrete enemies you could fight against; you had a couple of varieties of Replica soldiers and flying drones, and that was about it. It appears that there'll be at least a couple of new enemy varieties in Extraction Point, though. One of these is a new kind of commander, or elite Replica soldier, with different colorings and a greatly increased amount of health. Even tougher is Alma's new type of friend, a strange phantomlike creature that moves incredibly quickly and is usually invisible until it's within melee range of you. If you recall the assassin-style Replica soldiers in F.E.A.R., imagine one of those, but quicker, and you'll have a basic idea. The only way you're likely to get a bead on these guys is by judicious use of your slo-mo power; otherwise, they'll run circles around you and quickly sap your health.
Although it doesn't attempt to reinvent the wheel, F.E.A.R.: Extraction Point is looking like it'll supply a good amount of the now-familiar F.E.A.R. gameplay for people waiting for a new fix. One thing the expansion won't include, however, is any new multiplayer content--but Sierra did recently release the F.E.A.R. multiplayer component as a free download. Extraction Point is scheduled for release this fall.
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