A well crafted shooter flavored in horror.

User Rating: 8 | F.E.A.R. X360

F.E.A.R. in many ways feels like a child of Half-Life. Half-Life showed the world how immersive and exciting a linear first-person shooter could be even without cut-scenes. There aren't many cut-scenes in F.E.A.R. and honestly there isn't a very compelling story either way. However, where F.E.A.R. lacks in its narrative it more than makes up for in gameplay. The weapons are a blast, the levels design stays fresh, and the enemies keep you on edge. Although some many be turned off by the horror elements this is a fantastic shooter with a lot to offer.

Basically some military technology company, Armacham, decides it would be a great idea to build a psychic army. What could possibly go wrong? It turns out one of their experiments, Paxton Fettel, has taken control of that army and is using to raid the Armacham headquarters. It is up to you and your team to track him down and take him out. Your team is a part of a special military faction exclusively used for paranormal incidents. Of course, you'll be doing most of the work since your character has heighten senses. Your psychic abilities is a double-edged sword because you're haunted by images of Paxton and Alma. Alma was a young child with incredible psychic abilities and she seems to have a hold over both you and Paxton.

Having to fight through an entire telepathic army you'll need to be well equipped. Quite quickly you'll be swapping out your pistols for sub-machine guns and auto-rifles. All the weapons feel and sound terrific. Of course later on you'll get the chance to use grenade and rocket launches to take on tougher enemies like mechs. There are several different grenades at your disposal from proximity mines to remote bombs. A key combat mechanism is your ability to slow-down time. Not only is it an efficient way to take out normal enemies but it is necessary to survive fast enemies and turrets.

When your not in combat you'll be exploring your way through various Armacham faculties. F.E.A.R. is a fairly linear game but there is still a fair amount of space to run around. By stopping in every room and trying to sneak through every vent you'll find weapon caches and upgrades. You'll slowly increase your maximum health and slow down meter by collecting these upgrades. You can carry up to 10 health packs at a time. This may sound like a lot but as you get near the end of each chapter the difficulty starts to ramp up and you'll be glad to have them.

What F.E.A.R. may lack in innovation it more than makes up for in its delivery. The combat feels great, from the weapons to the slow-motion. There is a linear path but the game greatly rewards those who explore. The game keeps you on edge not only with creepy images but by knowing how easily the enemies can take you out if your not careful. The horror elements may not resonate as well as they could have with a stronger story-line but they are still a nice change of pace from your more traditional military or sci-fi shooters. Unless the eerie atmosphere really turns you off I believe most first-person shooter fans will really enjoy this game.