Fear is a solid FPS, giving to us many hours of frenetic action in many exciting sequences of combat.
As we progress in the history, the levels will change to some places, like a factory to one office building or to some deposit. Unfortunately, this is a negative point to Fear, because all the levels seems to be repetitive, with a poor design and with little variation. At least, almost everything in the levels are breakable, making a shot in the wall open a hole and make a lot of dust be throw in the air. This give more life to the combats, making them look more intense and aggressive.
The game uses a new engine that do some new techniques to project more precise light and shadow. Fear have one of the most advanced lights effects to its time. When you fire a weapon, the weapon flash will project precise shadows in the objects around where you're firing, and even your char project a shadow.
The engine also make great textures, bringing many other effects, like explosions, bullets, fire, blood,reflexes, water... ops! Water! Another negative point to Fear (happily, Fear almost don't have water). In some parts of it, we'll have to pass throught some flooded areas and, if you look to your feet, you'll notice that you're walking on the water!!
And Fear don't have rain... that would be perfect in this kind of game. And, inexplicably, the flashlight don't project shadows in the objects on the scene (like Doom 3). Also, it's some way unstable. We can be looking to a big open area and stay with a good frames and, in another moment, look to one little room at our side and have the frames dropped in half, without a good reason. Another problem is the physics, that can sometimes, mainly when objects touch another one.
While play Fear, it's normal to be involved in the action that, through the game, will staying better and better. In the beginning, we only face light armed enemies and not so outnumbered. But, soon, we have to face squads of enemies equipped with heavy guns! And don't expect easy fights here, because Fear have one of the most advanced AI seen in one FPS. If you think that stay stationary while wait for them to come, probably you WILL have a grenade for company. Or maybe you can be flanked or even fall in a trap. It's look like they know all the ways and passages, using them wisely to get you. If you came for one door, and have another behind you, they can use that door to get you while you're waiting for them in the front door. They can also communicate between themselves, talking, making strategies, warning about any enemy presence, asking for covering and reinforcements.
The gameplay don't bring many innovations. The "Bullet Time" was already seen in Matrix and Max Payne. But, at least, they made a perfect adaptation of this tool for Fear, that just give to the game a new experience in the way we fight, extending our actions. Like some people say "The bullet time gave to Fear a cinematic feeling".
And the influence from Max Payne isn't over: we can carry 10 health kits with us that, depending of the difficult, it will heal more or less health. It's the only way to recover, except the critical health level, that's when we reach a limit that will be healed automatically when we're not receiving damage.
We can also use a good variation of weapons and some melee attacks. We have some traditional weapons like the pistol, shotgun, assault rifle and, together with these weapons, we can execute some melee attacks like punchs and kicks. Special attention to the melee combat, that can be extremely fun if we do them right. It's also have some grenades (three types) that complete the arsenal that we can carry: three weapons at time. But they all look great, feeling right and powerful.
Sometimes, weapons can make a great damage into our enemies, making their peaces fly away. If we make a good shoot, we can even part one enemy in two! And we can cut off almost any part of our enemy body: head, arms and legs. Depending in how much damage we can give (like an explosion), we can cut off many parts at the same time. And, of course, all with the necessary blood to dirty the walls, objects, etc...
The soundtrack isn't something memorable, but can make right what it have to do. In the other hand, the sound effects are amazing! The sound of shells hitting the floor, the bullets in the walls and hitting the body of someone, the explosions, fire and water's sounds, the footsteps and more, all have a high quality. Fear really deserves the Great Sound Effects and the Terrific Voice Acting merits.
Also, the multiplayer is amazing good. Monolith just presented us with a full and free multiplayer option. We have the classic Deathmach (that can bring 12~20 people in one same map fighting for survive!), Team Deathmach (very fun too) and the Capture the Flag (I did'nt have the chance to play it). But, if you really want play Fear online, you should download the Fear Combat. It's free, and all you have to do is to go in the Fear's site, register and download.
Now, that I'm almost finishing this review you can ask: "why you're giving 10 if you have listed many flaws?". Simple: they are mere graphic's flaws, and a game isn't made of graphics. Fear is a solid FPS, giving to us many hours of frenetic action, allowing to the player the use of many strategies, making all the combats great sequels of pure action. More the taste of a terror history (The Ring influence), that shows to be complex and will probably such you in, more the flawless voice acting and the great sound effects. This will be for about 20 hours. And when all is over, you can play the two expansions (Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate) and Fear Combat, being this last one for free.
# 1º Revision#