I’m a fan of the F.E.A.R. franchise and I was anxiously awaiting this release after some lackluster entires in my favorite genre. (Yes, I’m talking about “Duke Nukem Forever.”) When I was about about halfway through, I could safely say this is a great game. Now I’m sure of it.
My main criticism: It’s not that scary. My main praise: It’s tight, paced well and offers excellent multiplayer.
The supernatural underpinnings of this game’s story and settings play out against a lot of traditional shooter staples: A rock solid cover system, aggressive tactical enemies of the generic military variety, familiar but tight weaponry and (in this case) an excellent scoring system running behind the scenes that gives you incentive to kill often and in interesting ways. Typically I am not taken by scoring systems or leveling up in shooters, and I initially ignored the pop ups on the screen that told me I was doing a good job. At the end of the first level, however, I was rewarded with a nice accumulation of stats. Since then I’ve been playing with my performance in mind, not just my survival.
The story, if you’ve been following it in the previous games, won’t disappoint you. It won’t blow you away either. The voice acting carries it well, but I’ve never cared much for the characters in this series as much as I did for, say, those in the Condemned games. Personally, I’m not pushing on to see what happens next in the story. I’m pushing on because the game is fun to play. What I do like about the trappings of the horror story is it puts me in the shoes of a hero who is not fighting through a traditional military or space shooter. The “F.E.A.R.” series may not engage me with its story, but the fact that is has one still intrigues me. I am apparently one of the few gamers to finally get sick of military shooters. They just don’t move me anymore. “F.E.A.R. 3,” like its predecessors, cleverly avails itself of all the military shooter trappings while not being a Call of Duty clone. I like that.
I’ve seen some criticism of the graphics. I think they’re great. The atmosphere is fantastic and the blood – of which there is gallons – is appropriately shocking. So are the physics. I shot one dude with my sniper rifle as he was trying to escape out a window and the bullet spun him around nicely.
If there’s anything specific that frustrated me while playing it’s the fact that it is often easy to get lost, to backtrack by accident and to fumble around to find where to go next. Maybe this one is just my problem, but I think you know how frustrating it can be to wander around seeing the same dead bodies while you look for the one door out of 100 that allows you to open it.
I played enough of the multiplayer to recommend it. I’m a campaign kind of guy, so I typically don’t spend much time with multiplayer. I can say without question that the modes are interesting and the multiplayer is handled well. Considering how good the multiplayer is, and the fact that the scoring system encourages repeat play, this game is money well spent.
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