F.E.A.R. 3 (2011)


GameFly got me a game I’ve been looking to get my hands on since it came out in the form of F.E.A.R. 3 (which you will hopefully excuse me for just calling FEAR 3 from now on), brought to us by Day 1 Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

FEAR 3 is the 3rd in the series, if I may surprise you for a second.  For a little background, at least what I can remember: FEAR 1 starts you as the nameless protagonist called Point Man, who is a new member to a faction of military that deals in paranormal threats.  But there’s a twist to Point Man; his fantastic reflexes (shown in the game by slowing down the action for everyone but Point Man, allowing him to beat some ass).  Well he makes his way through the game with a Ring-esque little girl with black hair covering her face and a red dress, named Alma, popping up and submitting him to horrors and nightmares with her intense telepathic and telekinetic abilities until he sabotages a reactor to destroy her and her son, Paxton Fettel.  Well it doesn’t work.  FEAR 2 is almost a prequel but kind of happens alongside the first.  You play as Michael Becket, a Delta Force operator, who is sent to retrieve some lady that has something to do with the program that made Alma so angry.  Right before he gets her out, the reactor explosion from FEAR happens and he’s knocked out.  He wakes up in a facility that gives him abilities similar to Point Man’s reflexes, and he uses them to escape.  Then Alma starts hounding him ’cause she’s got a crush.  She drops her little girl facade and shows her skinny naked girl image.  To try to get her off his jock, he tries getting into a psychic amplifier.  She finds him as he’s strapped down and rapes him.  Then she’s preggers.

Now that we’re up to speed, FEAR 3 puts us back in as Point Man who is basically haunted by his brother, Paxton Fettel, who he killed in one of the earlier games.  Point Man is Fettel’s older brother and so is also Alma’s son.  Point Man has been captured by Armacham Security and is getting his face punched up until the ghost of Fettel takes over one of the guards and kills the other.  Point Man and Fettel then excape.  They soon meet up with a friend of Point Man’s from FEAR 1, a woman FEAR operative named Jin.  She shows him footage of Michael Becket talking about how he was raped by Alma and now she’s knocked up with what one can assume is the antichrist.  Point Man and Fettel then go after Becket to find out what’s going on and try to stop the baby’s birth, though each has different reasons.

FEAR 3 is a first-person shooter that adds the twist of slo-mo, at the time and especially now a somewhat overused gimmick in the gaming world.  I don’t know when it started in gaming, but it started around the time the Matrix came out and every game tried to take a swing at it, most successfully with FEAR and Max Payne.  This game plays very well.  The slo-mo is great in a sticky situation and would be welcome (if well done) in may shooters.  The only problem I had with the gameplay was the control scheme, and it’s not so much this game’s fault as it is a problem with all FPS’s.  Why can’t these things get on board with each other?  You can scarcely go from one FPS to another without the controls changing so drastically that you accidentally throw a grenade and kill yourself when trying to run.  The weapons are mostly standard with a few new additions.  It, of course, has your shotguns, pistols, assault rifles, SMG’s, but then adds some giant lightning laser gun and, my favorite, the Penetrator.  This is a type of gun you see in a few other shooters, but I love any weapon that can potentially pin an enemy’s corpse to a wall.  There are also a few, sparse parts in the game where you can hop in a Mechanized suit to wreak some havoc.  It’s fun enough, but I think I’d like it better without.

FEAR 3 is also set up to be a co-operative game, where players can choose to be Point Man or his brother, Fettel.  I never played co-op, but I did play a level as Fettel, and it was lame.  Most people will (appropriately) not remember a game called Geist for the GameCube, but it kind of handles like that, but it loses the parts of playing as a ghost that are interesting.  Fettel basically controls just like Point Man if you slapped a red film over his eyes and made it so he can’t pick up guns.  Instead, you’re a ghost and can do damage in that form but you can also possess enemies and kill people as them.  What the game forgets is that, when playing as Point Man, no one could see Fettel, he could walk through walls, and he couldn’t be shot.  But this is not the case when you control Fettel, and that’s the balls.  And only the ending changes when you play as Fettel, so why bother.  Just look up the ending on Wikipedia or YouTube.

It’s the style of the game that sets FEAR apart from similar shooters.  Since FEAR 1 (with varying degrees of success), the game has attempted to combine your regular action-shooter with a horror movie.  FEAR was most successful at this, at times having genuine scares in it.  FEAR 3: pretty light on scares in my opinion.  If they make another game, they should probably focus more on that.  And it’s not the atmosphere either.  The graphics and lighting are top of the line.  The music supports the scary.  But they just didn’t put that much of it in.  The creepiest moment was in an airport when on one of those moving walkways, you could look over and see little girl Alma on the opposite direction walkway just staring at you creepily.  Though not scary, the third level was in what appeared to be a haunted CostCo, which I liked seeing.  Next up?  Haunted Best Buy.  And the song that runs over the end credits is “Mother” by Danzig, which is both awesome AND appropriate.

Another part of the game that kept me interested was the point system.  Even in single player campaign the player was collecting points and leveling up as someone would in multiplayer on a game like Call of Duty.  I liked this a lot.  It keeps me interested in the game to not just be running through a game, killing randoms, and trying to finish the story.  This way I’m going through trying to get a certain type of kill with a certain type of weapon and it keeps me attentive.  One complaint about this was that you could find collectable dead bodies and “Psychic Link” with them, which would just give you points.  This only bothers me because it seems like you could do something cooler with this like get visions of memories from these bodies or something.

As for multiplayer: didn’t play it.  Not interested.  No opinion.

So, all in all, this is a great game with a good story you should probably take a look at.  And even more so if you’ve played the other FEAR games and need to keep up with the story.  I love this series once I’ve added up the sum of it’s parts.  I just think they should get back to their scary roots and take a step away from the action.  We have enough action shooters already.  So, all things considered, you should at least give this game a rental, if not a purchase.  I support either decision.  …Out of 34.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

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