During this console generation, it’s hard to find a first-person shooter/horror game. There are more than enough of normal shooters that take you for the same ride but, as a shooter fan, I kind of want something more. And F.E.A.R. delivers that. The games combine two of my favorite genres and keeps me on the edge of my seat the entire play-through. And F.E.A.R. 3 continues that atmosphere while still keeping familiar shooter elements.
For those that aren’t familiar with the F.E.A.R. lore, well you shouldn’t be reading this! Go and pick up the previous games then come back here. For those that are in the know, F.E.A.R. 3 puts you back in the role of Point Man, the protagonist from the original game and teams you up with your brother who you shot in the head. Your task: to find your mother, Alma, who is pregnant with Becket’s child after taking advantage of him in the last game.
Finding Alma won’t be easy as you have to fight your way through Armacham forces hell-bent on stopping you from finding Alma. Not only that, but you will encounter some pretty nasty creatures in your journey. But you aren’t alone in your quest to find you mother. Your dead brother Paxton Fettel guides the whole way. And this is where F.E.A.R. 3 takes a pretty interesting turn.
F.E.A.R. 3 gives you two different ways to play through the campaign. You can play through it by yourself or you can grab a friend and play through it cooperatively. In the single player, you play as Point Man using weapons and the power to slow time. When you beat an interval, you have the option to go back o=and play through that interval as Fettel which changes the gameplay completely. As Fettel, you have the ability to possess enemies and use a form of telekinesis to lift your enemy and make them explode. If you choose to play through by yourself, you will notice the game can get rather hard even on the easiest setting since Fettel doesn’t use his powers to help. In co-op however, you can play locally or online and use both characters’ strengths to help get you through the game.
Both single player and co-op require you to play through the same eight intervals that are disappointingly short. The single player is about 5 hours long while the co-op will run about 3-4 hours. The game is probably best played by yourself so you can experience all the frightful moments in all their scary glory, F.E.A.R. 3 is built around the co-op play. It really makes the game a lot easier.
Like the previous games, F.E.A.R. 3 keeps you on edge as Alma and enemies randomly pop up to give you a fright. The music helps set the mood with creepy sounds and noises to accompany the atmosphere of the game.
One of the biggest problems I have had with the FEAR franchise is the lack of a map system. While its nice to not have a map at the bottom left of the screen so I can explore the levels and see all the creepy stuff, it gets really annoying because I always get turned around and head back the way I came from. I did this way too much and the dark lightning didn’t help things either.
If you want a break form the campaign, F.E.A.R. 3 does offer some different multiplayer modes. Each of these modes have their own unique maps and different tasks you need to complete. There are four different modes that allow up to four players to join. Soul King puts players against each other as ghostly creatures that can possess enemies around them. The point of this mode is to kill soldiers by possessing them and using their weapons to kill other players. When you kill them, they drop souls which you need to collect. The player with the most souls collected at the end of the round, wins.
In the Contractions mode, you and your teammates are charged with the task of protecting a static location from waves of enemies. If this sounds familiar, it should because it’s a lot like Call of Duty’s Zombie mode.
In Soul Survivor, one out of the four players is randomly chosen to be made into a ghost that can possess other players. In the time allotted, the ghost player has to possess the other three players.
But the most intense and fun game mode F.E.A.R. 3 has to offer is the F*cking Run mode. In this mode, you have to run from Alma’s wall of death while avoiding obstacles and killing enemies. And there is absolutely no room for error. If one player dies, the game is over.
One of the best things that F.E.A.R. 3 does is the score system. Beat an interval in single play or co-op and do things like stay in cover for a period of time or kill ten enemies in a row without being hit, you earn points. Earn enough points, you level up. Once you are done with the campaign, your level and all the points you have earned transfer over to the multiplayer modes.
In a gaming world where the market is saturated with shooters, F.E.A.R. 3 tries to stand out and accomplishes this with its creepy atmosphere and different take on co-op play and multiplayer modes and the way players level-up. While the game does all those things well, the difficulty and length of the single player campaign and the lack of “true” competitive multiplayer (read: deathmatch) makes this game a little disappointing. But, truthfully, I can forgive that as the game has great replayability and an awesome game mode in F*cking Run. That combined with the interesting story, F.E.A.R. 3 does indeed stand out from the pack.
Review copy provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.