If there is one thing that gamers have proved in their spending habits, it’s that survival horror games sell well. That is why the F.E.A.R. series has gone on to show such success in its genre. Mix in the action of a first-person shooter with survival horror, and you have yourself a F.E.A.R. game. Few would contest that the original F.E.A.R. game was heavy on both scares and action. It remains one of the better horror games to date. Unfortunately, the series has undergone a change of direction since the original game, but that doesn’t mean that this latest game doesn’t have any fun left in it.
In F.E.A.R. 3, you play as F.E.A.R.‘s original protagonist, Point Man. Point Man is a genetically-enhanced solider bred for combat. You quickly learn that F.E.A.R. 2 antagonist Alma is pregnant with Point Man’s child, and it is up to you to stop this pregnancy. To understand everything that is going on you will need to play F.E.A.R. 2, since this game starts off where the previous game left off. While you are making your way back to Fairport, you will be accompanied by your brother Paxton Fettel. At the end of the previous game, you killed your brother and yet you are still able to work together from beyond the grave. It sounds a little crazy, but the dynamic between Point Man and his brother is one of the finer points of this game.
The game itself feels and plays a lot like a military shooter with some light horror themes splashed around. Anyone expecting or hoping for a game similar to the first in the series will be sorely disappointed. This is an unfortunate departure from what made the original game so good. Again, it is not to say that this is a bad thing, but given the level of quality preesent in the other games in the franchise, it leaves something to be desired. If you forget this is a sequel then the game can stand on its own.
The shooting elements of this first-person shooter are quite good. The guns are responsive and ammo is plentiful. Aiming is fast, and though the cover system is a little rough around the edges, it works well. There are a few strong story elements in the game that showcase its horror flavor, and although we would have liked to see more, it can’t be said that there isn’t anything there. Speaking of the story, there is a very interesting dichotomy between Point Man and his brother Paxton. Paxton is well aware of what Point man did to him and yet he needs Point Man to complete his objectives. A fragile alliance is formed, and the tension from that gives the game a lot of character. There are plenty of moments that will have you glued to the TV while the story pans out.
There are several multi-player modes at your disposal from the beginning. Many include your standard first-person shooter game types but with a twist, so there are a fair amount of fresh ideas to make the multi-player a strong point of the game. Each mode has its own maps, so you won’t see the same maps over and over again. The modes are varied enough that you don’t feel like you have the same objectives no matter what mode you play. Either way, the multi-player is a strong and rewarding experience. There is also a co-op mode which is very solid as well. You can play as either Point Man or Paxton and both have their distinct advantages and disadvantages. Paxton uses psychic powers and is able to possess and control enemy soldiers, sending them soaring towards the ceiling or keeping them stationary. Point Man is the firearms expert, always finding a way to hit his mark. The game can be played through in this mode, and it is suggested you play it that way, since you’ll get the full effect of the powers you and your friend and can wield. Either way, the co-op doesn’t get in the way of the actual game, and that is always paramount for a good co-op experience.
Overall, F.E.A.R. 3 is a solid shooter among a sea of shooters. The story is interesting, and when you combine that with a fun multi-player experience and the ability to play through the story with friends, you are left with a good game. I would recommend this title to anyone, unless you are a big fan of the original F.E.A.R. game. Those people may be disappointed with such a departure from the original. So if you prefer first-person shooters and like horror games, you’ll have a great time and should definitely look into getting this soon.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Playstation 3 version of F.E.A.R. 3 by WB Games
- Story is Interesting
- Strong Multiplayer Options
- Scary for a Shooter
- Fails to Stand Out
- Departure from the Original FEAR