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Fear 3 XBox 360 Review (F.E.A.R. 3 REVIEW) - -

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 7.6
Sound 8.2
Value 8.5
Distributor: Warner Bros
Review Date:
June 2011
James Wright


F.E.A.R. 3

The F.E.A.R. series holds a special place in my gamer heart, just like Half-Life because it was a first person shooter game that melded with the survival horror genre which in turn created a truly riveting and frightful plus nail biting experience. It's also the only two games that have really made me jump out of my seat as its developers were the masters of implementing some truly scary moments into the game. F.E.A.R. 3 is the latest game to the franchise that although doesn't offer anything new in terms of first person shooter gameplay, it's the creepy storyline that sets it apart from its shooter competitors. As opposed to the epic open world shooters such as Crysis 2, F.E.A.R. 3 is more contained that assists in enhancing the creepiness of the story. There are some outdoor areas but most of it is quite cluttered.

When it comes to gaming mechanics, F.E.A.R. 3 is a relatively standard first person shooter that contains a decent cover system, a variety of powerful weapons with a touch of melee combat thrown in for good measures and some really tough battles. I played the game on a medium difficulty setting and needless to say, I had my ass handed back to me on more than one occasion. Even though there's plenty of ammunition to be found, it is actually quite limited and when you're panicking, you generally use more ammo than you should.

There is a health bar that regenerates when you're not being hit and should you happen to die, there are plenty of save points along the way for this not to be an issue. However if this was the only gameplay, F.E.A.R. 3 would be a rather tedious experience and this where psychic abilities come into play. Your character also has access to some supernatural treats up his sleeves that include the ability to slow-down time (ala Matrix bullet time) and possessions of enemies. Needless to say, all these weapons and abilities combine quite well to make a rather challenging and enjoyable first person shooter experience.

The story of F.E.A.R. 3 harkens back to the original game as opposed to the heavily action orientated sequel but if you have not played the original two games, you might be a touch confused as to what is going on. In F.E.A.R. 3, players take the role of Point Man, a genetically enhanced soldier, created by the nefarious company called Armacham. Armacham also created the highly unstable and powerful Alma whose powers are greatly stronger than the player. In the previous game, Alma forced herself onto Becket, the protagonist from F.E.A.R. 2 and your goal is simple, prevent Alma from giving birth to this child who could be a real problem for humanity.

Joining Point Man is Paxton Fettel who will provide some "assistance" to the player which is beautifully laced in sarcasm and guile. One great aspect to F.E.A.R. 3 is that you also have the ability to play as Fettel which adds a whole new twist to the gameplay, considering that he can possess his enemies. It does add a level of uniqueness to the title but for me, I prefer to go in with guns blazing as the Point Man.

The campaign mode however does allow you to play with two people, one as Point Man and one as Fettel that supports both local and online play and if you have this capability, I strongly suggest that you investigate this feature once have completed the main game. Another interesting twist to F.E.A.R. 3 is that is records how well the player is doing in both single-player and multiplayer modes. Points are awarded for almost anything and everything in the game but the better you perform, the more points you are awarded which can then be used to unlock character bonuses for the player.

Combat is quite diverse in the game and the troops definitely give you a run for your money. Unfortunately with the AI, there is no real strategy involved here and they seem to appear without any real thought. The damage system for the enemies is not that accurate as well, especially when you target key parts of their body like the head of chest. On more than one occasion and in bullet-time mode, I shot two soldiers in the head but they continued to get up. F.E.A.R. 3 has always been a Rambo style of game where both the enemy and the player can take an almost never ending rain of bullets.

However nothing is more fun than throwing a grenade into a room full of soldiers to take them out. With lots of buttons to press and locks to shoot or smash open with your knife, puzzles generally take a back seat in the game with the emphasis being on frights and combat. Compared to the other F.E.A.R. 3 games, the scare tactics is a little lacklustre and Alma is no way as imposing as she was in the previous games. Don't get me wrong, there's still some jump up moments but no way as enjoyable as the first game, even in multiplayer.

The developers of F.E.A.R. 3 have really transformed the arena of multiplayer. As opposed to traditional first person shooter modes, F.E.A.R. 3 is considerably different and thankfully in a good way with four modes to choose that include Contractions, F**king Run, Soul King and Soul Survivor. Interestingly enough, the game limits the modes to four players and during the pre-launch testing, we had a ball. The first mode is Contractions that requires the players to protect a designated area from a group of enemies which becomes more difficult as the ammunition begins to dwindle or you search for more. Run F**king Run is weird which requires the players to run from a Lost type smoke creature while you are fighting enemies. Usually the weakest players are the first to go and trying to keep moving is so frustrating but quite a victory should you win.

Soul King is even more different and is a versus mode which allows players to possess soldiers or zombies and then in turn turning them onto your opponents in order to collect the souls. The person with the most souls wins. Finally we have Soul Survivor which makes one player a spirit in order to possess the other players to turn them into the walking dead. Soul Survivor is a unique mode where one of the four gamers is randomly made into a ghost that can possess other players. In the time allotted, the goal here is to turn the other three human members of the team into the undead before time runs out. Lots of fun to be had!

Graphically,  F.E.A.R. 3 is a strange game that at times looks amazing and then you turn your head and it looks a little dated. This is probably a limitation to the gaming engine because everything does look squarish as opposed to the many curves of Crysis 2. The developers have also boxed the player into the gaming environment which adds to the linear gameplay. The characters are animated by the way, and there is some good textures involved in their appearance. The game uses lighting well and the paranormal special effects are quite impressive, especially those "ghost" images that appear now and then. There is some slow down on the XBox 360 version but this rarely effects the gameplay, even in those large fire fights.

To coincide with the gameplay, sound is a key factor of this title and issued well throughout the game, especially to enhance the creepy ambience. The guns have this real bass to them and even the tacky voice acting suits the premise quite well, even though it reeks a little of the House of the Dead series with its over the top acting. All in all, gameplay, graphics and sound melds together rather well.

Final Thoughts?
F.E.A.R. 3 offers some great replay value from not only giving the player an incentive to complete the game a second time around with the enigmatic Paxton Fettel but some very entertaining score based multiplayer fun. It may not be the most graphical game of the year but it does pack a punch where it counts with gameplay.

This game will definitely keep you coming back for more.


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