- Title: F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon
- Platform: Xbox 360
- Publisher: Vivendi
- Developer: Day 1 / Monolith
- ESRB: M for Mature
- Genre: First-Person-Shooter, horror
- Pros: Solid FPS gameplay; very scary; great presentation; instant action and multiplayer are great
- Cons: Repetitive pattern of set pieces
F.E.A.R.s single-player campaign puts you in control of a specialized soldier who is sent in to investigate a man named Paxton Fettel. You quickly learn that things are far worse than you had originally thought (and things are messed up from the beginning), and fighting your way through the horrors and enemy soldiers in order to find out the truth is the name of the game here.
The game also includes an Instant Action mode where you are dropped into pure combat situations without the horror elements. The gameplay in F.E.A.R. is great, and this mode really shows it off, but I think most fans are here for the horror.
You can also jump onto Xbox Live and tackle some multiplayer modes. Deathmatch, team deathmatch, CTF all of the standards are here. There are also plenty of options to customize the matches to play out however you like. The only issue is that after a match there is no postgame lobby and instead you are dumped out to the menu, so spending an evening playing with friends is made annoyingly difficult because youll have to form a new game and invite everyone in again.
One aspect that is very impressive is the AI. We came into a situation where there was a loading dock full of enemies and there were two ways to get out to them, a set of doors or a big garage door. I thought I would be smart and intentionally open the door, let the enemies see me, and then lay back in wait for them to walk through the door and meet their end. They didnt do that. Instead, they went around to the garage door and came up behind me. These arent the stupid, predictable enemies of every other FPS you have ever played, and the game is filled with situations like this where the AI will surprise you.
My one complaint about the game is that it becomes fairly predictable after a while. After a big combat sequence, there is always either a puzzle or a horror sequence or both. You know as soon as combat is over that something is going to jump out and say boo or youll start hallucinating or that creepy little girl Alma is going to start coming after you, and when you can prepare for it and predict it, it loses some of its impact. Im not saying it isnt one of the scariest games ever, Im just saying it is sort of repetitive.
Graphics and Sound
The sound is also exceptionally well done. In any horror game, sound is one of the most vital aspects of drawing you in and then scaring you, and F.E.A.R. does a great job with it. One thing Im not crazy about is the fact that enemies constantly chatter on their radios, so you know when combat is about to start when you hear the static and clicks of their radio, and you know combat is over and all of the enemies are dead when you cant hear it anymore. This is just another aspect that makes it feel slightly predictable and repetitive.