2011-04-20 12:15:47

F.E.A.R. - First Encounter Assault Recon, probably one of the MOST contrived Acronyms on the history of earth. It is almost as if the game designers decided on a name, and then somewhere later on they wanted to make the name of the game relevant in the plot and shoehorned the shit out of it. So already just on the basis of the name the game has gotten my blood pressure rising. This is an older title(2005) and was released just in time for Halloween gaming. I had gotten a hold of it a long time later and haven't gotten to it until now when I got a new computer that can handle it.

The concept of the game is that F.E.A.R. is some kind of paranormal investigating organization, and they are chasing this guy who like to eat people and is apparently psychically aware. the chase for this guy sweeps the entire gameplay from location to location, this guy always a step ahead. Maybe it's just me but seems that if F.E.A.R. would've just maybe I dunno, used more than 1-2 people to conduct the mission they could maybe "contain" this threat? when a swat team wants to capture people they don't just kick down the front door, they surround the entirety of the building then kick down all the doors and flood the building with manpower. so how F.E.A.R. justifies its funding when it can't even capture one guy without letting him run off and losing 3-4 blackhawk helicopters in the process is mystifying.

Now there is one instance where you do have some backup but that was like one 4 man team sent in with you, and they get psychically bombed the second they enter the front gate. Lot of good they do ya. Most of the gameplay involves sneaking around killing clone soldiers from some kind of Gov't contractor's project called Perseus. This definitely gets easier as you get better equipment, as you just have to stay in good cover, lean out use your "reflex" meter to slow down time and belt a dozen rounds into the enemies heads.

The death animations of the enemies are pretty well done, and their AI isn't horrible either, they will flank and take cover positions, though they generally only have 1-2 places they're willing to switch between when under fire, but they can be dangerous. Grenades and mines are satisfying to use, so overall the weapons of the game are a big success. 

Audio could've used a bit more work, I had to turn up my volume on my computer significantly just to hear the voice work, which in turn made gunfire way too loud. so some audio level adjustment would've been nice. and there is a lot of voice audio in this game, and the ones that are too faint are the voice mails and the radio chatter, you can hear the clone soldiers barking orders to each other quite easily, even when they're laying a trap, further proving the incompetence of these clones. Apparently the game didn't want the ambushes to be too hard. Except in a few moments when they armed heavy armored units with rocket launchers and pulse rifles. Or the couple of instances where you are attacked by Mechs. This game really does have it all in terms of enemies, you have soldiers, then turrets, then mechs, then flying mechs. Thankfully once the mechs show up the number of heavy weapons available also increase accordingly.

The game is supposed to be a spook fest, and there is some imagery that I saw that I guess some people could've found disturbing. Cliche little girl ghosts and flashbacks to some kind of hospital etc, then sometimes your screen gets smudged up with jelly and you walk through fire in slow mo, but really none of that really affected me at all. Only a couple scenes at the end really bothered me at all. Doom 3 was actually scarier, I think the reason behind that is that the threats were real. in FEAR the images are just that, images in your characters head, they seldom cause any kind of physical damage to the character and thus can just be shrugged off as "all in your head" and thus ignored. in Doom 3 that scream behind you is probably an imp about to eat your face off, not to mention the oppressive darkness and sudden popout monters.

So overall Fear was enjoyable to play just for the gameplay, but doesn't live up to its horrible sounding name.

Reason Result
Start 10
Acronym title that is so contrived they would've been better to not even try -8
Spook factor that doesn't hold up and uses every cliche in the book -2
Realistic death animations and over all good Enemy design +6
Excellent Weapon design, weapons feel/look/sound good. +4
Horrible Audio balancing making it a pain to hear radio/voicemail dialog which is what tells the storyline. -3
Final 7/10

7 out of 10 is a decent score, as I said if you can look past the dumb spook factor and shitty title, you'll find a game that is entertaining to play at least once. though I don't think it's worth a second run through.