Taking the fear out of F.E.A.R.
What does the F.E.A.R. franchise mean to you? Does it mean creepy thrills or high octane multiplayer action? Your answer to this question will determine whether or not you will enjoy F.E.A.R. 3 (I will never, NEVER spell a word with a number) because Day 1 Studios have made a whole new kind of F.E.A.R game that may please some and revolt others.
F.E.A.R. 3 has a pretty straightforward story despite the two games that have preceded it meaning that new comers can jump in quite easily. Don't worry though, F.E.A.R. veterans will still get a kick out of seeing familiar characters and locales as well as some nice fan service towards the end. I'll be honest though, this game doesn't seem to give a lick about its story. It's short, nothing really happens (thus making it pretty straight forward) and their are no scares. You heard that right, F.E.A.R. 3 is just not scary. They try to get you with the same "look at me I'm climbing down a ladder... OH MY GOD CRAZY DEMON GIRL" but after doing it to you in previous games and after doing it to you literally 5 minutes after the beginning of this one, seeing Alma pass you on an escalator in later parts of the game almost becomes comical.
What F.E.A.R. 3 does right is keep the brutal first person gameplay of the first game. Weapons pack a hell of a punch and make a hell of a lot of noise when fired. Despite the fact that most enemies are bullet sponges (shooting a guy in the face may just leave a red mark and the guy will continue shooting), playing as Point Man, hitting slow-mo and shooting a guy with a shotgun which sends him flying back in a fountain of blood is still awesome. The game adds a challenge system where you are rewarded for killing guys in certain ways (Bulletstorm this is not) and co-op which is probably the best part of the game. Blasting guys apart with a friend makes the campaign seem slightly less mundane despite that it destroys all sense of atmosphere (much like the challenge system).
The final and most important part of F.E.A.R. 3 is the multiplayer. It's obvious that the developers put most of their man power in the multiplayer mode and they have created an interesting experience. You usually play with 3 other players and must fight your way to objectives or survive a certain amount of rounds. Game modes like Soul King have you playing as ghosts who possess enemies and must collect souls by killing other players and enemies. The modes feel fresh and intense. Their is potential here and if Day 1 adequately supports the game, we could be looking at a pretty addictive game that could rival other shooters.
F.E.A.R. 3 is a multiplayer game and that's why it gets 3 stars. F.E.A.R. has always been about atmosphere, intense singleplayer action and a creepy little girl. It has never really been about multiplayer and Day 1 have made a valiant effort to turn into a multiplayer focused game. But guess what, there are already hundreds of multiplayer shooters on the market, a market that is saturated with modern military shooters. And Day 1 have turned F.E.A.R. into yet another modern military shooter, which I hate. So, if you like multiplayer shooters, dive right in. But if you like singleplayer experiences, you should think twice before paying another visit to Alma.