av_gamer's F.E.A.R. 3 (PC) review

Low budget, but still good.

F.3.A.R or F.E.A.R 3 is the long awaited sequel to F.E.A.R 2. Does this game wrap up the trilogy in fashion? Or like most trilogies, is the conclusion a big let down? 
 

FEAR 3 Boxart Concept

Fear 3 takes place some months after Fear 2. After the shocking ending that still has some gamers talking, you're once again in the shoes of the original protagonist from the original game. Alma's pregnant and is close to giving birth. The original protagonist, only known as Point Man, hears about it and plans to stop it. Unfortunately the Armacham corporation also know about Alma's pregnancy and they're planning to take the child for themselves. The antagonist from the first game Paxton Fettel, whom you now know is the original protagonist brother, also knows about the pregnancy and decides to aid the brother that killed him. To make matters worst, Alma seemed to inspire a crazy cult, that is hell bent on helping Alma have her child no matter what the cost. These threads set up the overall plot of Fear 3. 
 
One of the first things gamers will likely notice about Fear 3 is that it doesn't have the same polish the first two games had. This is mainly because the original developers Monolith didn't make this sequel. Instead the game was made by Day 1 Studios. Day 1 used the material left behind the best way they could, but you can still tell you're not playing the same quality product. This doesn't mean Fear 3 is a bad game. In fact, as a shooter, it's pretty solid. However, a lot of the effects and immersion that fans enjoyed in the previous two games are left behind in favor of more shooting action. The game does have it's set pieces of attempted shocks, scares, and events, but there not as strong as in the past games. They still do a decent job of moving the story forward.
 
Brotherly Love.

Day 1 Studios tries to evolve the gameplay in Fear 3 by bringing in concepts used in other shooters. This includes adding a cover system and using a level ranking system. The cover system is mostly well done, however I notice some walls and other objects that couldn't be used for cover. This isn't a burden to the gameplay fortunately. The ranking system is done a lot like the multiplayer in games like Call of Duty. You're given points for when you land head shots, use cover well, and shot exploding barrels among many other things. When you get enough points, you gain a rank which gives you an award. The awards are suppose to enhance Point Man's abilities. For instance his ability to slow down time in a fire fight can last longer. The game also has segments where you can use an armored mech suit, which was a big feature in Fear 2. Unfortunately, the armored mech suit doesn't have the same epic feel. Well done enemy AI keep the action exciting, however. They do a good job making each fire fight a challenge. You mostly either fight Armacham mercenaries or Alma cultist. The Armacham mercenaries do a great job communicating with each other. If you play long enough you can learn to read their actions based on their dialogue. Alma cultist rush after you with either their fist,  with weapons like a steel pipe, or they try to suicide bomb you. The cultist remind me of the enemies from the Condemned series, as you mostly have to use Melee attacks to stop them. Day 1 even added a co-op feature which allows you to play as Paxton Fettel along side Point Man. After every level completed, you can also go back and play as Paxton Fettel in place of Point Man. Instead of using guns, Paxton uses his powers to possess enemies or kill enemies out right with psychic force. 
 
Like most modern shooters, the game has multiplayer. It's mainly focused on the survival aspect found in other games. This means wave after wave of enemies coming after you, until you die. One of the modes is called "Fucking Run" which says it all. 
 
The graphics and sound of Fear 3 take a step back. The graphics don't have the polish of the previous two games and one could argue that the graphics are inferior to the other games in the series all together. The sound design and the music is well done. However, the sound quality itself seems muffled and not as clear as a modern game should be. Overall it adds to the impression that Fear 3 didn't get the top self treatment of a big budget release.
 
Overall, Fear 3 is like a direct to DVD sequel to a blockbuster movie. The production values aren't the same. But the makers behind it understood the source material and used it properly. Fear 3 isn't the grand epic that gamers were expecting. However, if you're looking for a solid shooter in the first person, this game will satisfy.
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