moonlightmoth's F.E.A.R. 3 (Xbox 360) review

B.O.R.3 (SP Review)

This is a rather messy review for the single player – I have no friends :’( (on 360)

Fear 3 is a first person shooter from day 1 studios and is the third full game in the Fear franchise as you take the brothers, Point Man and Paxton Fettel, on a final jaunt to find and deal with their mother, Alma Wade.

This happened to me a lot.

Those who have not played any of the previous games, such as myself, may be a little confused as to the significance of some events and the general thrust of the story. There is some vague attempt to create a coherent narrative within the game itself by having the story of, and the tension between, the two brothers slowly expanded upon, but much of the effect is likely to be lost on those who haven’t spent any time in the presence of the main characters, or at least that was the impression I was left with having not really cared for much of what transpired, save the rather excellent ending.

The series has always been viewed, at least from the outside, as a first person shooter with a significant horror component to make things slightly more interesting than your typical shooter. It has to be said for Fear 3 that this is entirely not the case. The game isn't at all scary or frightening, and considering just how easy it is to scare a girl like me, this is a significant failing of the game, doubly so if you call it “Fear”.

The core mechanics however are slightly different from your usual fps, as the game offers you the choice to play through the campaign as either brother, each with his own set of abilities, and the game offers full co-op for its 8 chapters, or “Intervals” which, I’m very much assured, are much more enjoyable with a friend or kindly stranger.

While Point Man is pretty conservative in that his powers are pretty much limited to slowing down time, his deceased brother Paxton has the ability to manipulate and possess enemies in the absence of being able to wield weapons directly. Now on paper this would appear to make him the more interesting to use, but the reality is that I found myself possessing a character, and then reverting to rote fps tactics, minus the bullet time. The shooting itself is good and somewhat satisfying, but that alone is not enough to get around some of the larger problems which relate to the context of said gun-play.

Now, the one thing which IS of genuine interest is the points system which the game uses. By completing various in-game challenges across the various game modes, you gain a persistent ranking, with each new level offering a new perk such as increased health or ammo. This is the game’s best feature, and there is a nice thrill to chasing all the little challenges, such as seeing how many enemies you can kill in one possession or the number of headshots you can get in a single interval etc. The types of challenges are varied, and as the points tie into real gameplay advantages, there is some genuine value to it.

zzzzzz

But what keeps the game from being fun is the actual level design and the incredibly unimaginative fire-fights and situations which the game throws at you. You simply are put into a series of pretty basic areas, and then you fight a few waves of unremarkable enemies. These areas are usually boring aesthetically and the enemies are mostly the same masked baddies you’ve seen countless times, only these ones will try the unique tactic of chatting you to death with their irritating screams of “he got me!” or “he’s behind...X”.

When playing, I also got the feeling that the developers knew that their game was very short as a couple of time wasting ideas are introduced, such as leading you to think that you’ve just killed a boss, only for there to be another wave of enemies, and then another boss. This is padding, as there is no change to the battle, it’s just you repeating what you already did in the same area.

The game also has a couple of mech sections, and while these are perfectly functional, like the game itself, that’s all they are.

There simply isn’t anything of real interest here which you can’t get from many other, better games. There isn’t any fancy weaponry, no real variety to the enemies, no great story or anything to hold your attention all that much, and I spent most of my time just going through the motions, quietly relieved at the end that I would not have to play the thing again.

Having not played the co-op or the competitive multiplayer, I am only in a position to say that if you are interested in Fear 3, it’s probably best to go into it with the intention of playing with others. As it stands for me, Fear 3 as a single player game is pretty boring and unremarkable.

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