The Ring: The Video Game
What is it about evil little children that sends chills up your spine and makes you fear the playground near your house at night? Perhaps it is the bastardization of something normally so (outwardly) sweet and innocent that generates the same feeling of fear as when we hear about another Uwe Boll movie coming out. Then again, it could be how emotionless said child acts when bathed in blood and standing over a dead body, but let's get back to the video game.
F.E.A.R was undoubtedly one of the best shooters released in 2005, and not just because of the heavy use of bullet time. The game featured a very in-depth and intelligently written storyline, and managed to package that in with the most satisfying firefights to date. If there is one thing F.E.A.R might disappoint on, it is the actual fear element.
F.E.A.R puts you in the shoes of the Point Man, the same gun-toting, voiceless, emotionless badass we've seen in virtually every first person shooter ever released. Your mission is simple: Paxton Fettle has taken command of a group of telepathic super soldiers, and the group has murdered the occupants of the Armacham Technology Corporation and seized the building. As a member of the elite special forces, you must stop Fettle and take down his army, and figure out who Alma is: the disturbing little girl with a murder spree and psychic powers.
Combat in F.E.A.R packs a punch that few other games have come close to replicating. Firing off a few rounds into a replicated soldier's face is almost as satisfying as the thunk as each bullet penetrates its target. To aid the Point Man in his fight against Fettel, the game offers an array of generic weapons: the pistol, the shotgun, rifle, submachine gun, plus a few extra weapons to spice things up. Additionally, you have access to a bullet time technique, which is explained in the game as the Point Man having increased reflexes.
That isn't to say that combat is easy, especially at higher difficulty levels. Your enemy is not only intelligent, they are linked up to a single hive mind and can see everything. The AI in F.E.A.R is capable of combat maneuvers that may just leave you impressed in their ingenuity. Not only will the replica soldiers flush you out of your hiding spot with grenades, they will manage to flank your position and fill you full of lead before you know what hit you.
As far as scaring you goes, F.E.A.R is good for some slight jitters, but little more. The scares would be good, but they are so predictable that you see them coming a mile away. Bloody trail down a hallway? Better watch that corner. Blood dripping from an overhanging balcony? When does the dead body fall off? Dark hallway with lit end?
There were some points that actually surprised and managed to make me jump in my seat, and I won't spoil them for those who somehow still haven't played the game. If you are going to play F.E.A.R, play it for the story and play it for the superb combat.