Wednesday, July 6, 2011

F.E.A.R 3: First Impressions.

It has been a long time since I've written about a video game, but it's been a long time since I've gotten a game that I've had so much fun with. (Not counting Magicka which is just pure awesome and should not be allowed to compete with ther games)

The other day I got my hands on F.E.A.R 3, and from the moment I hit "New Game" it's been giving me the smiles. I wasn't even about to get it. I had played a bit of the first one at a friends place and the demo for the second one, but it never made me wanna get into the series. Which was weird cause if it has anything remotely to do with horror I'm usually all over it.

But I had been following FEAR3 for a while, and then the John Carpenter directed live-action trailers started popping up online and my curiosity began to grow. When I found out Steve Niles was part of the bloody mix as well... a section of my brain started melting. But then even upon release I was a bit skeptical, and a lot of reviews were saying that despite the developers claims of having a more horror focus to the game, it wasn't really that scary.

Then I saw this video, and I thought fuck it... I'll play it.

And like I said, right from the start the game is a lot of fun.

It's not as demanding as some of the more hardcore shooters out there, such as COD or Crysis 2, but it's every bit as exciting. At least to me anyway. (BTW I loved COD: Black Ops, but got hella bored of Crysis2)

FEAR3 has a more "arcade-shooter" sense to it, in the way that it does require some strategy, but mostly it just lets you run around like crazy pulling off cool slow-mo kills that make you feel really bad-ass. Couple this with the horror theme on the side and it's a win for me.

The graphics aren't the shiniest, but it's not at all bad either. I was very pleased when I put everything on full and it ran super smooth on my pc. Think of it this way, if Dead Space is the big summer block-buster, then FEAR3 is the indie-horror action movie.

FEAR3's Gritty looks works well for it.

The gritty look of FEAR3 really works in its favor though, and is almost reminiscent of some of Carpenter's earlier films, it even has this 'old movie grain' filter on it. Seeing as how he was the hook that dragged me into this game, I thought that was very fitting.

The game handles the same as most shooters, but with a sweet little 'active-cover' feature that slightly reminds me of "Gears of War." Pressing the cover button next to walls or objects makes your character slide and stick to it, pressing 'jump' allows you to either leap over these cover objects or slide to another one near by. This adds a fun little 'something to do' when the action gets mad around you.

You start off each level playing "The Point man" who I read up was the main dude in the first FEAR game. As you play along you are followed by Paxton Fettle, who is his dead Brother. Point Man doesn't say much which makes him kinda lame for me, but Fettle is a cool character, who is sort of a tormentor to Point Man. There's a co-op mode that allows you to play through the levels with both of em, but in single player Fettle is reduced to a evil voice in your head, which for me keeps things entertaining.

Mad action is mad

There is however one small grip that I have with the game, which might be the result of the way I play games.

But before I get to that let me just talk about this one feature that some other games have. It's that thing where some games turn or control your view to look at some sort of action or event that's happening at the time. Like in "Gears of war" whenever something important happens you automatically look at it. Normally I find this feature to be slightly annoying, but I think for FEAR3 it might have been useful.

Now back to my grip.

When I play anything I love to explore. FEAR3 is very linear, but it does have a lot of side hallways and doors that you can explore for more ammo or dead bodies for you to draw psychic energy from, this makes things a little more interesting when your looking around. I'm also the type of guy who will read shit on the walls. Something written here? I'll read it... what's this? A puddle of blood? ... where did it come from? is there a trail?

It's because of this I miss a lot of FEAR3's scare moments. I'm only up to the Department store level, but I had seen a lot of jump scares in clips online, and I was looking forward to playing through em myself. But a lot of the time all I get to hear is the que music and a sound, while I'm looking at something on a wall here, or checking for enemies behind doors over there, and then I turn around and see ...nothing.

O phew I thought I missed you.

Yes it would be scary if I turned and just barely got a glimpse of something, but a lot of the time it's like "what? ...o shit I missed a scary bit."

I'll give you an example, and I don't think it's a spoiler. In this one trailer for the game, I saw this bit where you're in a rest-room looking at a pile of dead soldiers, when suddenly something skittles past one of the dead bodies and then runs up a wall... into the ceiling... then we see tiles fall as it makes it's way across the ceiling before jumping out and running out the door. I thought that bit looked farkin sick,

Now when I got to this bit, I was stuck with a pistol that had like 12 rounds left. So when I found the dead soldiers I started searching them for ammo. Suddenly I heard the que music and a slight sound, when I turned to look ...there was nothing there... and the tiles where on the floor. Now maybe this could have been scary, but I was like "Shit I missed that bit from the trailer!@#"

This is a very silly grip and I know ... but I really think that whole "hey look over here" feature might have really worked for this game.

department store level.

When I got to the Department store I also had to put the difficulty up a bit, because I found that these zombie things were simply lining up to grant me head shots. This is not a brag in any way as I'm not the best at FPS's (in fact I get shit from one of my friends for using a 360 controller on my pc), but I simply didn't want to have an easy ride through the game. A lot of the time for any horror game, the harder enemies and lack of bullets add to the scare factor, and I found this to be the case for FEAR3.

But whatever... I'm having a lot of fun with this game, and I just wanted to share a little bit about it. It might not make or break your game collection, but for anyone who likes a fun shooter and horror thrills, FEAR3 might be worth a look. If you have the option to rent it than you should definitely try it out.

I'm not going to bother rating the game as there are many reviews available online for you to look at, but for me I'm happy I have a game to hold me over till the end of this week, when something special arrives for me :D

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