Friday, 18 March 2016

F.E.A.R/ Xbox 360

F.E.A.R (fuck everything and run) or First Encounter Assault Recon to give it it's proper title. There are moments when the first thing you will want to do is run and hide, then, maybe peek back around the corner from your hiding place, with your massive gun shaking in hand. 
It isn't Silent Hill type messed up and despite what I have read, it isn't as terrifying as the Ring. Maybe at the time of its release back in October 2006 it had this type of ability to freak people out. For me personally it is a very good first person shooter with a horror element that will definitely keep you on edge if nothing else.

My first play of F.E.A.R ended very quickly, due to the dreaded ring of death, that used to happen on Xbox 360 consoles. I finally picked up a copy back around the time of its release, after eyeing it up for many weeks previously. In went the game and around 5 minutes later, off went the computer never to come back on again. I sold all of the games that I had at the time and didn't come back to this game until this year. The wait has been worth it in some ways and in many the game feels overly outdated. I am at the end of the game and have decided to start writing about it to coincide with my expected completion of the game this week.

The Plot

Your task as protagonist Point Man, is to apprehend Paxton Fettel, who has gone on a cannibalistic killing spree, taking control of an army of super soldiers, whilst taking over Armacham Technology Corporation headquarters, where some shady dealings have been taking place of the supernatural kind. As you journey into the depths of a psychotic nightmare more, of the plot is revealed, generally through recorded telephone messages (if you can hear them), that you can listen to, as well as information stored on laptops, throughout the buildings that you make your way through.


I happen to like this game a lot despite some of its minor flaws. F.E.A.R is given the title of survival horror/slash first person shooter, but in all honesty it is more of a shooter than it is survival horror, especially given the fact that the majority of what you are shooting at is human (in some cases telepathically controlled) and that the horror plays out more like a bad trip. At one point I found some little Easter eggs that seemed to suggest that it was all just a dream or a hallucination brought about by the peyote cactus that is on at least 1 in 5 office desks that you pass by. I am not quite sure if that counts as an Easter egg find, but I'll add it to the comically named vending machines and what appears to be gay porn on about 1 in 5 desks also. Maybe my mind is warped, who knows? It certainly adds to the atmosphere of madness that catches you off guard every so often.
 So your basically going around shooting a lot, with a combination of guns of which you can be armed with three at a time. Every so often you may blow something up with your grenades or your mines. There isn't a massive arsenal selection, however there are some fun non realistic weapons to bring down your enemies with; mine being the 10mm HV Penetrator (sounds a bit rude), which pins the enemy to whatever he may be closest to. The enemies, mainly human, get slightly more difficult to take out as the game progresses, with the odd one heavily armoured shooting rockets at you. I say only slightly more difficult because for most of the game you are also heavily armed and can manipulate space and time with the matrix style reflex time, which explains Point Mans superhuman reflexes, slowing everything down so that you can easily hit and run on whoever you are aiming at. Flaw number one, given that the AI in F.E.A.R are actually quite intelligent and will move on you tactically, it makes little sense to be able to cancel this out by slowing them down whenever you are attacked. You don't actually fight against any monsters until the end of the game and then it is a disappointing introduction, with an even more disappointing final boss showdown, with a girl/lady who looks like she has just gotten out of the shower and is slightly pissed off that she has to answer the door looking as she does. Flaw number two in this supposedly survival horror game, there is a lack of surviving horror. To look at, F.E.A.R hasn't quite stood the test of time, although there are many good qualities surviving, possibly due to Havok physics being used (I love Havok). I was especially impressed with the lighting and shadowing in game; shadows rocking up on walls at times being more jumpy than the threat of being attacked. Bullet destruction in walls and blood splats are top notch and my highlight is chopping an enemy in two with the shotgun at close range and sometimes blasting them into tiny pieces. The sound ranks up another flaw. I don't know if it is just me, but I am assuming not as my sound system is pretty good; I could not hear the dialogue throughout this game on many occasions. It was okay at times, but mostly I was straining to make sense of what was being relayed back to me. A minor annoyance as the plot unfolds mainly through information found on laptops and answer machines of which both are verbally communicated. In the end it didn't really spoil the fun that I was having, creeping about wondering when the monsters were going to show, scratching my head every time a hallucination began taking effect and shooting big ass guns at big ass enemies whilst looking like some kind of Neo wannabe. Sadly I missed out by many years on being able to go on-line with this game, so I am unable to comment on what appears to of been a popular aspect of the game-play.
F.E.A.R scores a 6 out of 10
For its fun shooting game-play it scores 5 and 1 for the horror element. The ending sets up a sequel which hopefully offers more horror for the horror fans out there.  

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Feel free to add comments on the review or your own experience of this game.