The 2006 release, F.E.A.R., seems to have a lot going for it: a creepy child ghost, lots of dead bodies and blood, slow-motion action you control, and not to mention a few frightful moments. With all of these possibilities inside, is F.E.A.R. at $14.99 worth the buy?
F.E.A.R has always been a game that’s perked my ears up, so to speak; the shooter/sci-fi thriller combination is right up my alley. My initial concern about this game was the graphics. Seeing as the game came out in 2006, I was aware that it might get gritty at times – which it did – but once you get yourself emerged in the game, you can manage to somewhat cope with it.
The story starts out when the “Point Man” (you), gets his first in-field mission. You are a part of the F.E.A.R. team (First Encounter Assault Recon), dealing with the slightly unnatural and stranger sides of the military. You are to investigate the escape of Paxton Fettel, who through psychic abilities has taken control of an army of cloned super-soldiers with his mind. He has escaped and left a trail of bodies in his path to find Alma, a powerful psychic who’s part of Project Origin.
With little clues and hints along the way, you learn Paxton is the second ‘creation’ of his kind. He was born from Alma, a small ghostly looking girl in a red dress who scares the living shit out of you. Come on, small kids who murder special forces isn’t something to take lightly! Alma and the horrifying/psychological effects of this game are what make F.E.A.R. a shining star. Nearly inaudible sounds and effects build up your anxiety for something awful to happen, and then deafening silence makes you think it was just nothing. BAM! Enter the Scary Ghost Girl in a hallway of blood and fire to truly knock you off your rocker. The hallucinations and little encounters with the paranormal were designed to a tee, and not giving you too many answers and leaving you to fill in your own theories was a nice touch.
F.E.A.R. doesn’t have the smoothness you want, but the controls fit well to the mood of the game. The inability to run allows for the environment to sink into your playing style, and having a flashlight that can die at the worst moments really adds to that environment. The best use of the mechanics is your Reaction Time (slow-motion). During Reaction Time, you are able to move faster than everyone else, seemingly slowing time and making you feel totally bad-ass. There is a limited amount of time that you can stay in slow-motion, but it quickly recharges when it’s not in use. This adds a definite element of strategy when facing multiple enemies and firefights. For being a Sci-Fi shooter, F.E.A.R. uses a very non-fictional weapon system, but still throws in its share of fun toys, too. The use of mêlée is not to be ignored in combat situations. One powerful blow to an enemy can dispatch them quickly and silently. The last encounter between Alma and Paxton truly blow the doors wide open on this game. By throwing in a huge plot twist, the psychological implements leave you wanting more. That’s exactly what you get as those doors swing wide, leaving room for anything to happen.
As far as achievements are concerned, you’d better let your inner Achievement Hound rest here. Don’t go looking to get a supreme GS from this; the achievements will require a lot of hard work and frustration. Many of these achievements are based around multiplayer matches. F.E.A.R. offers several varieties of match types, but don’t get your hopes up. There is no online community for this game anymore. It’s understandable, considering it is six years old, but with such a large portion of the achievements and emphasis placed on the online aspects, this is a huge downside to buying F.E.A.R. The only remaining glory of this game lies in the campaign and fun you will have with story.
With gritty graphics, rough controls, nonexistent multiplayer, and a lack of exciting achievements to be had, F.E.A.R. may be better suited as a rental just to enjoy a night of frights and an intense campaign. But as far as a ‘buy’?
F.E.A.R. is “Not Worth It”.
by Luke Wyatt