This week I will be looking at FEAR 3, the latest installment of the franchise from Day 1 Studios and published again by WB Games. I’ve never been the biggest fan of the franchise, but I’m coming into this game with an open mind. I never played the original on PC or its later port to consoles, but I did mildly enjoy FEAR 2: Project Origins on the 360. For me it just felt too much like a PC shooter that should have stayed there. But lets jump in and see what Day 1 has brought forward this time around with a much more console friendly version of the game.
For those not too familiar with the story behind the FEAR franchise, myself included, I decided to do some research and here is a summary of what I have come up with. Nine months ago, the F.E.A.R. Point Man and his squad were tapped to stop an unknown man who had commandeered a battalion of Replica super soldiers at the Armacham research facility in the Northwestern US city of Fairport. During the mission, the Point Man learned that the man was not working alone – in fact, the very person the Point Man was ordered to subdue was his telepathic, cannibalistic brother, Paxton Fettel, and his tortured and powerful psychic mother, Alma Wade— products of Armacham Technology Corporation’s perverse paranormal experiments. Despite this revelation, the Point Man moved forward with standing F.E.A.R. team orders to stop the targets at any cost. In a last-ditch attempt to end the pair’s homicidal rampage, the F.E.A.R. team set in motion an explosive series of events that seemingly accomplished their goal, but at the cost of ravaging the city, its inhabitants and almost all of the Point Man’s squad mates.
Four months following the blast, events in Fairport have made it clear that Alma’s psychic influence survived — and worse, her paranormal power is growing and spilling into reality. Now her supernatural agony repeatedly rocks the city as she attempts to secure the survival of her bloodline and reunite her family. Armacham’s security force remains violently focused on eliminating all evidence of the events in the city, and the remaining F.E.A.R squad carries on the mission to stop Alma.
The gameplay side of things is dead on for this title, at least from a console players point of view. Fear 2 felt kind of stiff and the controls clunky to say the least. That is all gone now, swapping it out for a more “traditional” fps control scheme. And when I say “traditional”, I mean its like fucking Call of Duty. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes strictly to control schemes, at least COD did one thing right. Gun play is fast and heavy. Slow mo is back in this title like all previous Fear games, and it works devilishly good. It never really gets old watching a random soldier liquefied in slow motion by a point blank shotgun blast. A new cover system works seamlessly as you can shoot out of cover. You also retain the ability to slide and mantle your self over or under objects.
Multiplayer returns in Fear 3 and it has not only received a face lift, but a total fucking overhaul. There are four game modes that are included in the multiplayer. The four game modes are Fucking Run, Contractions, Soul Survivor, and Soul King. Fucking Run features 4 players running through waves of enemies, all the while running from Alma’s massive Wall of Death. The players start off in a safe room and proceed through levels, killing enemies within a certain amount of time. There are several safe rooms throughout the mode, and if a player is downed, one of the co-op players can revive them. If one player is killed the game is over. Contractions is a survival round-based game mode where you must barricade and stock up weapons against 20 waves of enemies from the Fear 3 single player, similar to Call of Duty’s “Nazi Zombies,” although the farther you increase through the waves the tougher it gets by adding a fog effect that creeps closer and closer making the map much more dangerous. Soul Survivor has four players pitted against each other with one player playing as a Spectre in which he or she has to possess enemies to kill the other three players and turn them into Spectres before the time runs out. Soul King is similar to Soul Survivor but with the exception that all the players play as Spectres and must possess enemies to kill each other and collect dropped souls. Teamwork and cooperation is definitely the key to winning in all of the game modes.
The visual presentation in Fear 3 is certainly not the best out there, but that shouldn’t scare anyone away. The graphics are good and the gory blood effect look particularly good. Don’t look for this one to win any awards for graphics, but it can certainly hold its own. The audio on the other hand is phenomenal. Weapon sounds are great and unique to each individual gun. The accompany music sound track is eerie and atmospheric. There also the sometimes overdone screeches from Alma to send a chill up your spine. Audio needs to be done right with survival horror games, an Day 1 really hit a home run with this game.
At the end of the day I found Fear 3 to be a great early summer release title. There aren’t too many games coming out this summer, so Fear 3 should definitely be on your list. A revamped control scheme that runs smooth and a much better story narrative than previous titles makes this one a must own. Plus there is a kick ass co-op/multiplayer attached to the game.
|Greatly Improved Narrative and Control Scheme, Fun Gun Play||Tough Multiplayer Achievements, Moderate length lasting 6-8 Hours|