Just finished F.3.A.R. and I though I would give a few impressions on my play-through, sort of as a little bit of a review, as well as an overview of a series I've had a love-hate relationship with.
I've always been a fan of F.E.A.R. I though the first game in the series was quite original, exciting, and best of all, scary. I love a video game that freaks the hell out of me, almost to the point where I don't want to play it, or have to pause for a moment. The first F.E.A.R. in this respect was a success. For all of it's flaws (wonky AI, poor level design), I found it to be a fantastic game.
In F.E.A.R. you play as the Point Man for the F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon, if you were wondering). At the beginning of the game you find your target, Paxton Fettel, a blood-sucking telepathic loony. Your mission is to kill said loony. But while in pursuit of Fettel, Point Man begins encountering strange paranormal events, some of which come near to killing him. He starts hallucinating about a small girl in a red dress, Alma.
Plot of the first game aside, as I don't really want to spoil the ending for people who have yet to play it, another thing I wanted to talk about in the first game was the mechanics. As a shooter, it is quite solid, maybe a little finicky at times. The one aspect that made the shooting from becoming too repetitious was an ability that would allow you to slow down time, giving you a much needed boost, as some of the battles are quite overwhelming (on purpose. After all, this ability helps a lot) Overall the games engine was a bit of an achievement for its time.
F.E.A.R. 2 is where my faith wavered. From a technical standpoint, the second game hits all the right marks. The controls are improved and easier to use, the levels are better designed (although could still be a tad repetitious), and the bullet-time mechanics worked better than ever in making the game fun and fast paced.
But the two major flaws for me, personally, were the story and the scares.
The story takes place about thirty minutes before the ending of the first F.E.A.R. game. You play as an operator for Delta Force in the game, named Michael Becket. Right at the start of the game he starts to experience hallucinations about the little girl Alma, along with a city in ruins. The game actually does a good job of getting you in the mood right off the bat, but fails to keep you in the mood in between the action sequences.
Not giving to much away in the story, Becket becomes deeply entwined with the hallucinations and Alma, with most of the game you are trying to stop a process that would create solders with powers similar to that of Fettel's. The story does take several different twists and turns along the way, but I unfortunately found it a bit predictable.
As I stated before, I also didn't find F.E.A.R. 2 that scary. There were only about 3 really good scares throughout the entire game, while the rest of the scares were one where they would just try to "jump" scare you. The scares I did enjoy, though were interesting, and original.
One scared I really enjoyed was this: One thing that happened quite a bit in the first game was you would be walking, hear something, turn around, and Alma would be there. It was quite scary, as you could never tell when it would happen. Well, in the second game I remember walking and hearing something behind me. I prepared myself and turned around, but there was nothing behind me. As I turned back around to keep going SHE WAS IN FRONT OF ME! I though that was quite well done.
So, finally, on to F.E.A.R. 3. Overall, I liked it. I found the story actually quite an improvement over the last game, and also the shooting mechanics have had a serious upgrade. For some reason the shooting felt so much better when compared to the older games, almost as if it was a different series all together! On slight issue with the gameplay is a clunky cover mode, which works well sometimes, but can be frustrating at others.
On big draw to the game is the fact that you can play Co-Op, and trust me BY ALL MEANS, PLAY CO-OP! I just beat the game single player and really, really wish I could go back and play through my first time in Co-Op, as it adds quite a bit to the game and the play-through. Also, the game is just as hard as the other games on the hardest difficulty, so having a friend will make the play-through that much more fun.
But here is the problem... ITS NOT SCARY GRRRRRRRR..... I swear nothing at all made me jump even a little! Maybe I'm a bit desensitized, but I don't think that's the case as Resident Evil 2 can still scare me.
I though it was a good game, with quite a lot to do and pack in, but not even as scary as F.E.A.R. 2, which is saying something. If you want a solid shooter or like the story of the series, by all means, try this game (especially if your craving some local co-op).
But overall, there is nothing to fear from the latest F.E.A.R.