Published on July 11th, 2011 | by simeon0
Supernatural horror fans are in for one frantic thrill ride with the release of F.E.A.R. 3 from Warner Bros. interactive.
The game returns the original games protagonist the Point Man to the series as his absence was severely missed in the previous game.
The game takes place approximately 9 months after the events of F.E.A.R 2 where the ghostly apparition of Paxton Fettel has returned to assist the point man on a daring mission to locate the supernatural Alma before she can give birth.
During the eight intense intervals or chapters of the game, Paxton provides a narrative to the silent protagonist which helps propel the story along and provide some comic relief from time to time in a very macabre way.
The old foes are back and the evil Armachan Corporation has dispatched legions of troops to stop you and find Alama for themselves. Facing the forces of Armachan is no easy task as there are legions of soldiers, mechs, and other bizarre and deadly foes for players to face.
Thankfully everything from knives, pistols, machine guns, a shotgun, rocket launcher, sniper rifle and next gen weaponry is available as well as the return of bullet time which allows players temporarily slow the world around them. I really enjoy this feature as it allows me to spring from cover and dispatch well entrenched enemies if you plan and execute it correctly.
The game does present some real challenges even for seasoned players and is one that does require strategy and tact in order to complete. A nice touch by the designers allows players to take cover behind objects and fire over the top or sides at oncoming enemies. This is also a great way to recharge your health while under fire.
This is essential as the series signature strong A.I. opponent’s return. Opponents will take cover, set traps, fire from cover, and knock over objects to provide cover as well as leap out of low level windows as they attack.
The game does use the checkpoint save system which at times is very frustrating as some of the battles are difficult and having to repeat segments over and over can get frustrating. Fortunately the game does save on a regular basis and therefore players usually only have to repeat shorter segments upon dying.
The game uses a restore health system that allows players to renew their health by taking cover before resuming the action. This is a good thing as the action is fast and furious and players are limited to only two weapons at a time in addition to their knife.
Thankfully the unarmed combat is back and players can do combat slides and kicks to dispatch enemies when ammunition is low.
The multiplayer segment of the game is different from past games in that it forgoes the traditional death match and capture the flag modes in favor of four modes of gameplay. One segment requires players to survive constant waves of enemies, while another task them to run through hordes of enemies avoiding an oncoming wave that is instant death should reach them. There is also a Soul King mode which allows players to collect souls from dispatched enemies and turn upon one another to collect the souls that have been collected by your fellow players. Many gamers have cited a wish that death match and capture the flag be added at a later date as they were such enjoyable parts of the previous games in the series. I would love to see this added if nothing else to expand the size of online games which are currently limited to just four players.
The graphics are in keeping with previous games in the series and while they look good, do not advance the visuals to the standards of many modern games.
Players will also have the ability to play through the game in co-op mode as either Fettel or the Point Man. This is very enjoyable new feature as combat with the spiritual Fettel allows you to use supernatural powers to fight enemies as well as possess enemy bodies so you may use any of the games weapons. The more bad guys you dispatch in a possessed body, the more souls you can collect, and the longer you may remain in the possessed body. I was very happy for this feature after a patch wiped out my save games and progress to interval 7. I was able to find someone to co-op the game with from Interval 7 on to the conclusion without having to replay the entire game.
There are also segments of the game were players can don a mech and dispatch lavish amounts of devastation upon any you come across. While this at times seems like overkill, it is a lot of fun smashing through bad guys and enemy vehicles with the awesome array of firepower at your disposal.
Horror legends John Carpenter and Steve Niles worked with the designers to provide some of the game scares and horrific visuals in the game and while the setting is in keeping with the series, the game lacks much of the suspense and chills very unique to the series.
I remember all to well how the first game had me on edge now and then as did elements of the previous games and the ad on packs. This time out, I enjoyed the setting such as the spooky warehouse store, but it seemed to be more eye candy then horrific immersion.
This is not to say that it is a bad game, rather that the emphasis is on action in a supernatural setting and the bizarre supernatural scares of the previous games have been toned down for this outing in favor of a more linear plot and a greater emphasis on action.
The game moves to a satisfying conclusion that does leave the door open for future chapters in the series. I’ve been a fan of the series from the first game, and if the designers can combine the innovations of this game with the return the scares of the previous games then we would truly have something special.
As it stands, F.E.A.R. 3 is an enjoyable and solid shooter at stays true to its roots and should entertain fans of the series.
4 out of 5