With offices in Burbank, California, Warner Brothers Interactive has become an awfully large tent with some marquis intellectual properties like Batman and Lord of the Rings. The F.E.A.R. franchise, acquired from Universal/Vivendi is another of Warner Brothers’ premiere titles. It isn’t necessary to have played the previous games to enjoy the most recent one, but it does help put this horror/shooter adventure into context. The new F.E.A.R. 3 game also known as F.3.A.R., is an ambitious title that creates a co-op experience like no other although it is playable in single player and contains a large number of multiplayer modes.
F.E.A.R. 3 is designed to play cooperatively with one player taking the role of Point Man, who operates in standard shooter capacity, and the other player as the telekinetic entity known as Paxton Fettel, Point Man’s murderous dead brother. Considering Point Man killed his brother and that they are both the children of the powerful and tortured Alma, this make the alliance understandably uneasy. F.E.A.R. 3 does an interesting job of making a cooperative experience also competitive as each level is scored for both brothers, with one gaining the title of Favorite Son. The scoring is based on hidden objects found and of course kills.
If you can’t find a friend to sit with to play this dark and atmospheric game, as stated, the game is playable in single player mode. In the solo mode, each level must be completed as Point Man after which the Paxton Fettel mode is unlocked. Playing as Point Man makes this mostly a standard first person shooter mode, although you have the ability to slow time due to Point Man’s enhanced reflexes. Paxton, on the other hand has the ability levitate foes and posses them, which makes his adventure substantially more cerebral. As you can imagine, this makes for a variety of gameplay and adds to the single player mode tremendously.
The four different multiplayer modes are equally diverse and unique to the genre. An appropriately named F-ing Run mode forces players to push forward through the environment and enemies to escape an encroaching Wall of Death. Another mode forces gun and ammo collection in addition to barrier building to fend off waves of possessed enemies. A timed mode, Soul King forces players to possess human enemies to kill your competitors. The final multiplayer option is called Soul Survivor, where one team member must split up the remaining team members and corrupt them whilst they fight off an enemy assault.
F.E.A.R. 3 draws a lot from classic horror stories, even the soundscape is based on Japanese horror movie genre. It is certainly a creepy, disturbing, and gory game. Since the original, the F.E.A.R., the franchise has put out solid shooters and this game is not only certainly the most ambitious but still manages to succeed in most areas. The cover system although varied and touted as a full 360 degree system, is a little clunky and not as smooth as some of its competitors. Additionally, the art style of the characters seems, at times, to fight the intended atmosphere. Beyond these overlookable complaints, F.E.A.R. 3 is a dark, twisted, and gory experience worth having, preferably with a friend.
F.E.A.R. 3 is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360 and PC.