F.E.A.R. 3: Now just like every other FPS

Posted: April 2, 2012 in Game Review
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Before I even start talking about Fear 3, I should mention a larger trend which seems to be poisoning the entire FPS genre except a few specific games. That problem is that they are all pretty much the same. The so called “realistic” FPSs, with the same boring weapons, and you can only hold 2 of them at a time, and of course when you get shot your screen turns red until you take cover and then your health regenerates.

Now I know people see Call of Duty sales and want a piece of that, but it doesn’t exactly seem like copying CoD as much as possible is really a good idea. Now I’m no expert but I imagine if people like playing CoD, they will just continue to play CoD, and they do, they don’t have any reason to waste money on some crappy knock off.

So Fear basically gave up its greatest quality, actually standing out from a sea of generic FPS games, and decided to make its primary design decision was to abandon anything that set it apart from the crowd, and to make a cheap CoD knockoff. The biggest change from previous games in the series is that your health now regenerates like in every other FPS, rather than having to rely on a limited number of health packs to restore health. So of course any tension at all is completely lost, in exchange for fast paced action.

Another change is that rather than holding 3 guns at a time you can only hold 2, obviously because the generic FPS club must have made some rule that you can’t carry more than weapon at a time and Fear 3 wants in on that club. Now I prefer the “unrealistic” games that let you carry every weapon in the game at once, but even still the games that let you carry 3 or 4 weapons are usually okay too. For some reason the difference between 2 and 3 weapons feels really big to me. That’s the difference between hanging on to a rocket launcher or some other super weapon with very little ammo, even if I don’t need it anymore, and saving it for later; and dropping it in exchange for a gun with more ammo. Its just too limited to waste a gun slot on something that only has a few shots, if you only have 2 weapon slots.

Another thing about this game is that they really don’t want you to play this single player. Like Army of 2 or Resident Evil 5, this is part of another, thankfully less common, trend in video games is that the developers want you to play co-op and will make the game a hellish experience if you want to go solo. You can either play as the moronically named “pointman” or Paxton Fettel. Pointman is just generic FPS gameplay, with the slo-mo ability from previous Fear games. Paxton Fetel is a bit more interesting, he can possess the bodies of enemies.

Now for most of the game its a lot easier playing singleplayer as Fettel, but there are a couple parts that are ridiculously hard as Fettel. There are some enemies, that can’t be possessed by Fettel, and his only recourse is to shoot some weak, I don’t know, blobs of spirit energy at enemies, and its not very effective at all. And these enemies that can’t be possessed charge at you and can kill you in a few seconds. So when you get to sections of the game that have tons and tons of that type of enemy, its just ridiculous bullshit. This and so many other things clearly indicate they did not want people playing singleplayer.

And another thing is that the story is complete bullshit. Paxton Fettel is the villain in the first game and for reasons never explained he is now working together with pointman. And even stranger he came back as a ghost, for some reason. I mean lots of people get killed in these games, who haven’t come back as ghosts. Even the slightest hint of an explanation for why Fettel specifically came back would be cool. And even stranger is that Fettel is a ghost who can be killed by bullets somehow. I guess it makes him double dead, which is twice as bad. The story is just nonsense piled on top of more nonsense.

Unlike previous Fear games which were shown entirely in first person, this game has cutscenes in between levels. Unlike other games where your characters might have conversations to drive the plot forward, we are given something even better, long monologues by Fettel while pointman silently stands there like an idiot. Silent protagonists can work in games, but it usually hinges on not showing long scenes of people talking to them while they just stand there looking stupid.

So that’s all I have to say about this game. It a generic mediocre FPS. Although admittedly playing as Fettel and possessing enemies is kind of fun, once you possess them your back to the same generic FPS gameplay, so it doesn’t really improve the game a ton. Almost forgot to mention, previous Fear games at least had somewhat spooky atmosphere with weird visions and some long stretched without enemies to build up tension, but thats pretty mcuh all gone in exchange for more nonstop action. Only a very few spots in the game have anything approaching the spooky atmosphere of previous Fear games.

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