What is F.E.A.R.?
F.E.A.R. is the first survival horror first-person shooter in the franchise developed by Monolith Productions. The game was published by Sierra Entertainment in 2005 and can be played on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Its sequels are F.E.A.R 2 Project Origin and F.E.A.R 3.
The plot dwells on the supernatural phenomena and the main enemies possess paranormal powers that the F.E.A.R team tries to contain. The game had two expansion packs, which go by the name of F.E.A.R. Extraction Point and F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate. The last game in the series was released in June 2011 and was published by Day 1 Studios.
Key facts about F.E.A.R.
- F.E.A.R was the best rated game in the series, due to its original theme and great presentation.
- At the time of its release, the first-person shooter horror survival game had state-of-the-art graphics.
- The atmosphere in F.E.A.R is what makes the game great and the soundtrack plays an important role.
- The gameplay brilliantly combines melee combat, with range attacks and the use of supernatural powers.
- F.E.A.R has both a single player and multiplayer campaign, but is not a candidate for eSports.
Gameplay of F.E.A.R.
F.E.A.R. gameplay is complex and allows players to use a broad spectrum of combat mechanics. The game is played from first-person perspective and players get a good view of the environment by moving the camera. Melee combat is highly effective only when players manage to surprise opponents. In most cases, it is better to rely on the weapons available and make use of the “reflex time”.
The ability to slow time comes in handy when confronting armored opponents or supernatural creatures. Its purpose is to highlight the superhuman abilities of the main character and produce spectacular visuals. Players need to charge this ability, but they can also use it when the bar is only half full. When in use, this ability makes players feel like playing the hero in an action movie.
Regular combat is every bit as intense and players can use an impressive arsenal. All sorts of guns are available including fictional weapons, such as a particle beam weapon. There is plenty of ammunition lying around and players can also pick up weapons from fallen enemies. Some weapons inflict more damage upon certain opponents, but all of them are deadly if used right. Reflex time can be used when wielding any gun and players also make use of armor to reduce damage.
The maximum number of firearms that players can carry at any time is limited to three. Guns inflict significant damage but melee mechanics produce instant kills. The F.E.A.R. encourages players to use reflex time in close combat, so they can approach powerful enemies and bring them down quickly. Artificial intelligence is surprisingly good and opponents are able to take cover and shoot from behind obstacles. Developers use the Goal Oriented Action Planning system to make opponents dangerous.
Plot of F.E.A.R.
The plot of F.E.A.R. has Point Man at its cornerstone, a soldier who works for an organization called First Encounter Assault Recon. He is charged with killing Paxton Fettel, a man with supernatural powers to seize control of Armacham Technology Corporation. The team starts chasing the elusive enemy and on the road encounters various opponents and confronts paranormal powers.
Point Man has multiple divisions and a little girl in a red dress appears in most of them. As the narrative unfolds, players learn that the name of the girl is Alma and become aware of her unearthly powers. They also find out that Fettel had his special abilities honed, to turn into a powerful telepathic military leader. He is the child of Alma and players also discover that he has a brother whose identity is unknown.
Point Man and his team are trying to prevent Fettel from reconnecting with his mother. In order to do this, they claw their way to the heavily guarded facility where Alma is held. On the road, they need to destroy powerful defensive structures, kill opposing soldiers and deal with the paranormal. In the final stages of the campaign, they find out that Point Man is actually Alma’s other child. He ends up killing his brother, but the mother is released in the process and he has to destroy the facility.
Despite the apparent success, the helicopter used to escape is grabbed by a vision of Alma who destroys it. The plot of F.E.A.R ends with a mysterious conversation between a senator and the ATC President.
Development of F.E.A.R.
Development of F.E.A.R started well before 2004 when the game was unveiled to the audience at the E3 convention. Monolith Productions was in charge with producing the game and the company spent a lot of time to come up with a quality product. A couple of trailers followed in 2005 and all of them were well received, creating hype among players. The single player demo of 2005 confirmed the fact that the game was ready for international release in less than one year.
Players were presented with the chance to preorder the game and got to choose between the basic CD in addition and the DVD version. "Making of F.E.A.R." and "Developers' commentary" documentaries shed more light on the plot and main characters.
Where can I download F.E.A.R.?
F.E.A.R multiplayer has been discontinued, but the single player game can still be downloaded from the Sierra Entertainment website. Fans of the series would be wise to also download F.E.A.R 2 Project Origin and F.E.A.R 3, the two sequels. It is also possible to acquire the expansion packs F.E.A.R. Extraction Point and F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate.
What are others saying about F.E.A.R.?
F.E.A.R. was highly anticipated by fans of horror survival first-person shooters. When the game was released internationally it met the high expectations and was also celebrated by the critics. The innovative “reflex time” mode made the gameplay more exciting and provided new ways to take down opponents. The F.E.A.R. reviews praised the manner in which developers created a horror atmosphere.
There was little criticism regarding the allegedly excessive violence, but most reviewers found the game well balanced. The popularity of the first-person shooter on Microsoft Windows system prompted the developers to come up with console versions. The F.E.A.R. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 ports received positive reviews as well, with an average score of 90/100.
F.E.A.R. game modes and tournaments
F.E.A.R. games differ in single player from the modes available to those who team together in cooperative play. The survival horror first-person shooter has a fully fledged multiplayer, with different game modes. Deathmatch is the most popular one and it also comes in the flavor of team deathmatch, where players compete as a team rather than individuals. They can use the "reflex time" effect which is commonly referred to as SlowMo to perform special moves.
Capture the Flag and Last Man Standing are other popular F.E.A.R. games for multiplayer. Slow-motion mechanics are also available and players need to charge the power up before using it. One year after the official release of the game, the name of the multiplayer was changed to F.E.A.R. Combat. In the wake of sequels being released, the popularity of these modes shrank and they were retired in 2012.
There were some complains among F.E.A.R. Xbox users about cheating, but they were addressed by the PunkBuster program. In 2007 when an expansion was released, the program stopped updating, but was still able to detect cheating. Regardless of the console of choice, players are only able to compete in online multiplayer, with no split screen mode.
F.E.A.R. has a compelling multiplayer mode where players can use all the weapons and special abilities from the campaign. For as long as PunkBuster support was offered, the game was played a lot online but its popularity dropped recently. While it was never a candidate for eSports, there are plenty of first-person shooter alternatives for the fans. Counter Strike Global Offensive, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, Halo 5, Battlefield 4 and Umbrella Corps are all good options.
My rating of F.E.A.R.
I was so impressed by F.E.A.R. that I bought both expansion packs and played both sequels. This game scares you for all the good reasons and keeps you at the edge of your seat throughout the campaign. The multiplayer is good enough and fans of the genre will have plenty of reasons to replay the single player. After all these years I would still play this game, so my F.E.A.R. review will have a score of 9.5/10.