Friday, February 9, 2007

F.E.A.R. (PC)


F.E.A.R. for the PC was developed by Monolith Productions and published by Vivendi Universal Games in 2006.


Yes, F.E.A.R. came out over a year ago so why should I bother telling you about it? Well, there is one simple answer to this: F.E.A.R. is one of (if not) the best First Person Shooters out there. Newer titles such as Quake 4 and Prey, while being fun, fall short of the suspense, the excitement and the pure goriness of F.E.A.R. Everything from the feel of the weapons to the ambiance of the environment is spot on. Anyway, I'm not really going to give you any background story wise because I don't want to spoil this game for you, but i will cover some of the basic requirements of a good FPS.

  • Like i said, I won't tell you anything about the story, except that you are an operative in an organization in charge of dealing with paranormal activity. The story in F.E.A.R. is above average in terms of FPS games. It is still linear, but in this genre its very hard to get away from this. The plot is interesting, though I found myself ignoring the mission briefings in favor of getting right into the action again. Even without knowing what I was supposed to be doing, however, I still found myself completely immersed in the story. The story itself is very well planned (and freaking scary/weird). While it is no Half-Life 2, it beats the hell out of most other games.
  • Pros: SCARY. I think i pissed myself at least 3 times while playing this game. I had trouble turning this game off. It got to the point where i actually had to tell myself that if i didn't stop it would be over too quickly. There is quite a twist that i won't describe.
  • Cons: It is linear. Now while the pros/cons of linear stories can be debated for hours, I'll just say that its linearity does not detract from the experience. There was also one plot hole (kind of). While nothing major, it left me wondering "What happened with that?"
User Interface/Environment:
  • I figured I'd lump these two together. The interface was basic and intuitive. By this i mean there was the standard HUD with health, ammo, slow-mo meter (which I'll talk about later), and the weapon equipped. There aren't any on screen menus to navigate. Everything you need is assigned to keyboard keys (which i feel is much better than on screen menu navigation). The feel of movement and gun fire is what you would expect from a good FPS. If you've ever played one before you'll pick the scheme and feel up in about 2 minutes. The environment was in an industrial setting. There were no forests or towns just industrial buildings and offices. Unlike DOOM 3, however, it did not become monotonous. Never once was I like "Didn't I play this part three hours ago". I'm not really sure how they achieved it, but the scenery was varied enough that I didn't notice it was the same (if that makes sense). The area layout in F.E.A.R. is superb. You can tear the hell out of people in hallways, open outdoor expanses, and large multi-leveled floors. There is also plenty of things to take cover behind if you find yourself out numbered. Every battle in F.E.A.R was unique, and there were many different ways to get through a group of enemies. This also enabled the A.I. to show itself off. Many times I caught the enemy trying to flank me, by having one or two guys draw my attention as a third and fourth got behind me (and they know the maps well). I lost a good number of health kits because of this.

  • Pros: Easy to use non invasive interface. Learning curve of 5 minutes if you've played a FPS before. The feel of movement and the weighting of the guns was done well. Environments, while being similar, never felt overused and there was plenty of cover to hide behind. Multiple routes through areas combined with stunning A.I. made every battle challenging and different.
  • Cons: None really.
  • The graphics in this game are stunning. Its hard to show in pictures and videos, but believe me... damn. Even a year later with all the improvements in graphics cards, this game still looks amazing. The character models are pretty and the movement is natural. The level of detail that this game is capable of is truly amazing. The decals on walls look good and the blood splatter is killer. It is also possible to blow parts off of enemies. I'm not sure why other games don't incorporate this feature, but i wish they would. Soldier Of Fortune 2 was the last game that I've played where this was possible, and I remember having such a good time with that game. Theres nothing comparable to turning a corner only to find and enemy and then unloading on him with your shotgun and blowing his torso from his legs. The lighting in this game is also amazing. Theres not much you can say that would make the game lighting sound exciting, but believe me, if you play this game you will be impressed. The special effects we nice as well. When you threw a grenade, there was an area of distortion around it when it exploded, which looked cool. Fires looked on par and the rag doll type physics of dead enemies was a nice touch. I could actually sum up this game's graphics with one work: gorgeous. You will be impressed.
  • Pros: Stunning visuals. Top notch textures, amazing effects and lighting. Being able to separate limbs off of enemies is a great addition. I could go on forever about how amazing this game looks. You will not be disappointed by this games graphics.
  • Cons: To get this game to play at maximum detail you need a decent computer. This really isn't a con, because unless you're new to PC gaming, you know what to expect in terms of graphical horsepower from your PC.

Everything Else:
  • First of all, the A.I. in this game is smart. Like i mentioned earlier they know the areas and use them well. Its not uncommon for them to show up behind you and just pwn you. They also take cover well and work as a squad.
  • The sounds in F.E.A.R. are also done well. When you're pumping people with bullets from your automatic you can hear the *squishthunk* of them entering wet bloody meat. The sounds are a key element in game play. If you're hiding around the corner from the enemy you can hear them issuing commands and giving other squad members directions. They will call for reinforcements and alert the others if there is a grenade nearby or if they're throwing one. These cues give you an edge on them and make outmaneuvering them very fun.
  • The variety of weapons in this game is satisfying. You have weapons ranging from the pistol (which can be dual wielded with another pistol) a few assault rifles, a sniper rifle (though not in the strict sense), several types of mines/grenades, and many other weapons that you can use to slaughter the hell out of the opposition. While I'm on the subject of weapons, you are limited to carrying three gun type weapons (you can carry all the grenade types at once). This works well and adds some planning to your arsenal.
  • The slow motion in this game is necessary. This game is not a run and gun shooter. you will need to use tact, especially when you're in an open area with a lot of enemies. In these types of scenarios the slow-mo is especially useful. Whether you want to get to cover while unloading on an enemy or you want to thin them out a bit by taking the extra time you now have to line up head shots (which is how i usually use this). The slow-mo meter doesn't last all that long and needs time to refill. This makes the game more challenging/fair.
  • Pros: Great A.I. and useful sounds make getting the drop on enemies possible and fun. The rang of weaponry is nice and the limit on how many you can carry is appropriate. The sow motion also works well, and does not seem ripped off.
  • Cons: None really. The one assault rifle is kinda of useless, but thats just my personal opinion. My friend actually loves it. Sometimes the computer will yell "He's flanking" when in reality I'm hiding behind a crate (If this sounds like nitpicking its because thats what you have to do to find cons about this game).

  • F.E.A.R. is the best FPS I've ever played (Actually its tied with Half-Life 2). I have no complaint about any part of this game. It is wonderfully polished. There was never a time that I (or the A.I.) saw through a wall or got stuck in one. The game was challenging but not overly difficult. All in all this game is FUN. Not only is it fun, but it's pretty. Sometimes a game can be on or the other (take Doom 3. It was pretty, but it got kind of boring). What makes a game truly great is a combination of both. If you haven't played this game yet, please do yourself a favor and buy it. You will not regret it.
  • Now I'm going to score it. Please remember these scores are based on my personal opinion.
    • Overall: 10
      • One of the best games I've ever played
    • Graphics: 10
      • Even for a 1 year old game it looks fantastic.
    • Sound: 9
      • Great use and variety of sound.
    • Gameplay: 10
      • Good story. The controls feel good, as do movement and the weapons.
    • Replayability: 8
      • I've re loaded this game on my computer several times to play through again. The online play is alright, though not as fun as the single player (to me).
Buy/Rent/Trash: Buy this game right away.

1 comment:

CorranThorn said...

Love the embedded video of you destroying their crap. :)