F.3.A.R/F.E.A.R 3 Review(360, PS3, PC)

Posted: May 19, 2013 in Reviews
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If you’ve played any of the F.E.A.R series, you’ll know what to expect, creepy story, eerie environments, a freaky girl named Alma, and a lot of blood. F.3.A.R or F.E.A.R 3, is no exception, it brings all this to the table and a bit more, it doesn’t have the frightening effect the original had, though just like the second, it is still a great game. Just like the first two, Alma will make many appearances, many involving blood and bodies, you’ll turn around and see her, walk around the corner and catch a quick glimpse of her, or she’ll appear right in front of you, then disappear when you walk towards her. But unlike the first two, there is an additional character to use in the campaign.

You’ll start off using Point Man, he uses the weapons found throughout, he is accurate and deadly with a gun, but he also has the ability to slow down time, and being able to clear a room or group of enemies with head-shots, in slow-motion, is cool for its obvious reasons. After the game concludes, you’ll have the ability to use Point Man’s brother, Paxton Fettel, and he brings a whole new way of playing through the game.

Fettel does not use guns or grenades in his own form, he has the ability to shoot energy blasts, these are highly powerful shots, and he has unlimited of them, if you shoot too many he will take a second to let his hand rest, then start blasting again. He can also suspend enemies in the air, allowing for easy head-shots, and can possess enemies, possessing enemies gives you use of their weapons and grenades, or switch them if you please, then you can make the enemies implode, when you are done with them of course. You can run out of time during possession, to stay in the current body you have to kill enemies, then collect their energy orbs, if you run out of time, the enemy will just implode automatically.

Point Man is also fun to use though, and each character has many challenges to achieve, as well as perks to upgrade. As Point Man you can just tear guys apart with weapons, leaving a room full of blood stains, and slowing down time is a lot of fun, especially after it is fully upgraded, it can change your luck in just a few seconds, and suddenly they are the ones ducking behind cover. Point Man is also very powerful, his melee attack does a lot of damage, he is very accurate with both the weapons and grenades, but other than his ability to slow time, he sticks mainly to weapon and grenade kills.

The story in F.3.A.R is definitely creepy, you’ll see Alma in her child form, but in reality she is a full grown woman about to give birth to another child, and by another, I mean Point Man and Fettel’s sibling. You’ll need to get to the child before Armacham Security gets their hands on it, so that Fettel can raise the child as his own. Alma’s contractions start getting stronger, making it crucial to get to her as fast as possible, but these are no ordinary contractions, these destroy parts of the world, with a loud screams and mushroom clouds. Adding to the creepy story, the environments match the story, shadows, rattling pipes, ghosts and many other creepy noises accompany you throughout.

The action is the biggest part of the game, there are large, bloody battles, tons of bullets fired, lots of grenades exploding, and it all looks really good. The action and game in general is a lot easier if you are using Fettel, with the ability to possess enemies, even if you are killed while possessing an enemy, you won’t die, rather you’ll just go back into Fettel’s own form, full of health. Making it easier, when you are suspending enemies with Fettel’s powers, the enemy can not shoot, allowing you to hold them up, and unload with head-shots, you can also pick up and throw grenades with his psychic powers, but even using Fettel, the action can get intense, and you’ll still need to duck behind cover.

Psychic Links

Both characters have their own perks and challenges, completing challenges and missions will earn experience, through that you’ll level up, and have your perks increase until they are maxed out. The perks range from upgrading your health, health regeneration speed, stamina, adding bullets, grenades, and either possession time, or your ability to slow time for even longer, depending on the character. There are also collectibles that add experience, Alma Dolls and Psychic Links, are scattered throughout, the Psychic Links are more common to find, they are dead people with the link inside of them, the links do not do anything, just add to the character experience, and there is only one Alma doll for each of the eight chapters. Each Alma doll has generally 3 locations it could be found, so searching the level is important if you are looking for them, and it makes finding them a little bit more challenging.

Alma Doll

The co-op in F3AR is where the extra replay value comes in, co-op is done either in split-screen, or online, and both are very fun. You play through the story with a friend, both players will get their choice of using Point Man or Paxton Fettel, and being able to use them both, adds a lot of entertainment. One player can suspend the enemies, while the other picks them off, or you can possess the enemies and shoot them from the back and front, or go in guns and blaster blazing, among many other options. There are challenges to complete by working together for kills, and finding the collectibles, making duel kills and planning, valuable as you play. The Psychic Links in co-op can either be shared, with the finder getting the majority of the experience, or stolen, giving all the experience to the finder, it’s good if one side has a maxed out their character level.

The online game-play is decent, there are 4 different game modes, and each game mode has 12 scenarios/maps to play through. There is also a Solo Practice mode, letting you get used to each mode, learn the rules, and figure out strategies for when you actually play the online portion. The maps are generally a decent size, and the game modes are actually pretty fun. F**king Run! will require you to fight your way through waves of enemies, Contractions is very similar, except in this mode you can barricade areas and stock up on weapons. In Soul Survivor, Alma makes one of the players a spectre, the spectre’s goal is to kill and possess the other three players before time runs out, and Soul King is similar to Soul Survivor, but all of the players are Spectres, to win the players must possess, and collect the opponents dropped souls.

With all that is great in FEAR 3, there is still quite a few problems throughout, mainly with the length of the campaign. There are only 8 chapters, each chapter will take around an hour or so to complete, so the game is not very long, it’s a good thing there is the ability to use Paxton Fettel as well. Not only is it fairly short, the game-play is also pretty linear, there are a few moments where you’ll have to find your way through a maze of obstructions, but it generally keeps pushing you forward. There are character levels, but there are only 21 levels in total, and they can be earned in one play-through pretty quickly, depending on the collectibles you find, and challenges you complete.

The main issues pop up in combat, open metal floor gratings, and chain link fences stop bullets, strangely enough, and if you are behind cover while trying to use Fettel’s psychic powers to throw a grenade, often it can blow up on the cover in front of you, or on a wall behind you. There is another issue with Fettel’s powers, even if enemies do not see you possess the other enemy, they still seem to know it’s not actually them, and will start shooting immediately. There are also problems with finding the Alma Dolls, there is no way to know if you’ve collected the doll for each chapter, so you’ll have to either try to find them all again, remember which ones you have collected, or just mark them down, which solves the problem pretty easily. Then there is the fact that doors close and lock behind, this can make them a bit more challenging to find, if you don’t remember or know where this is going to happen, exploring will be cut short if you walk through the wrong door.

In conclusion, F3AR is a great shooter, the co-op is very entertaining, and the story is creepy and well done. The replay value is in using both characters, completing challenges, finding collectibles, playing in co-op, or playing online, and all of the game modes are pretty fun. You can complete challenges multiple times, so if leveling up will constantly continue, the graphics are great, despite some buildings looking like they are wall papered, rather than looking like their made of bricks, and there are a few annoying glitches throughout. FEAR 3 is great, it feels like it’s missing some components, but all around, it’s a solid shooter.

Overall Score: 8/10

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