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F.E.A.R. 3, few scares but lots of fun

July 20, 2011

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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F.E.A.R. 3There isn't much to fear in F.E.A.R 3.

Once recognized as a leading "survival horror" series, the F.E.A.R. franchise has shifted towards your more traditional fire-person shooter experience with each subsequent instalment.

Furthering the tragic saga of Point Man - a member of the U.S. Army's First Encounter Assault Recon Special Forces detachment - F.E.A.R 3 introduces us to his psychic mother (Alma) and telepathic, cannibalistic brother, both victims of Armacham Technology Corporation's paranormal experiments.

The gruesome twosome initiate a murderous rampage against the inhabitants of a small city. Ordered to stop the mayhem and destruction, Point Man and his team are forced to detonate a deadly and destructive explosive. The blast barbecues the city, mom and bro but you know Point Man's luck by now. Nothing can ever be that easy. It is no surprise that not only does Point Man's mom survive the blast and now poses a bigger threat than ever before but so did his brother, Paxton Fettel.

F.E.A.R. 3 Being held for questioning at an Armacham Tech, Point Man is freed by Paxton and the unlikely duo join forces to confront their troubled past and their mother's undying spirit.

The neat thing about F.E.A.R. 3's campaign story is if you are playing as a single player, the finale might be different than if you have a co-op player in the role of Paxton. The change is not enough to justify going through the entire game a second time but it does offer a nice reward for doing so.

Those who are in search of creepy escapades resembling 'Resident Evil' will be disappointed as F.E.A.R. 3 has more in common with 'Call of Duty'. Way more men than monsters are placed in your gun sights. Varying Armacham Tech security forces make up about 90 percent of your enemies. About the only creatures you will bump into are some zany cultists, feline apparitions called 'Creepers' during one segment of one level and a ghostly boss named 'The Creep', whom you battle when you travel back to an Armacham Tech lab. The lab turns out to be the place where you grew up and were experimented upon.

F.E.A.R. 3 Poor Point Man. Poor, poor Point Man.

The clashes themselves are some of the hardest first-person shooter skirmishes you will ever find. You almost never have the advantage over your foes. Whether it is fighting through the streets, through a building or a jungle, the Armacham Tech security forces will have you constantly pinned down. It can be very frustrating and I am not afraid to admit that here and there, I cranked the experience level down just a notch just to make it through some of the most difficult parts. What helps you a bit is the ability to slow down time and possess your enemies. What the developers fail to understand though is there is a fine line between being challenging and being a total pain the posterior. Next time guy, give us a fighting chance.

F.E.A.R. 3 F.E.A.R. 3's distinctive multiplayer offering balances out the gruelling single player campaign. 'Soul King' is all about who can possess and utilize enemies the best. 'F---ing Run' has you and other players outpacing a noxious cloud and enemies as you sprint to a checkpoint. 'Soul Survivor' has one player trying to turn the others into ghost before the time limit ticks down. Contractions put everyone in the role of a F.E.A.R. squad taking on Alma's minions collecting weapons and build barricades. All four multiplayer modes are so well developed that they really enhance the entire F.E.A.R. 3 package.

Looking or expecting only some good scares? F.E.A.R. 3 will let you down. If, however, you look beyond that expectation, toss aside the 'survival horror' label and appreciate that the series has turned a corner, you will have some gratifying first-person fun.

 

F.E.A.R. 3 F.E.A.R. 3
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: Warner Brothers Interactive
Developer: Day 1 Studios
ESRB Rating: M for Mature 17+
Official Site: http://www.whatisfear.com/
Rating: 7.5 / 10

 
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G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.