Sunday, November 6, 2011

Don't Be Scared...Again

Game: F.E.A.R. 3

System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Release: June 2011

The F.E.A.R. saga strikes again with more bullet time, more armor segments, and a bit of telepathic debauchery. The third installment adds co-op to the mix, and continues to offer multiplayer modes that I don't care about. The overall story arch, spanning across three games, also comes to a close...or does it?

F3AR, that's F.E.A.R. 3, is the conclusion to Alma' s story. The experiment gone wrong, always getting pregnant, mental case finds herself knocked up again. Who's the father? Good ole Becket from the second game. Surprise! That hallucination at the end of the last title was really a rape scene. I suppose that's what you get for fighting Alma.

Alma's other kids, Point Man and Fettel, find themselves locked up in some prison. They are the two playable characters--more on that later. For some reason Fettel is a "ghost" and needs to work with his brother so they both can reach mommy dearest. Fettel was shot in the head by Point Man in the first F.E.A.R. Having them grudgingly work together is a nice touch for fans of the series. Along the way the brothers will run into Becket, and the final fight is with their estranged father. Ah family.

I'd try to explain the story further, but honestly I find it all a bit confusing. The developers use the term psychic like Michael Bay uses all spark. It's that magical plaster that holds the plot together and covers up any nasty holes. Suffice to say that a lot of crazy shit happens because of the all powerful psychic Alma is giving birth, and the endings vary depending on which brother accumulates the most points throughout the campaign.

The brothers gameplay varies significantly. Point Man is the same old beast from the first game. He uses bullet time to dispatch enemies, and other then that he is a typical FPS protagonist. Fettel gets the crazy mental powers. He can shoot mind bullets from his hand, and posses meat bags i.e. humans. You have to posses someone if you want to use weapons and mech armor. Combining the brothers abilities is a blast. One player can run around possessing enemies while the other uses bullet time to dispatch the rest.

Co-op is a strong focus of the game, but for those who lack friends both brothers can be used individually. The catch is you have to complete the game with Point Man to unlock Fettel. This was quite annoying, and I don't understand why both were not available from the get go.

The encounters are what you would expect from a F.E.A.R. game. You have your spooky segments where chairs move across rooms and the lights flicker. There are the mech armor areas, which are still quite enjoyable. Then there are the waves after waves of foot soldiers, zombies, and the occasional combination of the two. Finally there is the oddball spooky boss battle to wrap things up.

Everything in F3AR was top notch in terms of graphics and gameplay. There was little to no lag, and all the controls felt responsive and smooth. The mech armor segments are still awesome, and the co-op feature is fantastic.  The story was a bit odd and confusing, but I'm sure the few fans of this series appreciated all the tie-ins from previous titles.

If you have a friend, and the two of you were looking for a solid co-op experience, then this is the game for you. Snerts Snazzy Score is On Sale! for fans of the series and for those who enjoy co-op gaming. For the rest of us rent it, play it, and move on.

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