A teenage mum with two kids older than her, one a psychopath, the other out to kill them both, no it’s not a late night special of The Jeremy Kyle Show but the next thrilling chapter of the F.E.A.R series.
Continuing the story from previous games we find Point Man incarcerated and being attacked by his jailors because of his heritage. Little known to them, his brother who he just killed isn’t exactly dead and before you know it, a very brutal jail escape ensues as the brothers bathed in blood try to get back to Fairpoint where it all started, and also try to stop his mother giving birth to another sibling.
In single player you play as Point Man, blasting and ducking your way through an action packed first person shooter. FEAR 3 does not really offer anything new to the long list of FPS games out there but it does everything exceptionally well. A snap-to auto aim assists during heated combat as you run behind and jump over cover, using rechargeable slow motion abilities to your advantage and utilizing the usual assortment of handguns, knives, rifles and grenades. Enemy AI is well designed, with baddies flanking you and blowing up your cover if you hide too long, so hiding in a tool shed against a mech power armour isn’t really the best idea.
With this solid FPS based action you would have thought that would be enough but no, with every level completed you are also able to replay as Point Mans brother, Paxton Fettel, who has a completely different play style altogether. Being a ghost, Paxton has trouble picking items up, so to resolve this he can possess enemies and use their talents to his advantage for a short time. Of course having two playable characters leads nicely to the addition of the co-op mode which is really the best way to play F.E.A.R 3, with two players taking a role of each of the brothers, linking powers available to use to your advantage over each of the levels like Paxton lifting enemies into the air for Point Man to shoot. Even though working together, there is still a little sibling rivalry in the score system, with each type of kill earning points to see who the “favourite son” is.
To keep the gameplay from getting stale F.E.A.R 3 has an in-game achievement system that ranks your characters up as you play, with the more tasks you complete earning you more abilities; like a set amount of head shots and so many kills with a specific gun. The special moves that come with ranking up are really worth the effort as there is nothing better than slide tackling a door open to then clear out an enemy ridden room with an extra-long slow motion and health gauge.
Rather than go for an all-out scare fest F.E.A.R 3 has taken a different approach, atmosphere; which is key here with pitch black rooms, fingers down a chalk board soundtrack, strange visuals and of course the occasional cheap scare really set you on edge. At times you are grateful for the silence to be pierced by the deafening sound of gunfire and com chatter from the enemy; at least you can fight them. With two big hitters like John Carpenter and Steve Niles attached it’s no wonder it works so well and whilst not jump out of your seat scary, it will keep you on edge and your heart pounding all the way through.
Online also manages to keep you on tender hooks with four pulse pounding and refreshingly original modes. Simply put, Contraction is a horde mode, but that really does it no justice. Up to four players need to survive for as long as possible over 20 waves during an increasingly bad situation, with teamwork required to board up windows and occasionally wander outside to collect weapons crates to unlock more weaponry and ammo. The initial few rounds offer little opposition with a few grunts to shoot but once the deep fog rolls in the challenge ramps up, with wave after wave of wall crawlers and suicide bomber cultists gradually pushing you further back into your safe haven, ammo dwindling with every downed invader. It’s not a matter of winning, but how long before you die.
Fu**ing Run! does what it says on the tin, requiring four players to just run though a level, keeping ahead of the Wall of Death approaching from behind and shooting anything that gets in the way. You are able to assist downed team mates but as soon as one of you get enveloped by the Wall it’s game over for all so team work is essential.
Soul Survivor is where four players fight waves of enemies, with one of you randomly selected by Alma to be corrupted, tasked with defeating and ultimately converting all players to Alma’s side and finally we have Soul King in which four players play as Spectre’s who are able to possess and use the skills and weapons of the possessed to kill more AI’s and steal their souls.
Fear 3 is the perfect blend of action and suspense that will please fans of the series and also draw in a lot of new players with its solid and original online presence.
Rating: Excellent Review policy
F.E.A.R 3 is out now on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. You can order your copy from ShopTo, by following the links.