There is something special about “scary” entertainment. Whether it be a movie, a book, or a video game, there is nothing like that thrill you get from being scared. Sitting on the edge of your seat and wondering what’s around the corner, heart thumping in your ears, and unlike so many other emotions fear will linger with you long after the moment is over.
Video games are still young, and using them to create fear isn’t as easy as it is for Stephen King or George Romero. The tricky part is balancing fear with gameplay, because unlike movies and books, games give a person control, which can be more immersive if used right; or it can totally break the experience. F.3.A.R, which is the third installment of the series, has had time to fine tune its scare tactics, but does it succeed in being both scary and fun to play? Hit the break for our full review.
Alma is terrorizing the world once again and it’s up to her children to stop her from giving birth to a new and potentially very powerful child. This time around, you will be playing as either “Point Man”, the protagonist from the first game, or as Paxton Fettel, his “mostly” dead brother. The two characters play very different from each other and this makes for some very fun co-op. Point Man uses guns and can activate bullet time, slowing down everything around him for easy headshots, while Fettel’s powers are more paranormal. He is able to poses enemy solders, lift people into the air and blast them, provide Point Man with a shield, and make people explode. Yes, it’s very fun to play as Fettel.
Fettel makes his motives clear as the story progresses. He clearly still holds a grudge towards Point Man for killing him. Who wouldn’t. But as brothers, they team up and make there way through a destroyed city towards their mother as she experiences some major labor pains. Fettel provides the voice for the story, giving directions and input on what’s happening while Point Man is mute. Overall, Point Man not talking creates a large imbalance in the dynamic of these two characters. You know what Fettel wants and why he is doing what he does, but not Point Man. We have no insight into his mind, and while that works for some games, it doesn’t work for this one. Point Man doesn’t seem to be all that loyal to his family or to the company that raised and trained him, so why is he on this mission, and who is he working for, if not for himself? With out the previous games fresh in my mind, I couldn’t find the answers to these questions.
I have always had appreciation for games that support both local and online co-op, which F.3.A.R. does. This way you can play with your buddies right next to you or across the world. The online options in F.3.A.R. are a little different than what most are use to in a first person shooter. In most co-op games, both players are given the same basic skill sets, however in F.3.A.R you will be playing as ether Fettel or Point Man, and while there powers compliment each other, they are distinctly different. I’m glad the developers chose to do this, as it keeps things fresh and gives you reason to re-play the game and see what the levels are like as a different character. Multiplayer is also something new, as none of the usual multiplayer modes like deathmatch or team deathmatch are available, replaced by something more like Horde Mode form Gears of War, where you and 3 others must defend against waves of monsters, or some variation of that. Another good decision by the dev team, as this is both fun and works better with the F.E.A.R. universe.
F.3.A.R. took some risks that you don’t usually see these days in the gaming industry, and it paid off. There are some minor problems; the story could be better and it would be nice if there was a larger selection of weapons for Point Man to use, but the overall package results in a far more satisfying game than I originally expected and I am now looking forward to seeing what Day 1 Studios puts out next.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this game was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes.