F.E.A.R 3 Picks up some months after the end of FEAR 2. The game begins with you in control of the first game’s central character ‘Pointman’, as he breaks out of a prison under the control of soldiers working for Pharmacam. Helping Pointman is Pointman’s brother Paxton Fettel, a ‘Psychic ghost’ of sorts who has the ability to possess the living who follows Pointman throughout the game, serving as a second controllable character for the campaign’s co-op mode. Outside of co-op though, you only see Fettel during cutscenes, or you can unlock him to use in single player after finishing each level as Pointman.
The two of them escape and decide to go and find their Alma, a super powerful psychic psychotic little girl/haggard naked woman from the first two games who continues to randomly pop up throughout levels.Alma is now heavily pregnant after raping the main character in the second game and to top that off the world is seemingly tearing itself apart in the build up to the birth of her child.The game does play much like FEAR 2 for the most part, but there have been a number of tweaks to the game at the same time that kind of dilute the gameplay.
One major change of is that the game has adopted a number of elements from Killzone 2 and 3, most notably the ability to ‘attach’ to surfaces to use them as cover in a manner most commonly seen in third person shooters. The gameplay also feels considerably more ‘weighted’, with much toning down feeling like it has been done with regard to the superhuman reflexes of Pointman. You can still slow down time, so it isn’t a complete overhaul. Levels also feel much more linear and narrow and the scale in their design feels a lot smaller..
The gameplay mechanics are definitely still very solid and the whole thing is incredibly polished, with some surprisingly sharp AI on enemies and an extremely satisfying new ‘challenges’ feature that keeps a constantly running tally of how you are doing with regard to a large series of set challenges that are constantly active and function on a level by level basis. These consist of both fairly basic challenges like ‘Kill 30 soldiers with the shotgun’ and more challenging reflex testing affairs like ‘get three headshots in a row during a single use of reflexes’. There are a lot of them and completion of each one earns points towards your ‘ranking’, which is kind of a levelling up system that runs through all the game modes and determines which gameplay perks and enhancements you have access to (eg. extra ammo/grenade carry capacity, longer reflex meter, etc).
It’s a system that really provides great incentives for replaying levels and for going out of your way to maximise your performance.The game is also a lot more fun in co-op mode , with the story seemingly designed with the idea you’ll be playing it in co-op, being at the forefront of the developers’ minds as this is very much a two man tale and the whole thing does play very differently depending on which character you play as, given Fettel’s very different ability set compared to Pointman, with Fettel only having psychic blasts to use as weapons as he can’t carry guns, but he can temporarily possess any standard enemy when his reflex meter is full in order to use any weapons around.It’s a fun mechanic and is a welcome departure from co-op shooters where what character you play as is completely incidental. The competitive multiplayer I only tried very briefly, but from what I could tell it wasn’t a whole lot different from FEAR 2, despite some… ‘interesting’ new modes in addition to the new cover system… which nobody seemed to be bothering to use.
Graphically the feels a bit out dated, however saying that it runs great and has some really impressive physics and lighting effects. The soundtrack is good, with suitably moody music in addition to a couple of 80s synth sounding numbers which I assume are some sort of homage to John Carpenter. The voice acting though is pretty weak. I mean, bad enough Pointman doesn’t talk ever, but when next to that the most prominent voice you hear is Fettel’s constant drawl it gets kind of annoying. The campaign is extremely short, but at the same time is designed to encourage replays and has a genuinely fun co-op mode. However the gameplay and game structure changes are likely to polarise many who enjoyed the last game… plus the story is just laughable.Even with the concerns though, there’s no denying this is still a well put together, satisfying to play shooter that has some really great ideas and I would gladly recommend it to anyone who likes such games. Just be aware that it may not last you too long… especially if you’re only going to be playing by yourself.