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F.E.A.R.
(hx) 08:22 PM EST - Nov,09 2005

Developed by Monolith, F.E.A.R. is first person shooter that combines intense combat, creepy environments, and some seriously hardcore A.I. which means you'll find yourself on the edge of your seat from beginning to end, whenever you're not jumping out of it that is.

In F.E.A.R., you play a newly recruited member of the military's elite First Encounter Assault Recon squad, a band of highly-trained commandos, specially trained and augmented to deal with supernatural threats. What you know at the start of the game is that you're hunting a guy named Paxton Fettel, who you saw in the opening sequence. Fettel is best described as a "psychic commander," capable of controlling an army of cloned soldiers. His motives and intentions are unclear. All you know is a bit of what he's capable of. The opening cinematics show this in all its gory, bloody glory....It is up to you to find out Fettel's plan and to eliminate the threat posed by him and his army.

There's no doubt that the story and atmosphere of F.E.A.R. are two of the best points of the game. However, the action is what its all about. The firefights, the bad guys, the weapons, etc. Here F.E.A.R. goes back to basics and makes you damn near omnipotent while pitting you against a copious number of enemies. You will find yourself to be constantly on edge, not just because the story is scary and messes with your mind, but because artificial intelligence is so sophisticated that there really is something to be scared about! The developers have given each soldier a brain and just let them get on with it. They will work together, with some providing suppressing fire while others advance their position. They take evasive action better than any A.I. I've ever seen, using pillars and other objects to find cover, even pulling a sofa away from a wall to hide behind! One guy pushes you from your cover with a grenade, another keeps you pinned down, one advances on your front, and another is coming around trying to flank you. They will retreat when they feel overwhelmed, run away from grenades and call in reinforcements. The enemies are so sophisticated that whenever you reload a level, the game never plays out exactly the same way it does the first time.

The enemy AI isn't going to be outwitted by simply running and gunning, but throw some Matrix-style slow motion, melee combat and the odd grenade into the mix. Even though this feature has been done to death many times in video games, it somehow seems fresh again. Maybe it's the way it recharges quickly enough to be on tap for nearly every fight. Maybe it's the gorgeous bullet-trail effects. There is nothing more fun than taking out a legion of soldiers with the frankly surgical power of a slow-motion shotgun. Besides, the time you can spend in slow motion increases as you progress through the game.

Your arsenal includes many trademarks of the FPS genre: Rakow HP-14 Pistol .40cal, Vollmer VK-12 Combat Shotgun 12g, Sumak RPL Sub-Machinegun 9mm, Rakow G2A2 Assault Rifle 5.56mm, Baksha ASP Rifle 7.62mm (Semi Auto Rifle), Armacham 10mm HV Penetrator (Nail Gun), Armacham Type-7 Particle Weapon (Plasma Gun), Obregon MP-50 Repeating Cannon 20mm (Battle Cannon), Andra MOD-3 MP Multi-Rocket Launcher. Grenades have 3 types - the normal throw-and-forget type, proximity grenade and the remote controlled (N6A3 Fragmentation Grenade, AT-S Proximity Mine and M77 Remote Bomb). Each weapon has different accuracy, rate of fire, damage, armor penetration, movement penalties(weight), effective range, magazine capacity, etc. For instance, the submachine gun has a high rate of fire, decent accuracy, and moderate damage, whereas the assault rifle has better range and superior stopping power. You are limited to three weapons at a time, so you have to decide which weapons you are going to keep and throw away to keep the new one you just found. The weapons you'll have access to here are immensely powerful and extremely satisfying to fire, and if your aim's true, you can score a lot of one-hit kills even with the starting pistol. In SlowMo mode, nothing is more satisfying than the Armacham 10mm HV Penetrator. You can the projectiles as they fly into the two clones, pinning them to the wall. You can hear a retreating scamper as a final enemy backs off hastily and his radio: "Shit. He wiped out the whole squad!". If you happen to run out of bullets, or prefer a stealthier approach, F.E.A.R. comes with a small selection of melee attacks. Melee Attack is an extremely powerful but risky because it requires a proximity to your enemies that you generally want to avoid.

Everything you would expect from a multiplayer is there: Deathmatch, Team Deatchmatch, Capture the Flag and Elimination (Last Man Standing). The other options are slow-motion versions of these same modes. There are eight maps, divided into four pairs according to the number of players they are designed for. Multiplayer isn't the best out there but they sure get the job done on making it worth playing a decent bit.

The SDK will be made available to the Mapping and Mod community, so you can definitely expect new multiplayer maps, single-player levels, and even some total conversions soon.

Overall, F.E.A.R. is one of best shooters I have played in several years. If you like horror and shooting, I highly recommend F.E.A.R. You will not be disappointed!

related links: homepage, patch v1.02, SecuROM hotfix, SP demo, MP demo, cheats, FEAR Tweak Guide, buy F.E.A.R. CDROM

System requirements:
Minimum: Pentium 4 1.7 GHz or equivalent processor, 512MB RAM or more, 64MB GeForce 4 Ti or Radeon 9000 video card, 16-bit DirectX 9.0 compliant sound card with support for EAX 2.0, DVD-ROM drive, +5.0 GB free hard drive space for installation and savegames, Broadband or LAN connection for multiplayer games

Recommended: Pentium 4 3.0 GHz or equivalent processor, 1 GB RAM, 256 MB Radeon 9800 Pro, GeForce 6600 or equivalent DirectX 9 compliant video card with hardware T&L and pixel shader 2.0 support, Sound Blaster X-Fi series sound card


snd: 5/5 - top notch, convincing audio design, cool music, triggering slow-motion mode causes the game's audio to Doppler down (pretty believable effect)
gfx: 5/5 - spectacular graphics, awesome firefights, claustrophobic corridors and maze-like level design, impressive ragdoll physics
playability: 5/5 - very enjoyable&addictive, creepy atmosphere, interesting story, incredible AI, wild and fast-paced multiplayer, hardware requirements may be steep for some
genre: sci-fi first-person shooter
release: October 2005
developer: Monolith
the game is similar to: first-person shooter
publisher: VU Games/Sierra
Excellent
Overall: 95%


last 10 comments:

lmer(05:47 AM EST - Nov,10 2005 )
I'll try and keep it short :). Good game overall. Nothing new really. You come across a point in the game when you feel that the dark corridors are replaced by office buildings in this game, but just as you get sick of it, you advance to the next area. Weapons were really fun, i just hoped there would be more. I had lotsa fun with the AI, which was really a good job. The game had that ancient Half-Life feeling of constant advancing through some wild adventure :), which is good.

A note about the ending which, above all, shows how the game lacks the free-roam feeling. When in the very last scene, that "big thing" starts comming at you, i just wished they didn't put the fence right behind your back, but make that street longer, so that you can run away from the inevitable. That would really pump the adrenaline, IMHO.

GG

Anonymous(06:27 AM EST - Nov,10 2005 )
DELETED

xxxx(09:07 AM EST - Nov,10 2005 )
copied HL2? wtf? jeezuz. I swear you smoke something. What an assinine thing to say Bill. Copied HL2, man, I will I could punch you through my monitor sometimes. Copied from hl2.. man...

FEAR is ok, mp is rather drab but the single player is exciting and good story. Right now nothing can tear me away from owning on COD2, that's right, even FEAR. I think FEAR is a little over rated personally but it's a nice looking game with a decent story. I'll give it that. If I had to say anything negative about FEAR it's the MP and Weapons. They are just too powerful. It's a corpse carnival and you don't really need big skill to aim.

Funny, up and until 2 months ago I thought I would be devoted to FEAR and Bet on Soldier and here I am every single night constantly playing COD 2. What I think the best part of COD 2 is, is the code is so good that I can crank the graphics to near top notch and play online with next to zero video lag. Kudo's to 'decent' developers.

Nosferatu(12:04 PM EST - Nov,10 2005 )
Great game! I'd say best for the past year! Yeah, the repetitiveness is there, but I remember Halo1 copy/paste levels and realise that I didn't give a shit about it then and I don't now. It just doesn't annoy me, I don't notice it while playing, because the game mechanics are outstanding. Most addictive. I find it more interesting than COD2. Well, still tastes differ... maybe it's only my opinion.
FEAR somewhat reminds me of HL1, and if you'll change the story in FEAR I'd say it was more of a sequel to HL1 than HL2 was in terms of... I just can't describe it properly :) But the feeling is pretty distinct.
And hell the ending's impressive, the blow and the follow-up both! Still I agree with Imer on lack of freedom.

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