F.E.A.R. 3: Alma is back, and this time she’s bringing her child…
Well, a foetus, really, as it hasn’t yet been born and you’re tasked with preventing its birth, as Alma ended up pregnant at the end of the second game.
The basic premise is that 9 months ago, Point Man – your character in this game – and his F.E.A.R. squad had to sort out a telepathically-gifted cannibal who had gone off on a murder spree. The target was your brother, Paxton Fettel (where do they get these names?), who was working alongside their tortured and psychically powerful mother, Alma Wade.
Now, at this point, I start losing the plot, or failing to understand precisely what’s going on. I can’t be the only one, but I don’t think it really matters.
I do love a good first-person shooter and this is a highly entertaining one, for sure, even if sometimes it does go on a bit. Even if you’re not into the supernatural side of it a great deal, you can get by without worrying about that too much as long as you just realise that a whole heap of crazy shit is going on, and that most of the time you can just get away with shooting, throwing grenades and having a blast. However, along the way as you sneak round corners looking for the next fire fight, strange hallucinations will appear before you, sometimes to end a scene and sometimes as brief flashes in front of you.
Along the way you’ll also be able to perform solo psychic links on corpses, which sounds like it should really lead to something, but in the end it’s just a side issue to give you more points that are racked up and shown to you at the end of the level.
What is incredibly impressive is how it looks and plays out. F.E.A.R. 3 contains the right amount of detail to set the scene, allowing for clever lighting, nice touches like brilliant glass shattering, splinter and gun effects and just look at enemy bodies as they continue to shake after being shot to death, as if the blood is still pumping around for a while. Lovely! In addition, there’s the usual ragdoll physics on view and, generally, F.E.A.R. 3 is more of the same, but that’s a good thing for this game series.
The sound is loud and proud and kicks major ass in Dolby Digital 5.1, and once again, when it comes to gameplay I love the ability to slo-mo the enemies for a brief time. Whereas in the last game there seemed a little bit too much going on in pressing a lot of buttons at once, this time round things seem a bit eased off in that respect, which serves as a handy improvement.
I’m just one for single-player games, but if you’re into multiplayer then there are four modes:
- “Fucking Run” features 4 players running through waves of enemies, all the while running from Alma’s massive “Wall of Death.” The players start off in a safe room and proceed through levels, killing enemies within a certain amount of time. There are several safe rooms throughout the mode, and if a player is downed, one of the co-op players can revive them. If one player is killed the game is over.
- “Contractions” is a survival round-based game mode where you must barricade and stock up weapons against 20 waves of enemies from the F.E.A.R. 3 single player, similar to Call of Duty’s “Nazi Zombies,” although the farther you increase through the waves the tougher it gets by adding a fog effect that creeps closer and closer making the map much more dangerous.
- “Soul Survivor” has four players pitted against each other with one player playing as a “Spectre” in which he or she has to possess enemies to kill the other three players and turn them into Spectres before the time runs out.
- “Soul King” is similar to Soul Survivor but with the exception that all the players play as Spectres and must possess enemies to kill each other and collect dropped souls. Teamwork and cooperation is needed for players to win in the game modes.
In addition to all this, movie director John Carpenter and writer Steve Niles have given their input to the cinematics and the story and note that once you’ve complete a level as Point Man, in the single player mode, you can then replay that level as Paxton Fettel.
Basically, this is F.E.A.R. 3. Did you love the first two? Course you did. Now stop reading this, click on the respective format atop this review and get it bought!
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- Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
- Price: £44.99 (Xbox 360, PS3); £34.99 (PC)
- Players: single player campaign, co-op: 2, multiplayer: 2-4
- HDTV options: 720p/1080i/1080p
- Dolby Digital 5.1 sound: Yes
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.