F.E.A.R. Lives Up to Its Hype

Among the glut of subpar, so-so, and typically trite shooters currently flooding the market, Monolith's F.E.A.R. stands out as a terrifying and wonderful reminder of how creative a first-person game can be. Both a technical and narrative masterpiece, F.E.A.R. combines elements of science-fiction and horror with a beautiful aesthetic presentation and an incredible enemy A.I. The resulting game will likely convert even the most die-hard console gamer into a temporary PC FPS fan.

Believe the Hype

While even the best big-name games often fail to live up to the expectations placed on them, F.E.A.R. fully supports its own heavy hype. Graphically, F.E.A.R. is a sight to behold, packed with jaw-dropping lighting and particle effects, and outstanding character animation that exploits the game's killer physics engine. All of this graphical wizardry does come at a price, though: To fully appreciate the game, you need some serious PC hardware. If you can run F.E.A.R. at its higher settings without melting your motherboard, you'll be in for one of the most satisfying audio/visual experiences imaginable.

Slow-Motion Slaughter

As the multifaceted game play proves, however, F.E.A.R. is much more than dazzling special effects. Assuming the role of a new recruit in the elite F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) unit, you have a plethora of powerful weapons and skills at your disposal. In addition to using your impressive arsenal, you can swim, climb, dive over obstacles, lean out from behind cover, slow down time with superhuman reactions (à la Max Payne), and perform a variety of kick-ass kung fu melee moves, all backed by a highly intuitive and responsive control scheme. All of these abilities become essential as you face off against an army of supersoldiers who fight and react with bloodthirsty zeal and frightening efficiency. In fact, F.E.A.R.'s surprisingly intelligent foes put other dim-witted, duck-and-cover FPS enemies to shame, and help maintain a sense of excitement throughout the game.

The outstanding story mode is also matched by an entertaining and fast-paced multiplayer mode that adds a few twists on old genre standards by incorporating cool skills like in "Slow-Mo Deathmatch" and features a solid set of map varieties and distinct game types. Simply put, F.E.A.R. is the game Doom 3 was supposed to be--only smarter, scarier, and better looking. If you can stand a few good and gory scares (and assuming your PC is up to the challenge), you owe it to yourself to experience F.E.A.R. You'll likely be frightened--but you won't be disappointed.

F.E.A.R.


Graphics 5.0
Sound: 5.0
Control 4.5
ESRB Rating: Mature
View screenshots.

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