F.E.A.R. (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, September 19, 2005

Monolith is no stranger when it comes to first person shooters. After all, they have Alien Versus Predator 2 and Tron 2.0 under their belt. But now they’re taking on a FPS with horror elements called F.E.A.R., and it looks to be one of their best games ever.

One of the first thing you notice is that the game looks amazing. Everything moves fluidly and the excellently done lighting creates a very spooky ambiance (hanging lights create accurate shadows, and some areas will only be lit by the glow of your flashlight). Admittedly many of us may have been spoiled by Half Life 2, and F.E.A.R. doesn’t have quite as much interaction as that game does. But these are some of the best explosions and bullet time effects yet seen in a PC game, so that is a definite plus.

Background music is somewhat subdued and used to create that fearful mood you would expect. All of the weapons sound accurate, and the chatter of your enemies is done real well. It can be used to locate an enemy even if you can’t always see them (intense firefights can create clouds of dust and debris that cloud your field of vision).

Vivendi puts the story like this: “An unidentified paramilitary force infiltrates a multi-billion dollar aerospace compound, taking hostages but issuing no demands. A Special Forces team is sent in by the government to contain the situation, but contact is severed as an eerie signal interrupts radio communications. When the interference subsides moments later, the team has been obliterated. Live footage of the massacre shows an inexplicable wave of destruction tearing the soldiers apart before they can even react.” While the demo is fairly short and doesn’t reveal all that much on this, it does show clips of creepy things happening to people, and also a scary little girl who will pop up every once in awhile and freak the player out. The story is certainly intriguing, and I can’t wait to see more of it unveiled.

The gameplay will have you by the seat of your pants at every turn. Enemy AI in F.E.A.R. is no joke; they’ll actively take cover, try to smoke you out with a grenade, and even crawl under a toppled over shelf to get to you. You’re actually going to have to use some strategy when taking them on, and it’s great. Because of this new players may die a few times before they get their bearings. Assisting you along the way is a slow motion power, which can be activated by pressing Control. This effect not only looks great but will have to be utilized to stay alive as you progress farther in the game. The demo, while short, demonstrates the great enemy AI and intense action.

Now that we’ve gotten a chance to play the demo, it is clear that F.E.A.R. is going to be one of the FPS’ to keep an eye on this fall. The demo was great and will likely leave players wanting more, but they will have to wait. The full game will be out on October 18th, and PC shooter fans should add this to their to buy list.

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