Developer: Day 1 Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
North American Release Date: June 21, 2011
European Release Date: June 24, 2011
Trophies: 1 || 2 || 10 || 38
F.3.A.R. is the fifth and latest installment in the somewhat popular F.E.A.R. franchise, which entered the survival horror FPS fray with the original First Encounter Assault Recon. While there has been some controversy and disappointment in the past, overall the series has received positive feedback. With this latest title being the reported last of the series, we're going to find out if Day 1 can pick up where Monolith left off and finish the series with a bang.
There are two characters available to play as in F.3.A.R.: the Point Man, nameless protagonist of the original game, and Paxton Fettel, the brother the Point Man killed in the original game who resurrected in an add-on for F.E.A.R. 2. Player 1 typically plays as Point Man, although this can change on additional playthroughs. Initially, you will play as Point Man only and Fettel will be available to a second player in co-op; however, this will change as you progress through the game.
Paxton Fettel idly reflected on why the headaches ceased when everyone else was dead.
F.3.A.R. plays completely differently depending on which brother you play as. Point Man is a slightly enhanced infantry grunt, able to wield all weapons and gifted with extraordinary reflexes which manifest as slow-mo capabilities. Fettel, on the other hand, has access to a wide array of psychic powers including levitation and possession of enemies. This gives the game a twist similar to BioShock, although they are by no means the same.
Gameplay is tight and incredibly fun, with no real imbalances or control issues. The ideas implemented are fun, and executed flawlessly.
Even if you're playing by yourself, F.3.A.R. is clearly a co-op game. Both brothers are in-game at all times, with the other being controlled by the AI if you're not doing singleplayer.
This is hardly a bad thing. Through the entire game, you will be competing against the AI or your friend for the highest score, completing objectives and challenges in a points-based meta-game which ultimately determines the game's ending. This system rewards both cooperation and selfishness, and takes what would otherwise be a decent campaign and elevates it into the realm of insanely fun.
At all points during the campaign, both brothers are present and can work together cooperatively. Or competitively.
However, it's with regret that I must note that F.3.A.R.'s dedication to fun co-op and replayability allows it to suffer the same issue as Resident Evil 5: while there are a few thrilling moments, this is not a scary game. To be sure, there's a fair amount of gore and creepy scenery, but no real genuine thrills. Adrenaline junkies may be slightly disappointed.
That being said, there are very few games nowadays that have campaign modes I continue to play even after getting all the trophies and achievements. I can honestly say that F.3.A.R. ranks among such titles as Mass Effect 2, Dead Space 2, and BioShock in terms of replayability. While obviously best with a live partner, it's still that much fun to play by yourself. Although the price might be an issue, this is a game with a campaign that stands on its own.
Unfortunately, the multiplayer in F.3.A.R. isn't quite as good as the campaign. While far from awful, it does little to enhance the experience. With the now mandatory Horde/Nazi Zombie clone and a few other gametypes, there's not much variety to be had, and there is no customization present at all. In the current world of FPS games, that's almost unforgivable, with no equivalent attachment, appearance or perk system like those found in Call of Duty, Resistance, and others.
First person to the Mech in Contractions is generally last one to die.
That being said, it's still decently fun to joke around in with a buddy either online or in splitscreen. The modes, while not particularly inspired, are nonetheless amusing the first couple times around. As mentioned above, though, this game doesn't even match the longevity of F.E.A.R. 2's multiplayer which was and is notorious for incredibly long and boring boosting sessions. This is not a game to buy for multiplayer.
F.3.A.R.'s graphics, while not setting any new standards, are nonetheless excellent and extremely realistic looking. Almost every texture is great to look at, and with my multiple playthroughs I didn't notice any issue in texture loading or glitching. Visually, this game is a treat.
The game continues to shine in the audio department. The scoring is great, with appropriate atmosphere and pacing. The sound effects are also excellent, with great fidelity and low repetition. With the rare exception of being stuck on Insane difficulty, you won't ever feel as though you're hearing the same sounds over and over. The effects are excellent, and well-varied.
The trophy list in this game is excellent and well-rounded. There are trophies for completing all the challenges in the meta-game, gathering collectibles, and some progression and difficulty-based trophies. Best of all, F.3.A.R., like other more recent titles, does the decent thing and strays away from long, epic multiplayer grinds. While there are some multiplayer trophies, they are few and are focused toward certain feats rather than attaining massive kill counts. Additionally, they can all be done offline and/or in a splitscreen match.
The only trophies that will take a fair amount of time are the rank-based ones, but thankfully they don't require online as you earn points toward your rank even while playing campaign, and there are multiple ways to effectively boost your rank if you're done with all the other trophies.
All in all, a well-balanced and fun list.
F.3.A.R. offers almost all of the qualities that made its predecessors great and then adds in a few things to make it even better. While the multiplayer still stinks, the campaign is a blast by yourself or with friends, and there's enough replayability there to justify a purchase. An absolute must-buy for fans of the series, and definitely something to consider for everyone else.
Ridiculously fun gameplay with awesome co-op, good weapon balance, meta-scoring and many other exciting features. A fun romp throughout.
Not the best story, but the addition of alternate endings based on who played better, and the sheer fun of the game make this a high point.
Not terrible, but not really that great. While F.3.A.R. offers a few unique twists, most of the multiplayer is the same old stuff we see in almost every FPS nowadays, with some things actually lacking.
Great graphics and wonderful audio. Nothing outstanding or ground-breaking, but better than your run-of-the-mill title.
Overall: 8/10 Great
Not the best game available on the market, but again, far from the worst. Horror fans and F.E.A.R. fans will want to purchase this; everyone else should try it out.