The horror video game genre has had several successful franchises over the years such as, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Dead Space, Stalker and Condemned. Another horror video game that offered players scares and unsettling environments was Fear which was released back in 2005. Four years later it was followed by Fear 2 which continued the trend with its creepy gameplay. Both titles were developed by Monolith Productions. Two years later and we get the third installment in the series Fear 3 which is the first game in the series to not be developed by Monolith. Instead, it was developed by Day 1 Studios who also worked on the original Fear. Does the latest release offer players a truly creepy gaming experience or is it simply an attempt to deliver cheap scares? Read the review to find out.
The game starts off following the events of Fear 2 in which the creepy girl Alma gets pregnant with the main character Becket. Of course, that spells bad news for humans. Players take control of Point Man who is one of the characters from the original Fear. He is a super solider and was created by Armacham along with the game’s main antogonist Alma who is pure evil and is hell-bent on destroying humanity. Point Man must stop Alma and put an end to her evil destruction once and for all. For the first time in the series the game features a second playable character in Paxton Fettel Point Man’s brother whom he shot in the head in the original Fear. You can play as Paxton Fettel as long as every mission is completed by playing as Point Man. The game’s single player campaign lasts around 6-8 hours. Playing a second time as Paxton Fettel offers some added replay value. The game has a pretty good checkpoint system that works really well because your progress gets saved often. You don’t have to worry about replaying a huge part of a level over and over again. There are 8 stages that are called Intervals that can be played solo or via co-op either online or locally. It makes completing levels much easier when playing via co-op. A player can control Paxton Fettel by hoisting an enemy in the air while Point Man empties him with bullets. It mixes things up and makes the single player campaign even more fun. The game is pretty linear so there is no room for exploration. There are also collectible Alma dolls. You also get points that enable you to level up as a result of completing certain objectives such as, killing 100 enemies with a jump kick or slide kick, killing 10 enemies in a row with Sniper Rifle headshots, as Point Man, kill 100 enemies suspended by Fettel, etc. It’s a pretty rewarding system similar to that found in Bulletstorm. Fear 3 is more action oriented when compared to the first two games but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deliver a creepy and scary experience. The creepiness and scares are still there but they are mixed with a more action-oriented game the third time around.
The game feature’s a pretty good variety of weapons such as, a Pistol, Sub-Machine Gun, Auto Shotgun, Sniper Rifle, Rocket Launcher, Dual Uzis, Assault Rifle, Beam Laser, Penetrator, Frag Grenades, Flash Grenades and Shock Grenades. I had the chance to try out most of the weapons but I definitely had my favorites. I really liked the dual Uzis because they can tear through most enemies. The Shotgun was a powerful and effective weapon. The Sub-Machine Gun and Rocket Launcher allowed me to cause utter destruction and mayhem. I only used grenades a few times because it was tough trying to throw them with any kind of accuracy. I fail to hit the intended target most of the time. There are a few instances where you can control a huge mech type machine and it is really fun causing mayhem and carnage.
Point Man and Paxton Fettel offer a different gaming experience. Point Man has access to firearms and grenades. He also has a slow-motion attack which makes it easier to take down especially fast enemies. Paxton Fettel doesn’t have access to firearms but he can damage enemies using blasts of psychic energy. He can also possess enemies thus allowing him to use whatever weapons that they were carrying. Unfortunately, the gameplay mechanic doesn’t last for a long time. Enemy A.I. was pretty good for the most part. There were a few occasions when an enemy won’t react to my presence but those moments were far and in between and didn’t hinder the gameplay experience at all. The story was co-written by horror writer Steve Niles and it works pretty well. Performance-wise the game ran very smooth even during big firefights. I never experienced any slowdown or lag.
As far as graphics are concerned the game looks really good. It is a huge improvement over the previous two games in the series. There are some weird textures here and there but for the most part the game looks good. Environments are detailed and creepy. Two of the most memorable stages in the game took place in an urban neighborhood and in a Sam’s Club/Costco type of wholesale warehouse. As I was making my way throughout the abandoned houses there was blood and candles scattered throughout. It offered some creepy moments especially when playing with the lights turned off. The wholesale warehouse also featured blood splatter and candles. One area had me enter a meat section where pieces of meat where hanging all around. Another section of the game had me enter an area where there were TV’s that were blinking on and off and then I was attacked by a large wave of enemies. The game knows how to create creepy environments. Character models look really detailed along with the enemies themselves. The cut scenes looked pretty impressive and were crafted by John Carpenter. The game ran very smooth the whole time I was playing. Fear 3 also supports Direct X 11. Lighting and shadows are impressive. Firearms also leave a trail of smoke after usage which is a nice touch. Blood splatter looks eerie yet impressive. The game uses the “Despair” engine whereas Fear and Fear 2 Project Origin used the “Lithtech Jupiter EX” engine. The screen turns red when you take damage. Visually it’s one of the best looking games that I have seen.
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