Sunday, July 3, 2011

Xbox 360 - F.3.A.R

F.3.A.R by WBGames / Day 1 Studios

Type: First Person Shooter
Save Type: Checkpoint

Even though this game (and franchise) is named FEAR, there's really nothing very scary in this game. Yes, there are things that occasionally jump out at you. Most of what is 'scary' here is more the gore factor. There's lots of simulated blood, guts and dead bodies. I have found games like The Darkness, Dead Space 1, Dead Space 2, Chronicles of Riddick and Alan Wake to be more creepy and scary than F.3.A.R (especially Dead Space 2).

F.3.A.R (aka. Fear 3) is a first person shooter that's pretty straightforward. Although this game pulls in some things from F.E.A.R. 2, it doesn't really do it quite as well. At least the game isn't coming from EA, which I know would have ruined the franchise. That said, this franchise is really on its last legs anyway. How many times can you pull the let's-chase-Alma-all-over-hell's-half-acre gameplay?


F.3.A.R starts you off as one of two brothers. As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that you killed your brother and he's trying to help you get through the game (even in spite of the fact that your character killed him). Yeah, I didn't quite get this part either. While it appears he seems to know what's going on, he doesn't really help you through the game as he only appears during Cinematics and through an occasional voiceover.

You start out roaming each level in search of what's ultimately going on. At first, you're trying to escape a prison. So, you're trying to get out before it explodes and, at the same time, avoid the guards trying to kill you.

Later, you run into various types of zombies that also try to kill you. Some zombies have bombs attached to themselves and they get close and explode, other zombies carry hammers, tire irons or other melee weapons and still others lob projectiles from a distance. Further on, you run into both guards and zombies at the same time.

Finally, there's this creature thing that appears and occasionally sucks you into an alternative reality that shows you things like kids playground rides, baby carriages and other kid related visuals. When the monster presents, you see a halo of black webbing around the edge of the screen. Of course, the game wouldn't be complete without an alternative reality at play. After all, Alma is a ghost.


The gameplay is about standard for a first person shooter. Nothing outstanding or out of the ordinary here. The controller is mapped appropriately (for the most part). The only thing that's troublesome is when you press B for cover. Two problems with cover. First, when you press B to move into cover, the game moves you into a position that can be seen (so you immediately start taking gunfire hits). Second, you can't kneel and be in cover at the same time. Both of these problems reduce the benefits of cover.

Most of the game revolves around protecting yourself from being killed, finding weapons and ammo, finding psychic links on dead bodies, locating Alma dolls and progressing from level to level.


In F.3.A.R, they haven't improved the graphics over F.E.A.R 2. That's not to say the graphics look bad. They look slightly above average for this type of game. But, there's nothing new to add wow factor to this game.


There are some audio issues here. Some of the cinematics volumes are very low requiring you to turn the volume up to hear it. Then, when the game starts up again it just about blasts you out of the room. This may have been in purpose, but it's really a bad bad design.


This game is fairly one-tracked much like F.E.A.R. 2. Although, when you do get to use the power armor, it's a really small trek and there's not much to it. Rather disappointing actually. The small arms weapons are also straightforward. Ammo is reasonably abundant on levels where you don't need it, but becomes kind of scarce when you do need it. There are also several types of grenades.

One of the main problems I have with this game is that enemies have perfect vision and perfect aim. This means that they'll hit you immediately when they 'see' you and, worse, they will sometimes see you when you can't even see them. So, this game could have done with some work here. Overall, there's nothing outstanding in F.3.A.R. It's an average first person shooter with an okay story. The atmosphere in the game works, but the tricks to try and scare you are way too cliche at this point.

  • Sound: 4/10 (sound problems)
  • Graphics: 7/10
  • Gameplay: 6/10 (enemies have perfect vision and perfect aim)
  • Story: 6/10 (been there, done that)
  • Bugginess: N/A
  • Controls: 8/10
  • Bang-to-buck: 1/10
  • Play Value: $4
  • Overall: 5/10 (nothing outstanding, no wow factor, nothing new)

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