Monday, November 06, 2006

Couldn't resist the F.E.A.R. - Preliminary experience

About 9 pm or so last night, I decided that I had to go buy FEAR. I'm not sure why, but I just wanted it.

It wasn't a mistake. On its own FPS merits, F.E.A.R. is fairly standard. However, the addition of the horror element, fun physics, and the Matrix SlowMo really set it apart from the crowd.

Granted, some of the "scares" are cheap, but isn't that what we've become accustomed to over the last decade or so? F.E.A.R. may not put you on edge like Condemned, but it certainly has it's own feel. The sound FX, ambient sounds, timing, and visuals meld well together for seemingly unpredictable experience on a player's first run through.

The physics and SlowMo combine into a multitude of way-more-fun-than-it-should-be moments. With the SlowMo, a player can run into a run and fold enemies in half with a shot gun, or use the extra time to ensure headshots. The great part is ragdoll in slow motion. It just reinforces the pain, and accentuates the accomplishment of defeating individual enemies.

One thing that is new to me is "leaning". I assume this is a dated mechanic for peeking around corners. Unfortunately, the default control setup has the left and right leans mapped to the d-pad. This is odd to me, as you cannot move while leaning, and the 360 d-pad is cumbersome when not used as hotkeys. I actually prefer the "Lean" control setup, where leaning is controlled by the bumpers. This puts weapon switching, flashlight, grenade switching, and use Medpack on the d-pad, which makes more sense to me as none of these actions require holding of the button.

The developer deserves praise for not making demo of the game exactly the same as the actual game. The demo provided on XBL is actually somewhat of a medley from several difference levels. This is great because it puts a fresh take on something a gamer may have already played, and makes it less predictable. Hopefully more developers take this route instead of the "just providing a single level" approach.

If you've been dying for a fresh-to-console FPS, I highly recommend F.E.A.R. so far. I'm not very far into the game, but aside from minor glitches, I have no complaints on this game and recommend at least a rental. I imagine that multiplayer will be entertaining as well.


  • SlowMo mode makes "tense" firefights a blast

  • Environment and Sound FX fit very well


  • Framerate hiccups

  • Minor animation glitches


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