Gaming & Technology

Nothing scary — or scary good — about 'F.E.A.R. 3'

F.E.A.R. 3 doesn't compare well to its predecessors. It's not nearly as scary, and the gameplay is that of a generic first-person shooter.
F.E.A.R. 3 doesn't compare well to its predecessors. It's not nearly as scary, and the gameplay is that of a generic first-person shooter. Photo courtesy Games Press

F.E.A.R. 3 is the latest in the sci-fi horror series, but it fails to live up to its predecessors.

The newest incarnation adds elements that make it feel far more like an arcade shooter than the previous games. This can be a good or bad thing depending on the player, but in view of the franchise, it seems to be a negative. The series' fans surely don't want this turned into another clone of Halo or Call of Duty.

And if you're a newcomer, it's best not to start with this game, because you'll surely be lost. There is almost zero explanation of the previous plots, abilities and characters.

The gameplay itself is quite solid, if not dumbed-down. It's the standard fare of cover-based shooting combined with a little bit of familiar powers, such as slowing time. The majority of time spent in the game is a repetitious clear-the-room and then open-the-door strategy, and though at first this isn't too frustrating, it becomes so later in the game. Speaking of which, "late in the game" will come quite quickly, as the main campaign can be completed in about five hours. Even for a first-person shooter light on story, this is short.

The multi-player aspect comes in four varieties, and each variety could be fun in its own right, but the core multi-player experience is frustrating. Unlocking the modes, entering and exiting games, finding matches and so forth is, to say the least, implemented poorly. There are just a handful of games available, and finding a rewarding match is extremely rare. Beyond this frustrating front end, the game does have potential, because each of the four varieties of play are not the standard death match.

F.E.A.R. 3 also has a new points system to reward various actions throughout the solo campaign, giving it an arcade feel.

It seems the developers focused so much on the co-op and multi-player experience that they forgot to add the scares. This is the first game in the series that honestly isn't scary.

If you're in the market for a solid co-op first-person shooter that doesn't disappoint, you'll have some fun with F.E.A.R 3, but don't expect anything groundbreaking. No single aspect of the game necessarily fails, but it doesn't do anything to set it apart from the rest of the pack of generic first-person shooters.

After a while, the game just blends in to the crowd, and a few months from now, you'll have a hard time remembering it.

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