X'10 - F.E.A.R. 3
By DowntownJimmy (08.20.10)
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: Day 1 Studios
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Release Date: Spring 2011
Related Articles: F.E.A.R. 2 Review
One nice surprise from the show floor that I wasn't expecting to see was F.E.A.R. 3. Developed by the old school MechAssault developer Day 1 Studios, they return to their baby (the original F.E.A.R.) while Alma is expecting one of her own. It might be a little twisted, but it's a great way to lead into this scaretastic FPS. Although, we didn’t get to hear too much of the scary ambiance because of the volume surround the booth, FEAR 3’s visuals didn’t disappoint with more then enough, blood-splattered remains of humans. Obviously F.E.A.R. 3 is a mature title, and if the background information of the ghostly Paxton Fettel working with Point Man to stop, or help their mother Alma from give birth isn't enough to kick start the crazy, nothing is. It’s one bizarre scenario that even Jerry Springer would avoid.
F.E.A.R. 3 which continues its tradition of proving quick and responsive gunplay merged with a dark horror filled narrative remains. However, things are a little different as Day 1 ambitiously ads a co-op component to the game. Adding a co-op aspect to the game Day 1 has had to work extra hard to create a spooky atmosphere that would still be up to that "F.E.A.R." level of expectations. The way they are tackling this problem is with the unholy duo of Paxton and Point Man. Beyond their history (which is scary enough) it gets more interesting because one member of the team is actually dead! Say wha! This adds tension to the story as the two work together to battle an onslaught of oncoming adversaries.
Point Man is the run-and-gunner, and Fettle relays on physic powers with the opportune ability to posses your enemies. This duality between the characters is one of the driving forces in the co-op, and while I experienced both characters, I enjoyed each perspective and playstyle. Fettle who is undoubtedly the star of F.E.A.R. 3 adds a unique twist to the shooter, which reminded me of ‘Clive Barker’s Undying’ the 2001 horror, influenced paranormal shooter from EA. Although it was voyeuristically enjoyable to posses enemies soldiers, levitate and murder my foes, to my surprise I missed the gunplay. Returning to Point Man, F.E.A.R. 3 is immediately familiar with all the slow motion bullet dogging exploits you enjoyed from the first two entries.
In other changes, F.E.A.R. 3 has added a sticky cover mechanic that lets you stick to an object and peer around or overtop of it. This duck-and-cover mechanic, which is mainly used in 3rd person shooters, felt a little odd at first and seems like an unnecessary addition. However, as our host Ki Wolf-Smith (Game Designer within Day 1) pointed out, all the mechanics are being adjusted and tweaked, so what we have seen today, might not be the same when the retail version ships.
Also, noteworthy is Fettle’s ability to see things differently then Point Man. Specific doors and routes are open for Fettle to take advantage of, with or without clueing in your warm-blooded brother. Because Fettle isn’t playable during the single player campaign (or as they say for now) this greatly increases the replay value of the game for players who have only played through the campaign in the non-cooperative mode.
Lastly, we got to hop into the massively impressive mech-suit to cause large scale damage to our enemies as we battled our way across a long and dangerous overpass. In the demo, Fettle was working on foot and I was controlling the giant mech. (Fettle can gain control of the mechs, however, he needs to take a humans form first) The mech-suit played much like you would expect with an arsenal of rockets and chain-guns. As expected when acquire something like a giant mechanized killing machine, the enemies start to match up in size. Defeating waves after wave of foot soldiers, mech-suits, and tank like helicopters, F.E.A.R. 3 surprisingly transformed from an eerie shooter to an all out war-machine.
Even in its earlier development stages F.E.A.R. 3 seems like it will offer up something new to the series while continuing to intrigue us with its dysfunctional family tribulations. F.E.A.R. 3 definitely has some potential, and the more we hear and see about the co-op gameplay and the deadly cannibalistic Paxton Fettle, the more we want to crawl the night with apparitional executioner. F.E.A.R. 3 isn’t due to late 2011, so you don’t have to worry about having enough time for Halo: Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops.