Alma, gamings cutest little death-bringer returns in F.E.A.R. 3. Tagged “Never face F.E.A.R. alone,” F.E.A.R. 3 introduces some new elements into its cannibalistic world of nightmares.

Returning to code the latest installment of F.E.A.R. is 'Day 1 Studios,' creators of the original F.E.A.R. To help them craft thier horror prose they hired the help of cult classic director John Carpenter (The Fog, In the Mouth of Madness) and comic book author Steve Niles (Criminal Macabre, 30 Days of Night.) Combining their efforts F.E.A.R. 3 returns to 'Point Man,' the main protagonist from the original game, and his dead brother to tell a horror-filled tale of domestic dysfunction.

At its core F.E.A.R. 3 is a shooter. However, it is also a vessel for storytelling. Narrative driven, the characters behaviors are brought to life as if you're taking part in your own horror film. No action is without reason, and while you might be simply shooting anything that moves, the plot is woven into the game at sensible times without wasting a moment on superfluous running around. If you've played a F.E.A.R. title in the past then you likely enjoy the macabre/sickly spin F.E.A.R. 3 puts on its content. Over the three main games, F.E.A.R. tells a compelling tale.

Springer wouldn't Even though this One
Each entry in the series revolves around the psychically gifted Alma. The mother of our two lead characters (Point Man and his brother, Paxton Fettel.) Interesting enough we haven't seen this group together since the original; and to add more dysfunctional drama to the mix, Point Man actually killed his brother in the first game, which is the same brother you will be teamed up with in F.E.A.R. 3. (did someone say, awkward?) Set nine months after 'F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin,' Point Man and Fettel reunit to search out their mother who is pregnant with Michael Becket's child, the protagonist from F.E.A.R. 2. Yes, F.E.A.R. likes the crazy; even Jerry Springer wouldn't touch this one.

Supernaturally Charged
In basics F.E.A.R. 3 is your typical first person shooter. Linear level design, lots of duck-n-cover action with a whole assortment of high calibre weapons that need to be emancipated on boundless waves of adversaries. However, F.E.A.R. 3's supernatural elements and chillingly horrific atmosphere set it aside from other shooters. This comes at the crafting of some spectacular graphics that have been enhanced since their last effort. While the Xbox 360 looks modestly darker than the PS3, everything from the quality of animation and lighting to the level design is well thought out. Even if F.E.A.R. 3 isn't “jump out of your seat” scary, it's provides does more than enough with its set pieces and attentiveness to detail.

Brothers of Destruction
Beyond its horror atmosphere, 'Day 1 Studios' has also thrown in a few tweaks/innovations to enhance the experience. First would be the ability to enjoy F.E.A.R. 3 in co-op play as the brothers of destruction. While it's not a “must-see” feature, it adds another level of interest to the game. Playing as both characters give you a tactical advantage with Point Man's lightning fast reflexes and the ghostly powers of Fettel teaming up to catch your enemies off gaurd. Point Man has the speed, the ability to slow time and the use of a wide range of weapons, Fettel can suspend assailants, shoot them with a malignant beam of energy and even posses them. Using the two character in conjunction is a lot of fun, highlighted when you suspend an enemy and then fill him/or it full of holes. Now before you go thinking the game was made for co-op, its still a focused single player game, so lonewolf gamers there is no need to turn away. Additionally, when you complete a level as Point Man they will become unlocked so you can replay them as Fettel. As you might have guessed, playing as Fettel is total different and worth the trip down memory lane.

Want Perks? Get Creative
Secondly, “Mission Objectives” have been added to each level to help you become more creative with your killing, all while ranking up your abilities and become stronger. These “challenges” can be viewed at anytime while playing and pop up on the screen as you work towards them, with an end of mission evaluation, reflecting your playing style. Broken down into four categories you are scored on; Aggression, Tactics, Aptitude and Psychic. You will be subtotaled into a score with bonuses that give your more than enough reason to replay certain levels. Not only is it addictive to try to beat your personal best with both of the brothers.

How this translates into leveling up is via bonuses/perks that are divided into six different categories starting with your training that gives you the ability to perform a jump kick and a soldier slide kick. Your reflexes also improve giving you more “slow motion” time. Continuing on, supplies allows you to carry more ammo. Impervious increases your health regeneration and lastly, Fitness improves your overall health by 10% at a time. From the level 0 - “Origin” to level 21 - “Fearless,” the ranking system offers a little bonus to all your hard work in the game and is a smart and welcomed addition.

Cover-up, Re-load, Fire!
The controls are very tight in F.E.A.R. 3, probably the best out of all the games. F.E.A.R. 3 feels very natural even by advancing Monolith’s cover system into one that includes “some” destructible cover. Like a 3rd person shooter you can duck behind cover, peak around corners and leap over certain obstacles to out wit your foes. Compared to other first-person shooters that have tried to incorporate this feature, F.E.A.R. 3 is ultra smooth and works like a charm.

The weapons are the basic assortment; shotgun, SMG, sniper-rifle, etc... but add enough punch to feel powerful. They are a slightly weightless, but that is OK given the quick pace of the games combat. From fighting tactically gifted replica soldiers to the frenzied bomb-strapped crazies, F.E.A.R. 3 has enough diversity without straying too far from its core base. Although some additions from F.E.A.R. 2 didn't make the transition, the acquisition of Fettel helps me overlook burning people alive with a flamethrower. Furthermore, you will have the chance to step into the hardened shell of two Mech types, which unlike F.E.A.R. 2, feel more “attached” the plot.

Run, Defend, Kill, Survive
Logging into the online component; F.E.A.R. 3 does a commendable job offering up four “alternative” game modes. 'Contractions' is a wave based, “COD: Zombie” styled mode complete with strongholds. Next we have the close-to-call competitive mode 'Soul King' that starts you off as a specter racing to collect the most souls from dead enemies. This mode is frantic, extremely satisfying thanks to its close finishes. Continuing the ghost theme is 'Soul Survivor,' a team-based mode one player starts as the specter while the human soldiers have to survive being corrupted. Saving the best for last is the interesting, and much talked about, 'F@!#king Run' mode. This unique mode has the contestants running from a death wall while blasting away enemies that come your way. This frantic mode is one that will likely have you cursing the other players, because of one dies, you're all dead. Yet, you can't beat the feeling of cooperatively trying to escape impending doom. Fear, you betcha. The only negative that I could point is the lack of “normal” online modes; while I wouldn't trade them for the included modes; a nice deathmatch/team deathmatch with more than four players would have been welcomed.

F.E.A.R. 3 lives up to, if not trumps, the prior experiences in the F.E.A.R. universe. With great detail paid to atmosphere, fast-paced gunplay, the addition of co-op and some sweet multiplayer modes, F.E.A.R. 3 has everything you could ask for. While it might not provide the same heart-pounding experienced that came with the first time meeting Alma, the tale has been cleverly woven into interesting horror drama of family dysfunction. Without expecting much, F.E.A.R. 3 was a pleasant surprise that should be checked out by fans of the prior games and shooters alike. The only real draw back is the short campaign (5-6hrs,) so if you're not planning to explore the co-op/multiplayer features, this would fall into the rental category. Otherwise, this F.E.A.R. 3 has a lot of value and would make a great addition to your collection.

  • Macabre narrative; and you thought your family was dysfunctional
  • Gunplay and controls are super tight
  • Mission objectives adds enough reason to replay each level
  • Co-Op gameplay, enjoy F.E.A.R. with a friend
  • Excellent production; fearless lovely audio
  • Great online modes that separates itself from the pack
  • Horror influenced atmosphere turns up the gore
  • While improved; enemy A.I. could be a little less twitchy
  • Back to basics?! Where did all the cool weapons from F.E.A.R. 2 go?
  • In addition - the multiplayer could have used some standard/ larger scaled support
Quote: "F.E.A.R. 3 lives up to, if not trumps, the prior experiences in the F.E.A.R. universe."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 06.29.11

Similar Games: Clive Barker's Jerhico (6.5) | F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin (8.5)


F.E.A.R. 3

WB Games

Day 1 Studios


US Release
June 2011


PS3, X360

Players 1
Co-Op 2
Online MP 1-4
HD 720-1080p
5.1 surround
D/L Content