November 3rd, 2015
Hours Played: 4
Last played 10/13/15

F.E.A.R.: I’m not it…

When F.E.A.R. came out back in 2005 it was considered to be a game changer! Not on the level of Half-Life 2 or anything, but, people loved it! They always talked about how good it was. The horror elements were well done, the enemy AI was fantastic, the shooting was super great, and the graphics were amazing. You had to have a pretty beefy computer to play this game.

Maybe back in 2005. Because, man has this game aged poorly. Like, really poorly.

Not only does the game look… bad. It’s really not that fun either, sorry to say. Now this is probably due to the fact that I have ten years of games between the release of F.E.A.R. and now to compare it to. I can definitely see how, at the time, F.E.A.R. would have blown my thirteen year old mind. But as it stands, in 2015, F.E.A.R. is very underwhelming. It feels like a pretty standard shooter, with some cool bullet time and horror elements thrown in.

I’m sure if I could force myself to play more I would probably get something out of it. But as of four hours into the game all I’ve done is: run through long hallways murdering puppet soldiers in an industrial complex, and an office building, while occasionally being frightened by a little girl. And… she doesn’t show up all that much, sadly.

To be fair, there were moments where I was genuinely enjoying myself. Rolling up on fools with a shotgun and slo-mo sliding into them while tearing them to shreds with buckshot is really cool. Like the first 50 times. Then it just becomes an easy “I win” button. Now, the horror aspects of this game were the main draw for me. And trust me, they can be genuinely disturbing and definitely made me jump more than once. But, as you play through the game you can see the seams at the edges of the experience. After about two hours I could tell when the game was going to go from ‘action’ to ‘horror’ just by level design.

Big well lit area funneling into a small dark hallway? Scare incoming. Better turn on my flashlight!

Eventually I just got bored with the game. There wasn’t enough of the creepy to keep me interested, and the ten year old shooting and level design weren’t doing F.E.A.R. any favors.

I honestly spent a large chunk of my four hours trying to figure out where the hell I was supposed to go. Which is the weird thing, because this game is quite linear. Sadly it’s very easy to get turned around, and everything looks the same… Plus sometimes the level designers expected you to intuit where to go without any indication. I felt like I was playing Duke Nukem, or Doom, considering how many times a seemingly decorative A/C vent was actually the way forward.

I hear this game gets pretty crazy towards the end, but I can’t bring myself to continue any further. I wanted to try and complete every game I reviewed for this project… but, I don’t really want to spend anymore time on this one. Especially considering I have over one hundred more to do.

I think the coolest part of F.E.A.R. is probably the firefights. Although the shooting is rather lackluster compared to today, the effects of your combat are really cool. Glass will break, the walls, floor, and ceiling will have large chunks blown out of them. And large amounts of dust, that actually lingers, will be kicked up. It forces you to move around, and looked really cool. Plus the bloody aftermath was always satisfying…

The dust tech is the most impressive part of this game to me. Seriously.

Honestly, this game reminds me a lot of Psi-Ops, an old game for the PS2. It revolved around a paranormal military task force fighting against another paranormal military group. It had all of the same hyper violence, weird psychic powers, creepy horror segments, and strange meat puppet soldiers. Except I played it at the time… so I liked it.

It’s not that FEAR is bad… It’s just like an old movie. It was amazing when it came out! It’s just, going back and looking at it compared to ‘modern’ releases, it just doesn’t hold up.

Luckily I picked F.E.A.R. up on sale for like $2.75. If you’ve never played FEAR and always wanted to. Watch a let’s play. Or, if you absolutely have to play it, grab it on super-sale this Christmas. It’s… really dated.

What do you think?

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