F.E.A.R.

Armacham Technology Corporation. A company that does a lot of defense research including training psychic commanders to control cloned soldiers. That was until one of these commanders went postal and commanded his bunch of soldiers to hunt down people in the company. As part of F.E.A.R., your team is sent in to hunt him down, only to discover something more sinister.

Release Date

October 2005.

Pros

Some of the levels are quite large and there are multiple pathways that can be taken. It reminded me of Bioshock’s level design. The level design is not just there for good looks, it pays to explore around.

There is the nice simulated head movement like in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic and Chronicles of Riddick. Not as good as Riddick though.

The sounds in general are excellent except for the weapons. I found the weapons sounded a bit weak. Unfortunately the Logitech G35 does not get surround sound from the game.

The game breathes an excellent spooky atmosphere. The combination of the quietness and noise, envrionment setting, the mysterious visions and the dynamic music really draws you into the game.

The game makes good use of shadows and sound for playing. Although this has been done before in games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R., I found it very apparent in F.E.A.R.. Surprisingly even more apparent than Chronicles of Riddick. Not sure if this is because of the spooky atmosphere because graphically and sound wise S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Chronicles of Riddick are superior to F.E.A.R..

There is slow motion like Stranglehold. There is also some environmental destruction and although not to the level of Stranglehold, the combination of slow motion and flying debris still looks excellent.

The weapons may sound weak but depending on how you use them they can really create a big mess. This is another way of saying, the game is gory, complete with limbs coming off. It has been a long time since I played Soldier of Fortune II, but from memory I would say F.E.A.R.’s injury model is as good as SOF2.

The story started off a bit slow to me, but it just kept getting better and better right up to the awesome ending. The plot’s awesomeness is right up there with the likes of Bioshock and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl.

The graphics are beautiful. I would even say it has an edge over Quake 4.

Cons

To play multiplayer you must download the F.E.A.R. Combat and get another CD-Key. Very annoying since the F.E.A.R. install already has all the multiplayer files in there. You have to double up on game files taking up more harddisk space just to play multiplayer.

Save a few different save files as you progress. The save games can get corrupted and you will not be able to load that save game again. I encountered this problem while on the level named “Interval 06 – Interception: Sayonara, Sucker”. My one manual saved game, the auto-save and the quick save all will not load for that level. Searching around, I have not found any solutions to this problem. Time for me to restart the game from the beginning.

Other Points

Besides good old gunning, you can also gun whack and kick your enemies. What’s more, you can holster your weapons and go fist fighting. When I discovered this, I had a go at running around trying to punch everyone up and for some strange reason it reminded me of 4D Sports Boxing.

The AI is clever in the way that they know how to hide, try to flank whenever possible and they also know how to get around and jump over obstacles. Unfortunately it is also very predictable. Many times you can just wait where you are and they will walk around the corner all ready for you to take them out.

The quality of action in F.E.A.R. is excellent but there are sections of just getting from one place to another. They are not so long that it becomes boring, but it does mean it is not a constant run and gun game.

The GamersGate version comes with the two expansion packs: Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate. I am playing through Perseus Mandate at the moment. For some strange reason the installer only sets up one short cut to the main game. To play the expansions, you have to create your own shortcuts or run the exe manually from the expansions’ install folder.

Extraction Point expansion continues where the main game finished. Other than more single player fun, Extraction Point also adds a few new weapons as well as the ability to bash down doors.

Perseus Mandate expansion takes place in parallel to the F.E.A.R. main game. You play the role of another F.E.A.R. operative in another mission. Once again there are new weapons.

Biases

Reviewed version 1.08 of the game.

Years ago I did play multiplayer F.E.A.R. when F.E.A.R. Combat was released for free. I enjoyed it a lot back then. I am too lazy to reinstall now though, so it is just the single player F.E.A.R. experience this time round. Even though I had played multiplayer F.E.A.R. before, I never knew you could fist fight until now.

I have completed the main game once on extreme difficulty. I have also completed Extraction Point once on extreme difficulty. The slow motion function made the game manageable on this difficulty.

I really liked Serious Sam, all the Doom games, Quake 4 and Quake 2.

I also really liked Chronicles of Riddick, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, SWAT 4, Red Faction, Bioshock, Alien Vs Predator, Soldier of Fortune 2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky, Rainbow Six, Rogue Spear and Call Of Duty 4.

I also liked Red Faction 2, Painkiller Overdose and Star Wars Battlefront 2.

I also liked Battlefield 1942, Delta Force and Spec Ops 2.

DRM

The GamersGate version of the game uses SecuROM.

After installation, when you first run the game, an activation serial key must be entered. Then it contacts an activation server(via Internet connection) to activate the game.

Minimum Requirements (as stated in the manual)

  • Windows® XP, x64 or 2000 with latest service pack installed
  • DirectX® 9.0c (August Edition) or higher
  • Pentium® 4 1.7 GHz or equivalent processor
  • 512 MB of RAM or more
  • 64 MB GeForce™ 4 Ti or Radeon® 9000 video card
  • Monitor that can display in 4:3 aspect ratio
  • 5.0 GB free Hard Drive Space for installation
  • Additional hard drive space for a swap file and saved game files
  • DVD-ROM drive (Not required if you get the download version like GamersGate)
  • 16-bit DirectX® 9.0 compliant sound card with support for EAX 2.0
  • Broadband or LAN connection for multiplayer games
  • Mouse
  • Keyboard

Computer Played On

  • Windows 7 64 bit.
  • Intel Core i5 2.3GHz
  • 4Gb RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M 1Gb RAM
  • Conexant SmartAudio with egg speakers or earphones. Or Logitech G35.
  • Graphics settings are set to whatever I feel comfortable with playing on this PC. They are usually not set to the highest settings. All screenshots are taken with my settings.

Handy Tips

When you have finished the game, watch the credits right to the end for a special plot line conversation. Although you would have probably already figured out that part of the plot line.

For some strange reason Extraction Point cannot be set to display wide screen. To manually set the resolution I had to edit the file located at C:\Users\Public\Documents\TimeGate Studios\FEARXP\settings.cfg. This folder location is for Windows 7. For more information see this forum thread.

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