F.E.A.R. is one of the most unique first person shooter series of recent years. The mixture of horror and high-adrenaline gameplay made the original one of the best games of 2005. Warner Bros. and Day 1 Studios are looking to bring even more to the table with the upcoming F.E.A.R. 3, also known as F.3.A.R.
Throughout the series players played as Point Man in both F.E.A.R. and F.E.A.R. Extraction Point. This will continue into the third title within the single-player campaign. However, if you choose to play the new mode that has been added into the game then there will be a choice. While making the game the developers stated that they were asking themselves how they could evolve the series, and what they came up with is adding co-op like it has never been done before.
Upon entering co-op mode players will be given the option of who to play as. Either Point Man or Fettel can be chosen, both offering very different playing styles. Fettel is in fact Point Man’s brother, and he is substantially different than characters found in the previous titles. What’s different about Fettel is that he is in fact dead, and he was killed by Point Man himself. This offers for a very interesting dynamic while playing, considering Fettel is annoyed that Point Man in fact ended his life. Typically when Fettel opens his mouth it’s something sarcastic towards Point Man which offers for a very uneasy alliance.
Fettel’s viewpoint on the screen is completely different than that of Point Man’s. He can see various ways to get around a level, these areas or objects will be highlighted in red. So if Fettel sees a door that is highlighted in red then he can knock that door down. This can lead to new objects, a different route in the level, or even a way to ambush the enemies. But what Fettel can do is not tell Point Man if he does not feel the need to. In fact the game sometimes rewards you if you choose not to tell Point Man everything.
Another detail that is very different versus the previous titles is each character’s individual abilities. Point Man is in fact a super soldier, and has great abilities that give him an advantage over enemies. For one he can slow down time to take out multiple enemies within a short amount of time with minimal damage to Point Man himself. Fettel is of course dead, as mentioned earlier. He can send beams of energy that will harm an enemy, as well as use that energy to lift up the enemy so that Point Man can take them out. Another main attack is Fettel’s possession ability. He can physically take over an enemy. Not only does he take over the body but their physical attributes as well. Some of the enemies are harder for Fettel to take over, and take more of an effort. But as noted both Fettel and Point Man can choose to work together if wanted, and the benefits can be huge. Whenever Point Man slows down time, Fettel can actually clap his hands together to send a large blast of energy out to take out many enemies at once.
One huge improvement within the title is the intelligence of the A.I. which the developers have labeled “Generative A.I.” What this means is that just because you beat a level either by yourself or within co-op don’t automatically assume that you know when and what is coming when replaying the level. The A.I. tactics and locations are constantly changing. This is of course to keep things fresh and makes the game less predictable on top of pushing the creepiness factor of the title.
Another big improvement is the level design of the game. In the level that we got to play through we were located on a bridge and attempting to make our way across it. The atmosphere and detail within the level was really something else. It took you into trains that were wrapping around a broken bridge. If you didn’t time things correctly you would find yourself falling into the water below rather quickly. The enemies themselves were smarter than previous installments. Considering some enemies can spawn other enemies themselves, the cover system is definitely key. You can quickly find yourself at a disadvantage as enemies are sent to spawn behind you. But luckily with the cover system all it takes is the push of a button and your character will jump over immediately and take cover on the other side of your current cover.
F.E.A.R. 3 is looking to revamp the series and take it to new heights. This will be done by offering a unique co-op experience that has never been done before in a game on top of the strong improvements we saw to the single-player experience. With the unique gameplay mechanics and ever-changing A.I., this game looks like a solid addition to the series.