Turn off the lights and get ready to be scared. Not many games can really touch my emotions. But with the lights out and the surround sound turned up I seriously was freaked out at times while playing F.E.A.R. 3. I’ve never played the prior games in the series, and had no clue of the amazing terror filled experience I was embarking on. Luckily, F.E.A.R. 3 is a co-op based game so you won’t have to sit in the dark alone on your horror-filled adventure.
Picking up where the prior games left off, gamers take control of the genetically enhanced combatant, Point Man. Your mission is to find and kill your psychically powerful mother Alma before she gives birth to another child. You are not alone on your mission. Your long forgotten brother Paxton Fettel has returned from the dead as a paranormal and has refused to leave your side. Point Man is unsure of Fettel’s intentions but is willing to accept him as his powers help find and defeat Alma
As I said, F.E.A.R. 3 is a co-op game from start to finish. While there is a solo mode, the development team built the game for two players, one as the gun totting Point Man and the other as the psychic-powered Fettel. Gamers have three options for playing the campaign: with a friend locally or online, or solo as Point Man or Fettel but only after completing each level once. While I began my mission playing solo, I quickly found out that the game rather difficult, and that it didn’t seem to scale or differ to compensate for solo players. While this offered a challenge, it was also a major annoyance at times. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still a solid solo game, and replaying as Fettel while is the same in story offers a totally different gameplay experience. But if you have a friend willing to play, that is the best way to go.
For those playing as Point Man you’ll be able to pick-up weapons at will and basically unleash hell on your opponents. Meanwhile, Fettel will be limited in his paranormal form to slinging psychic energy blasts from his hands or using a force like death grip on opponents. But if your psychic energy is charged, then you can grab enemies and possess their bodies. At that point you can then use weapons but your time in the body is limited unless you collect their souls. Each soul will refill your energy bar; if the bar runs out, you’ll go back to your normal form and then have to possess another body. This mechanic is not only very unique but also requires a bit of strategy as you’ll need to manage your energy and can’t stay in cover for long without collecting souls.
Point Man also has some neat moves at his disposal. His psychic energy allows him to slow down time. This give Point Man time to react to incoming attacks. While slowing down time helps and is very useful when trying to complete the headshot challenge, it wasn’t very helpful. It always seemed the enemies would also have the assistance of the slowed down time and I wouldn’t be able to advoid being hit. I actually had a lot more fun playing as Fettel and found the whole body snatching mechanic more interesting and unique.
Another interesting game mechanic is how you level up your character. Luckily, you won’t start from scratch each time you switch when playing solo. You psychic XP you earn as Point Man carry over to Fettel and the XP you earn as Fettel carry over to Point Man. Every level has a slew of challenges. From getting X number of kills, to using slo-mo for X amount of time. Most of the challenges are offered to both of the brothers while some are unique to each. As you gain XP and increase your rank, you get various rewards from increase psychic energy to being able to carry more ammo. This system is also how you are scored in multiplayer. While the brothers have to work together at times they are both competitive and are trying to capture the title of “Favorite Son” on each level.
Multiplayer is the heart of F.E.A.R. 3 – not only the co-op campaign, but even the co-op and competitive online play. As I’ve already mentioned, the game’s campaign was built on a co-op foundation, and while playable solo is really optimized for two players. Online multiplayer continues that co-op focus with some interesting game types. There are four modes in all but each are unique and offer a ton of replay value. Even though the modes are fairly co-op based, scoring points is fierce and competitive. While you’ll be working together for instance in Soul King, you’ll be trying to collect the most number of souls. On the other hand, Contractions finds players trying to survive waves of enemies while maintaining barricades and finding weapon caches. Not only are the multiplayer modes fun and a great departure from other FPS multiplayer, but your level and XP carry over and you can continue to build your character from the campaign. I always love when game progress spans all of a game’s mode and I don’t have to build a character multiple times.
F.E.A.R. 3 is an amazing horror adventure. If you enjoy first person shooters and are a horror fan, you got to check this game out. I really enjoyed the various game mechanics and had a blast playing as the psychic-charged Fettel. The various multiplayer modes are fresh and a very welcomed departure from the normal run-and-gun formula. I think my biggest issue is the solo campaign. It would have been nice if the solo mode was slightly tweaked to offer a better experience. I felt many times that I was grossly out-numbered and put in situations more conducive to co-op play. It’s odd that the AI doesn’t pick up the part of your other brother when playing co-op. But if you have a friend to play F.E.A.R. 3 (which you should,) then you’ll have a blast playing all of the game’s modes. I didn’t think a game would actually invoke fear in me, but F.E.A.R. 3 will terrify and amaze many