For those who need a quick refresher course on what’s been going on up to this point in the series, Armacham is now trying desperately to clean up the mess leftover from the events of F.E.A.R. 1 and 2. Alma Wade, the psychic, rage-filled, and now pregnant antagonist from the first two games, has sent out a telepathic signal to her other two children, calling them back for a little family reunion. Despite one being dead and the other locked up, they both intend to answer the call.
Players assume the role of the protagonist from the first game, known simply as “Point Man”, as he is interrogated by a pair of Armacham guards. A quick intervention from the psychic spirit of his brother Paxton Fettel (who players will remember Point Man killed in the first game) sets him free and the two brothers begrudgingly agree to put aside their differences and work together to take down Armacham and stop their mother from ripping the fabric of reality apart. Since Point Man is the only one who can see him, Fettel acts as a sort of guiding spirit for his older brother, often giving him advice on how to proceed and providing narration for some of the game’s cutscenes and cinematics.
The game’s story campaign can be played either co-op or solo, co-op play lets one player trek through as Point Man while the other gets to wreak havoc as Fettel and once a mission has been beaten, it can be replayed as either Point Man or his sadistic spiritual brother in solo play. In contrast to Point Man’s reliance on guns, explosives, and slow-mo, Fettel utilizes his own bag of tricks including a ranged psychic blast, telekinetic suspension, and even the ability to possess enemy soldiers and turn them against their comrades.
Like its two predecessors, F.E.A.R. 3’s gameplay transitions between tense firefights against squads of Armacham soldiers and other baddies and gripping paranormal segments as the veil between reality and Alma’s twisted nightmare becomes thinner and thinner. Occasional flashbacks reveal the two brother’s haunting and brutal past, lending to the already creepy tone set by Alma’s constant presence. While admittedly most of the game’s “horror” relies on cheap jump-out-scares, there are still enough atmospheric set-pieces in the environment that the immersion never feels lost.
Some of F.E.A.R. 3’s biggest strengths however lie in its multiplayer modes. There are four modes in total, two cooperative and two competitive, each offering their own unique combinations of action and horror as well as a refreshing change of pace from the usual Deathmatch/CTF/Team DM modes. Another interesting aspect to note is that the player’s scoring progression and the unlockable bonuses that come with it are tracked across both the single-player campaign as well as multiplayer, meaning it definitely pays off to have played through a few levels of the campaign before diving into the multiplayer scene.
With a well-paced and fun story campaign that can be enjoyed either solo or with a friend, a unique yet satisfying multiplayer experience, and high replay value thanks to its new progression system, F.E.A.R. 3 does an excellent job in providing a suitable conclusion to the F.E.A.R. story while also giving gamers a few more reasons to dive back into Alma’s twisted world one last time.
General Gameplay Tips:
- If you’re struggling against tough odds, remember that smart use of slow-mo can quickly turn the tide in your favor.
- It pays to be prepared; try to always have at least one long range weapon like an assault rifle or sniper rifle paired with a close-range option like the shotgun or pistol.
- Remember to keep an eye out for corpses that you can establish a psychic link with. These faintly glowing bodies provide a nice boost to your score that can add up if you find multiple links in a single level.
Official Website: http://www.fear3.co.uk/
IGN; Guides, Walkthroughs, etc: http://xbox360.ign.com/objects/045/045906.html