Brotherly Love

I rarely stop playing one game to play another, but F.E.A.R. 3 was a game I quit playing when Amalur came out. Unfortunately, that probably says a lot about it. For those who haven’t been paying attention for the last half-decade or so, the F.E.A.R. series are first person shooters with a horror theme.

F.E.A.R. 3 starts out with the protagonist of the first game (the voiceless protagonist “Point Man”) teaming up with his psychic dead brother (Fettel)–who he killed in the first game–in order to find their equally dead psychic mother (Alma) who recently became undead, psychic pregnant (probably the worst kind of pregnant) after mentally, and apparently physically, raping the protagonist of the second game.

Unfortunately, while this installment of F.E.A.R. has kept all of the crazy plot of the previous games, it has failed to keep much of anything that could be considered “horror”. Although the game will periodically have supernatural occurrences or attempt to startle the player, most of it falls very flat due to the fact that the game mostly plays more like a modern military game in the vein of Call of Duty or a near-future game like Halo. To be precise, players should expect lots and lots of cover-based shooting with the prerequisite regenerating health. It also doesn’t help that the player is encouraged through the entire game to attempt to accomplish mini-achievements to rank up their character. Again, how scary is a situation when the game is explicitly encouraging you to try to get 15 melee kills in a level?

Worse yet, F.E.A.R. 3 has much the same problem that Clive Barker’s Jericho had: almost every encounter feels too long. Fights seem as though they have just a few too many enemies and enemies seem to have just a bit too much health–boss enemies especially. It is frustrating to have to put 10 sniper rifle rounds into an enemy’s head before it even begins to react.

Although the plot remains disturbing and crazy, F.E.A.R. 3‘s plot feels less well constructed than the others. The first game felt as if the world was well constructed and as if things happened for a reason. Here, levels feel disconnected. The finale especially feels like the worst kind of deus ex machina. A character, who though mentioned previously and who was well characterized, suddenly becomes key to saving the day almost inexplicably. Of course, murder being the only way to resolve problems in the F.E.A.R. universe, said character needs to die. Them being already dead is unimportant.

A fumbling plot and follow-the-leader gameplay are never enough to satisfy and F.E.A.R. 3 manages to make sure it has both.

F.E.A.R 3: 0

 

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