Monday, 11 July 2011

No I won't see The End: F.E.A.R. (Review)

America comes up too much in my reviews. I honestly don't have a major problem with the US of A or anything, it just seems like they make a lot of bad choices. F.E.A.R. is one of those, in terms of story. I can summarize it in a simple cliche: The army has military contracts that go sour. Big surprise, yeah? It's funny, you never see Canadian military contracts get screwed up badly in these games. It always seems to be the Americans who summon demon-spawn ghost children with their psychic generals.

Uhm... that's pretty much the plot of F.E.A.R. from what I played. A psychic general who controls a bunch of drone army clones somehow also summons a demon-spawn ghost child, and you have to go kill them all.

This is actually a surprisingly boring one.

At least the anagram stands for something this time.

This game is honestly unnecessary. I wish I could say anything explicitly bad about it, but I guess it certainly is solid. That's not a defense of it, though. That just means I'm more disappointed than raging.

As I said, this game is about ghosts or psychics or soldiers or something. I can't really remember. The plot is there but you honestly can forget about it so easily. I don't even remember if the psychic terrorist captain guy is the same as the ghost guy. I think they mentioned projections at one point but it doesn't even matter.

His name is Paxton, apparently. His crimes include murder, arson, desecration of corpses, and conspiracy to apocalypse. I assume.

And then there's some creepy ghost girl which seems completely unrelated, but at the same time totally related. How does that make sense? Well, so far, she just coincidentally is everywhere I'm going, as I chase after Ghost Lord Paxton here. And there's been some flashbacks to like, an incredibly messed up hospital type thing with bleeding ceilings and all that.

I really don't know what her connection is. So how do I know that it must be connected? I dunno, maybe because she's the biggest thing on the box cover.

Rated M for May Contain Freaky Ghost Children

So we've got a vacant story involving a ghost, the army, a freaky box art girl, and a psychic cannibal. At least the gameplay is good, yeah?

Well, I guess it's not bad. It suffers greatly from a school of design following a mantra of "make sure it doesn't get too boring". Which, I would like to remind you, is very different from "make it fun and interesting." It more exists in the vapid void between "not boring" and "fun" which I like to refer to as "solitaire card games".

I guess it's cheaper than a riding lawnmower, at least.

Everything is decently designed, I guess. All the weapons are satisfying to use. But they're all minor tweaks of eachother, it feels like. The pistol has maybe a third of the fire rate of the rifle. But then you can pick up two pistols and double the rate, so now you've got a more accurate weapon with 2/3 of the fire rate. Or you can get the rifle which seems to peg people to walls, but that has maybe 3/4 of the fire rate of the normal rifle, and twice the damage. Ammo is scarcer though. And then you could get the shotgun, but that's situational. It does a lot of damage but firing it effectively is so hard.

I mean, in one level, I finally found a usage for it. It's incredibly good at shooting Snorks, so I just use it for that. And I mean, if a Snork gets close to you, it'll just one-two kick-punch you and you're dead. So you really can't let them do that. I guess they're better than Bloodsuckers at least, since-

Wait now I'm talking about S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

What are you doing out of your game? :o

Okay I swear, they look so similar. In fact they're basically the same enemy. Just less annoying because the totally overpowered kick attack can instantly take them out.

So anyways, after that level of curbstomping Grunts with my melee attack, I finally got a sniper rifle. It's too bad it's really only good on that one level and doesn't really come back afterwards (From what I played). But it is pretty satisfying taking out guys at range. Maybe it's used more later? I still don't get why we have the pistols, though. They're actually pretty useless, when there's an abundance of rifles left by enemies that are just generally better.

The most annoying enemy is probably the Hunter though, which-

No not again!

Okay, okay, wait, now I'm talking about Halo. How the hell do I of all people end up talking about Halo? I mean I get that there's big brutish armored soldiers which act basically identical to the ones in Halo but... no wait, that would be how I wound up there.

Alright let's try and move on. Other things I can say about this game... The graphics are decent, at least. The water effects are absolutely fantastic. I was actually pretty impressed by them, and the opening shots with all the water are really great.

And then when you finally get into Rapture the water still-


No... no that's BioShock. Okay so the water isn't really a selling point either. What about the horror? A game called F.E.A.R. has gotta be scary. There's those moments when...

Yeah no look, this is one of the least scary games I've played in a while. I can't tell if it's trying too hard, or not trying enough. But it's pretty damn bad at it. It runs out of material really fast, to the point where it starts repeating its scares. There's one scare, where Ghost Girl appears at the top of a ladder, as you climb down it. Okay, not really scary, just a little jumpy. So you get to the bottom and turn, and BAM it's Ghost Dad, which isn't really that scary, as it's just Cosby, and-


I haven't even seen Ghost Dad. What the hell. The ghost doesn't even resemble Cosby. I'm really grasping at straws now.

Look to summarize, F.E.A.R. is pretty much a dull void. It's pretty lifeless, and just not fun in general. And pretty much every part of it is better in some other game. Actually it feels sort of like a watered-down mismash of all these different, better games. I can't really recommend it because, well, I played about five hours and am not satisfied.

If only I hadn't bought it in that pack on Steam with the expansions and sequel. Maybe they'll be better?




The slow motion is actually kind of good, I guess, sort of.

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