Hey, look, only a month between posts!
Here’s the stuff.
The game, bundled with its two expansions (Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate) was on sale a while back. Being the sucker I am for somewhat older games which I’ve tried in the past but never finished, I got them.
Absolutely no regrets.
As the title F.E.A.R might have given away, it’s a horror FPS game. While I wasn’t exactly horrified, I was pretty tense during all the quiet segments and it did manage to make me flinch with its few jumpscares. However, the FPS aspect of the game is spot on and just glorious.
In the original game, you play as a part of the F.E.A.R (First Encounter Assault Recon) team, and a damn good one at that. You have reflexes like no other, allowing you to use slow-motion to help you during the numerous, non-horror firefights when you encounter baddies. You are sent to capture Paxton Fettel, a military test subject for a psychic commander, who has gone rogue. Soon after deployment, everything goes to hell as anomalous things start to happen around you and to your team. That’s pretty much the story without spoiling anything.
Also he’s backed up by the girl.
My favourite part of the game is the enemy AI. They can actually aim and instead of just blindly rushing your position, they take cover! (Pretty amazing, right? Looking at you, BF3 campaign.) Also, they know when to switch cover or when to flush you out with grenades. In short, the AI cooperates like an actual team and WILL make the players life hell.
There are a bunch of different weapons, starting from the standard pistol (which can be DUAL-WIELDED!), going to assault rifles to guns which shoot what seem to be railroad spikes (ouch) and finally, rocket launchers and plasma rifles (gotta love ’05).
I guess there are also the “heavies” who have bodyarmor which could probably withstand a few nuclear wars and robots which seem to be, for the first time in a video game played by me, designed to be able to soak in some damage and still exterminate anything in its path.
Now, that’s the “normal” enemies covered. But what’s a self-respecting horror title without ghosts or invisible enemies?
The invisible guys are what seem to be high-tech armor wielding martial arts masters who like to hide on walls (???) and dropkick your teeth in should you run into them unaware, not concerned about your precious jawbone.
And the ghosts who pop out of portals which appear from absolutely nowhere just fly at you, not giving the slightest damn about any walls in their way to spook you to death.
Oh, and the girl in the picture before?
She really likes to **** with your mind. Sometimes fatally so.
To the mechanics and whatnot.
The aforementioned heightened reflexes work as slow-motion. You can activate it at any time to slow the world down, giving you more time to make enemies helmets fly right off their heads and hear those who still have their protective headgear yell “HE’S TOO FAST” and other ego-boosting cries for help. However, it doesn’t last forever and needs to recharge, which takes quite a while. You can boost the duration of how long you can use the reflexes by finding the creatively named “Reflex-boosters” scattered among stages.
And like just about every game from that era, it has a traditional health bar meaning you’d better stack up on health kits or you’ll be kicking the bucket harder than the cloakers kick your face. This means you don’t have regenerative health. There are also boosters for your health bar, so, look for those.
Oh, let’s not forget the kevlar vests. While they kind of act like an extra health bar, it only soaks up some damage, softening the blow to your actual health and just maybe letting you live to be shot by another bloke.
And now, to the feeling.
So, as with every game, the soundtrack plays a vital role in what you experience during playing.
And goddamn if they didn’t know that.
While this isn’t anything intense, it really works to keep you on the edge of your seat, preparing for that damn girl or dropkick-fanatic to pop out of nowhere.
Just about every track in the OST is like the embedded one, just this creepy ambience. It isn’t anything so good I’d listen to it outside gameplay, but there it gets the job done well.
Now, the looks of the game do show their age, but let’s just imagine we’re back in ’05.
“Woha, this is mind-blowingly awesome!” I don’t hear you saying still.
The environment is dimly lit almost always, a staple of the horror genre. Not much can be said for the aesthetics, as in my opinion, there isn’t much to comment on. It certainly isn’t bad or anything, but it doesn’t stand out either. The majority of the creeps are achieved thanks to the OST, not looks, anyway.
To recap, I’ll say that gameplay-wise this is damn well done. Smart enemies who can aim, take cover and force you out of cover, an actual challenge when playing on harder difficulties. The learning curve is good, weapons vary quite a bit and so do the enemies.
The stages have a plentiful enough variation, doesn’t feel very repetetive (although there’s alot of office-warfare, but that doesn’t bother me too much).
And the looks n’ all are okay, they get the job done, no more, no less.
I guess it’s fairly scary.
“But Psüh,” I still don’t hear you asking “should I get this game and play through it and its expansions?”
If you don’t mind dated graphics, can handle a few jumpscares and like a good FPS game, abso-goddamn-lutely. While I haven’t mentioned the expansions, they’re pretty much extensions of the story (which is non-canon) with some more enemies and weapons.
Until I can muster enough concentration to write again.