Monday, December 12, 2005

F.E.A.R. (Completed)

FEAR reminded me a lot of Doom3. Nice graphics, scary atmosphere and research project gone wrong. Doom3 was a game that a lot of critics didn't like because it's flashlight switching scary combat was too tireing, but they liked FEAR. I on the other hand liked Doom3, but did not get on with FEAR at all.

To start with the story is about a physic general that gives orders to his troops by thinking about it. This is supposed to allow him to know what is happening on the battleground, but the game shows no evidence of this because the guards show no idea where you are at any stage of the game and expend a considerable amount of resources trying to find you.

FEAR has some of the most boring level design I have seen for years (since Halo). Most of the game happens in an office block (goes on for ages), then there is a short warehouse bit and a slightly longer research facility bit.

The developers (just like in Doom3) have tried to keep the player on edge and breakup the action by doing a flashing light thing. In Doom3 this signals demons teleporting in or a vision of something horrific, but in FEAR it signals a ghost sighting for which I soon realised has no threat to the player's life at all. You might hear a little girl laughing or see something, but it is certainly nothing to fear.

Weapons are good, plenty of ammo after the start of the game (not sure why there is an ammo scarcity at the start, probably to make you feel on edge more).

Bad guy AI is good, nothing spectacular as all encounters are scripted.

Story is poor and very predictable. The hinting actually gets annoying as the backstory to your character is so obvious (ripped straight from Metalgear Solid).

More variety in level design like a shorter office section at the start/middle/after, more variety in enemies and a richer story would have gone a long way making the game a more interesting.