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F.E.A.R. 3 for XBox 360 – review
Blood, gore, Alma, mech suits: Ah, yes, it’s F.E.A.R. 3, the latest game in the F.E.A.R. franchise for the XBox 360! How does it stack up to its predecessors? Is it still scary, or old hat by now? And how’s about a handful of cheats thrown in for good measure? If you’re a fan of the F.E.A.R. franchise, or just like cool games with lots of killing involved, check out this review!
You play as Point Man, the protagonist of the first game. If you play co-op, the second player is Paxton Fettel, the antagonist of the first game whom you shot in the head. Oh, yeah, and he’s your brother. Alma, the girl you see everywhere, is not at all like Samara from The Ring, that’s silly, though many reviews have drawn that comparison. And just because things don’t hurt you doesn’t mean they’re not scary: Alma’s actually a younger apparition version of Point Man’s and Fettel’s mother.
If you’re not paying attention in the game, you may not notice all the scary/creepy things, but if you explore and look around, it makes the game that much creepier. You’ll go into certain rooms, for instance, looking for collectibles (one in each level, an Alma doll), and you’ll turn around, and she’ll be standing there, and then disappear. Stuff will shake, move around, fall over, the normal sorts of haunted house types of creepy activity the F.E.A.R. games are known for.
There are 8 levels to this installment, which sounds like too few, but most of them are pretty long. You escape from a prison, traverse the suburbs, explore downtown, and carefully make your way out of a Sam’s Club/Lowe’s store. Most levels involve walking around for a while seeing lots of creepy things and fighting Armacham soldiers. Eventually, you’ll also run across civilians who have gone insane from supernatural waves hitting the main city of Fairport, and they’ll rush at you to punch you or hit you with a hammer, axe, wrench, etc.
Also this demon dog type enemy called Scavengers spawn out of walls and ceilings and can be a bit tough. There are a couple segments where you can take a mech suit, and that’s when you can cause some major havoc, busting through walls, exploding things, and crushing anyone who gets in your way.
Point Man plays as most FPS characters do. You shoot, throw grenades, hide behind cover, all the normal things. But since you’re a product of an experiment to breed supernatural soldiers, you also can use slo-mo from time to time. Fettel, on the other hand, plays entirely differently. As he’s technically not alive (seeing as you shot him in the forehead in the first game), he can’t hold guns. But he CAN levitate enemies, possess them, and use the possessed character to shoot soldiers. This can be extremely useful as the enemies are taken by surprise.
I played a little of the multiplayer, which I thought was actually pretty fun. I usually dislike most multiplayer modes, because it’s just the same old Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, etc., but FEAR 3 has some pretty good variety. Contractions mode is like Survival: hold off waves of enemies, and bring back crates of better guns. If you see Alma, though, LOOK AWAY! If you peek at her for too long, she’ll blind you temporarily. Then there’s Soul King, a mode where the players possess enemies to kill other enemies and collect the souls they drop. This mode was frantic, and you have to play quickly to get as many souls as possible. It didn’t forcibly pit the players against each other and was still really fun.
This sequel has the same gaming engine as the first two games, so some people who play it might feel there’s a definite need for an updated type of engine and more varied effects than the haunted house variety of the first two games. But it is still relatively effective, and despite some of the special effects getting a little bit long in the tooth, it’s still a pretty cool and fun game. The multi-player modes really make it shine, though only four other friends can play along with you at a time. Also, if you could play as Paxton Fettel more actively in the single-player game, the game would probably have been even better.
There’s not much choice in the weapons you can use–you get to use the standard issue pistols, machine guns, and rifles, and that’s it–but the times when you can don the mech suits help make up for this lack of variety in weapons. The combat is fast, furious, and brutal, especially when you can mow down the enemies while you’re wearing the mech suit.
Now, let’s get on to a few cheats! There are quite a lot of them you can find for this game that are already public knowledge. I’ll mention just a handful to whet your appetites:
1.) To unlock Insane Difficulty, just complete the game once on any difficulty.
2.) To achieve the title of Monarch, win 20 rounds of Soul King.
3.) If you want to gain the title of the Earl of Pain, all you have to do is kill 1000 enemies by any method in any game mode–cheesy-easy, huh?
4.) Unlock you hidden dharma, and become more Spiritually Attuned: just make 100 Psychic Links, either shared or stolen.
5.) Strike FEAR into the hearts of your enemies and friends by earning the title of the Doll Collector! To do this, simply Find the Alma Doll on every Mission.
6.) Because I happen to have six fingers on each hand, I’ll add this one extra cheat! To become known as the Art Collector, all you have to do is pin 100 total enemies with The Penetrator or Leaper knives.
F.E.A.R. 3 is an awesome game, but the franchise is in need of a face-lift and a new gaming engine to continue and flourish. It’s still great fun, especially the multi-player modes. What do you feel about the game? Please leave your comments below!