While dysfunctional families are nothing new in the world of entertainment, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment brings new definition to fractured family with the pending release of F.E.A.R. 3. With two previous games, as well as add-on packs, the story of Alma and her brethren has been very popular with gamers for years with its thrilling mix of action and horror. The gripping storytelling and eerie sets sounds and lighting continues to keep gamers on the edge of their seats.
I got a chance last summer to play a work-in-progress version of the game at PAX. While there will obviously be many changes between the version that I played and the final version that’s set to hit stores in April, one thing is abundantly clear, the designers clearly know what fans of the series are looking for. Their attempt to take the series in a bold and fresh new direction stays true to the original storylines and game play.
For starters, the Point Man no longer has his face covered and you can clearly see the bearded long-haired visage of the man in the helmet. Secondly the dead Paxton Fettel has returned complete with the bullet hole to the head that you gave them in the first game. Players will have the ability to play as both the point man and Fettel and the hope for co-op play was clearly in place during early play test. While the Point Man relies on bullet time and a dazzling array of weaponry to get his point across, Fettel has an unholy arsenal of supernatural abilities at his disposal.
Of course with Alma and her deadly psycho-kinetic abilities as well as the ever-present forces of the Armacham Corporation, players are in for one hell of a ride.
The segment I played involved going through an unnerving houses and spooky woods complete with the series’ signature horror flashbacks where the guns did all the talking. When I needed greater firepower, I was able to put on a Mech Suit and start my Power Walker through a home unleashing full and deadly battery upon anything that was unfortunate enough to cross my path.
I’ve been a big fan of the series since the multi-play press day prior to the first game’s release that hinted at something special. When the game was released, I was not disappointed. The gripping action and setting combined with the creep factor of the game definitely made it stand out and keep my attention. While two add-on packs for the game were entertaining in their own right they didn’t quite match the original and thankfully when F.E.A.R. 2 was finally released I was given more of the great game play that I loved from the first game albeit, unfortunately, with the annoying checkpoint save system which has become so common.
From what I’ve seen F.E.A.R. 3 has a lot of potential. The designers clearly were not content to simply rehash what had been done before and gave us some new levels and weapons. They are ambitiously attempting to stay true to the look, tone, and theme of the previous games while incorporating many new features that are a lot more than a cosmetic upgrade.