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Friday, July 22, 2011

Video Game Reviews: FEAR 3

8.0 out of 10

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While waiting for something good to come out (I'm not renting the Captain America game-based-on-the-movie), I thought I'd take a chance on FEAR 3 even though I haven't played the first two games. I did this primarily because 1) I like scary games and B) I like first-person shooters enough to give pretty much anything a try.

So I did it, and I found myself enjoying myself immensely. In fact, it's entirely possible that not playing the first two games added a little extra sense of enjoyment to the entire outing. The premise is a little convoluted, from what I read beforehand: basically this guy with psychic powers was sexually assaulted by a crazy super-psychic gal named Alma and now she's pregnant. Also, this guy's brother has powers and he's a cannibal, but don't worry because before this game started, this guy shot his brother in the head. But his brother isn't dead, and so now they're working together in FEAR 3 to stop Alma.

That's the premise when the game starts. Simple enough, right?

The game plays well. The graphics aren't great, but they're close enough to create a great scary atmosphere. Lots of blood, too, and a few scary moments too. Even something as simple as a twisted tree, or a bloody cell, or even a spider web ... all of it looks as if the developers really made thoughtful choices for everything they decided to do.

The psychic powers are fun, too. I won't give too much away, but suffice it to say you'll find yourself with a leg-up on your enemies, and your powers recharge (rather than, say, collecting a finite amount of "ammo") so you can always rely on using something other than your guns or hands. How does this affect the gameplay? Well, for starters it allows for some real creative moments. I especially enjoyed toying with my slow-mo power early on, trying to take down more than a few guys before the power dried up.

Still, your psychic powers aren't so powerful that you'll have an extremely easy time getting through the stickier situations, which can get a little intense. The enemies aren't incredibly smart, but they aren't idiots, either, and if you're new to the first-person shooter world, you might find yourself occasionally flanked in a frustrating sort of way.

But it's the good kind of frustrating. While it's possible to play the game with two players co-op, I think that might take away a little from the scary moments. This game demands darkness.

FEAR 3 gets a little tiring toward the end, the graphics are slightly outdated and some of the scares are over the top. But regardless of the nitpicking, it's a satisfying game that you can jump into even if you're not up-to-date on the previous games. And it's a lot better than renting Captain America.
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