If there was ever a game that struck fear into the heart of the mighty (well, me) then it’s FEAR and I wasn’t sure whether or not to volunteer for the mildly insane role of reviewing FEAR 3. The trilogy has a great selection of flashing images, slippery shadows, discerning lighting and what can only be described as white noise. Mix these all together and you get a chilling cocktail of effects that gives me goose bumps and are the only games to do that to me in over 30 years of gaming.

It’s been a while since I played the first two episodes in  the series and wasn’t sure if I would still be as scared as I was and FEAR 3 does a very good job of making you think everything’s going to be all right. I don’t want to go into the story too much but at the start of the game, Fettel, the dead brother of Point Man helps him escape from Armacham Prison. Alma is pregnant and while the brothers have conflicting ideas on the outcome of this they work together to get to her.

Whilst the brothers work their way toward the epicentre of where Alma is in labour you encounter a number of different situations that keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. The Armacham Prison escape finds angry cell mates and empty cans being thrown in your path which even for a split second can take your eyes off the action. Once you escape and start working through the slums, which is reminiscent of the Rio level in Call of Duty Black Ops, guys start bursting out of doors with shotguns with only one purpose and that’s to blow out your brains.

As I said the first couple of levels don’t offer too much in the way of horror but then when you return to Fairport which is where the whole escapade started in FEAR, that’s when the nappies have to go on and you can only sit and hope that everything you hear isn’t emanating from the cupboard under your stairs.

With modern day FEARmongers it just wouldn’t be the same without getting a go in a mech. I have to admit that it was extremely overpowered and I didn’t die once when in it but I did feel like an unstoppable hero, mowing down anything from man to helicopter within the blink of an eye. Your arsenal in the mech consists of rockets, ground stomps and massively painful bitch slaps and you have to make sure the thing doesn’t overheat or you will have to wait until it cools down before firing again.

Overall the game looks excellent. Often with games that are supposed to instil fear I end up having to increase the brightness so I can get a decent view but I found the lighting to be perfect. Bullet wounds are grotesque followed with a dramatic death and comments like, ‘He’s wiping out the whole squad!’, or, ‘SHIT! He blew my arm off!’.

The AI of the enemy is enjoyable in that they aren’t dumb. Taking cover behind destructible walls and boxes, moving when they’re blown into tiny pieces to an alternate safe haven and dodging or blocking melee attacks are to name but a few satisfying moments against the enemy. If they take too much fire you will see their guns appearing from round corners or over the top of walls blind firing to try and slow you down.

The solo campaign could be criticised because of its length. While it is packed full of an intriguing  storyline it is still only eight chapters short but in its defence there is a HUGE amount of re-playability. FEAR 3 is almost like a RPG as you are scored and gain experience points based on a number of different aspects through each level. These include, aggression,  tactics, aptitude, psychic and target time. At the end of each level you gain kill, time, commando and clean run bonuses. Once you accrue enough experience points you gain a level and increase magazine size, adrenaline time and moves, plus more.

Other perks of the game include a really cool opening scene, a very imaginative background to the menus and if you fall prey to the enemy far too often the ‘resume game’ option goes straight to ‘difficulty level’ where you can drop a level to help you through. To top it all off you can go back through each level playing as Fettel. Fettel allows you to play with a whole new array of very, very shiny toys including possession of enemy soldiers and the down right rude, blowing them up.

When you have had enough of the single player campaign you can join in some multiplayer action. There are several modes available and Day 1 Studios have done an excellent job on them in my opinion.

My favourite so far would have to be Contractions. It’s like a celebration of Horde mode from Gears of War where you have to survive an ever increasing difficulty of enemy waves and Zombie mode from the Call of Duty series as you struggle to rebuild broken down barriers to slow down the enemy. There are weapons lying around each level but you have to be careful because they’re not abundant.







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