PS3 Reviews: F.E.A.R. 3 Review

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F.E.A.R. 3 Review

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Graphics:

 

7.7

Gameplay:

 

8.5

Sound:

 

8.0

Control:

 

8.2

Replay Value:

 

8.4

Online Gameplay:

 

8.6

Overall Rating:       8.3

 

 

Publisher:

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Developer:

Day 1 Studios

Number Of Players:

1-4

Genre:

FPS

From the start, the F.E.A.R. series has blended FPS and horror elements into an intoxicating concoction. The titles in question aren’t always technically superior and have often been criticized for being too short, but the dark, creepy storylines and mesmerizing atmospheres usually managed to carry the day. The third installment follows these guidelines but takes a few more steps in the right direction: this includes the added longevity thanks to co-op, another playable character for the campaign, and refreshing multiplayer modes. Furthermore, despite a few obvious drawbacks, the game is well worth playing from a solo perspective.

While it’s unfortunate that F.E.A.R. 3 utilizes a dated visual presentation, developer Day 1 Studios gets a surprising amount of mileage out of that engine. These days, shooters are more “voluptuous;” they are bigger, rounder, more intricately detailed, and more realistic. These graphics are flatter, thinner, and lack definition; i.e., they remind me of spruced-up Half-Life graphics. However, I don’t want to give the wrong impression: the devs do a hell of a lot with this style, as the level design is good, there’s a really impressive amount of effort involved with the special effects, and you’re always sucked into the environment. It’s just plain freaky.

In regards to the sound, the voice performances are solid throughout and although the effects don’t quite resonate the way they should, this game often puts stereos to the test. The ambient background effects are stellar and enhance the creepiness. The soundtrack is also fitting, but I do believe it insists upon itself a little too often; it demands to be a highlight – and it often is – but I think it overshoots at times. This all being said, when you combine the effective technical presentation, with some seriously wacked-out imagery, great design concepts, and audio that keeps you on the edge of your seat, F.E.A.R. 3 becomes difficult to put down.

Make no mistake: despite the horror themes, this game is a shooter first and foremost. But that’s not a bad thing, because it’s a really well-paced, appropriately frightening adventure that sports a few surprising bonuses. You play as Point Man (the protagonist from the original title in the franchise) and you and Fettel set off to discover your terrifying pasts, and stop the evil Alma from giving birth to a destructive abomination. Those familiar with this series know all about Alma and I won’t go into exhaustive detail concerning the plot; no spoilers here! Let’s just say the story, with the assistance of horror guru John Carpenter, is nicely implemented and often riveting during key sequences.

The game plays like most any other shooter, although along with the dated technical elements comes a slightly dated mechanic. I don’t want to pick on it too much, though, as the basic controls and physics are more than acceptable, and there’s a pleasant fluidity to the gameplay. The default button layout is just a tad strange but it isn’t difficult to adapt, although the difficulty itself might catch a few gamers off guard. The truth is, because the game is designed to be enjoyed by both a solo player and a two-player tandem, the single-player quest is a significant challenge. The good news is that such a challenge doesn’t feel cheap or irritating; it’s simply tough, and you have to rise to the challenge.

In order to spice up this essentially straightforward FPS, the team has instituted several features: the first is the atmosphere and artistic style, which really can’t be overstated in terms of importance. The second is a Challenge system that governs character advancement: completing various Challenges – getting so many kills with a certain weapon, staying in cover for a particular amount of time, achieving so many headshots, etc. – nets you points, and those points act as experience. When you have enough, you’ll Rank Up and reap the rewards; it could be an elongated slo-mo bar or bigger clip size; things like that.

And yes, that’s the third major feature, even if it’s not exactly fresh in this day and age- the slo-mo. By pressing the Triangle button, you enable this mode, which lets you easily target enemies and lay waste to small armies of gun-toting baddies. It’s not the innovative, crowd-pleasing mechanic it used to be, but it’s plenty functional and a good deal of fun. The fourth and last feature is the fact that, upon completing a level with Point Man, you can then play through again as Fettel. And no, it’s not the same experience; Fettel has possession abilities so things can go absolutely bonkers. Hence, those 8 stages sort of become 16. Sort of.

In addition to the satisfying campaign, which can also be played co-op locally or online, there’s the multiplayer. Normally, I don’t care much about it but F.E.A.R. 3 has a lot of surprises in store. There can be only four players but the distinctness and uniqueness of the modes makes up for that. Take F***ing Run, for instance: you and your team have to run from a ceaseless wave of enemies and smoke; it’s a frantic dash to safety. Then there’s Soul King, which is all about possessing people to gain the advantage, and Soul Survivor, where one player is secretly made into a ghost, and can possess other players. That one guy has to turn his three teammates undead before time runs out.

It’s really cool stuff and that’s saying something, coming from me. I’ve just become so bored with so much of the multiplayer in recent shooters, you know? Now, F.E.A.R. 3 certainly has its moments, as you might expect, but there are problems. First of all, that aforementioned challenge can get on one’s nerves after a while. Then there’s the crack-shot AI. Now, for the record, that AI in the campaign is surprisingly bright; they’ll flank and assault your position on a routine basis. This makes for a dynamic and difficult experience, but because they will always hit you even if you stick your nose around a corner; you have to be extremely cautious. And this detracts from the fun a little bit.

The camera could also get all crazy in certain situations, but only when lodged in a cramped space and that was rare. Tossing grenades is nowhere near accurate enough, either, and the frequent onslaught of enemies can grow tiresome. This repetitiveness hampers the freshness of the game’s style and attitude, too. Still, Day 1 breaks up the action and lets you breathe here and there and as I said before, the pacing – for both the gameplay and story – is really damn good. I suppose one could also complain more about the outdated graphical effort but personally, I’m not counting that deficiency as a critical error. The game succeeds in painting a certain picture.

And that picture is plain: fear. Er…F.E.A.R. This third entry has a lot going for it and fans of the series should be pleased. The extra longevity with Fettel as a playable character and those awesome multiplayer modes makes the $60 price tag more agreeable. The controls are tight and responsive, the story is well-written and intriguing, that continuous fear factor is a huge bonus, and the Challenge system for ranking up forces you to experiment. I’m not the biggest fan of forced experimentation but in this case, it works beautifully. The technical stuff is a little old-fashioned, the AI never misses a shot, and the difficulty and enemy waves can get exhausting.

Those latter shortcomings keep F.E.A.R. 3 from being an elite, top-tier production. But they’re certainly not enough to keep me from recommending it. Give it a try. Come on, there’s nothing really pressing for a while, right?

The Good: Effective, spine-tingling sound. Smooth, reliable controls. Decent storyline. Pacing is excellent. Atmosphere is very immersive. Extra longevity is very appreciated. Multiplayer is a definite plus.

The Bad: Dated technical foundation. Tossing grenades is iffy. AI never misses a shot. Difficulty and enemy onslaught can get tedious.

The Ugly: “Well, there’s a ton of ‘ugly,’ but that’s sorta the point.”

6/21/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (37 posts)

JackDillinger89
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 9:40:02 PM
Reply

Am i the only one who truly thought fear 1 multiplayer was the best out of the series?

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Temjin001
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 9:46:31 PM

Jack, I think you've made enough posts for the day ;)
That business you did over there on the CoD thread was excessive =p

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

sha4dowknight05
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 12:00:46 AM

Wasn't his fault, kinda have to blame the ps3's browser this time!

However F.E.A.R 3 looks like it changed a lot from F.E.A.R 2 Project Origin.

I was always interested in the F.E.A.R series just never got to playing them.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

JMO_INDY
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 1:27:38 AM

In hopes that you'll see this jack, I would like to formally apologize for the COD thread. I don't know if you have ever tried loading an article on here on an i-Pod -_- only to find out there are now 130 something comments, then find out a lot of them are a repeat comment. Sifting through that kind of mess on an i-Pod takes forever to scroll through, my finger was practically falling off and I was annoyed to say the least. So again I apologize for any name calling.

Agree with this comment 7 up, 4 down Disagree with this comment

sha4dowknight05
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 6:10:15 AM

In regards your older comment.

I really don't give damn if you were here longer then me?

What does that prove to anybody?

I don't see how it could be noobish not being here as long?

This is a discussion site not a game.

If I remember correctly this isn't the only time an incident like this has happened from the likes of you.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

JMO_INDY
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 6:56:29 AM

Well describing a noob would be someone who is new at something, so it was relevant. You will also notice I owned up to it each time and I apologized accordingly for the outbursts, so really I don't care if you accept an apology not meant for you, because it's just that... not meant for you. Don't butt in on someone else's business, even if you are defending him, I apologized to HIM, so you should accept that fact and move on.

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sha4dowknight05
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 8:14:09 AM

Yeah your right, but I had to respond to that last one.

Just that last one on your other post.

That's all I was trying to say.


Last edited by sha4dowknight05 on 6/22/2011 8:16:18 AM

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JMO_INDY
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 8:22:56 AM

Fair enough... time we move on. No need to drag this out.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 9:55:16 PM
Reply

I played through the original game on PC. Yeah, it was hot stuff back then, brought any graphics card to it's knees.
It had some pretty impressive AI and particle effects then.
I felt the game took too long to get to the good morbid stuff. But when it did, it was pretty memorable.
I never took the time to play FEAR2. Maybe someday

FEAR3 looks to be respectable at a solid 8.3

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 10:12:12 PM

Yeah? what kind of rig would I need to run it?

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Nickjcal
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 12:07:46 AM

I just ordered it today and got 20 bucks in Amazon credit. Goin for the championship in hockey nationals tomorrow so that's my reward. Being scared shitless when I get home haha

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Temjin001
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 9:32:33 AM

World, I played it with a Nvidia 7800GT, Athlon XP 3500, and 2GB of RAM (a PC from like 5-6 years ago).
I'd imagine any relatively modern computer today with a $80-$100 graphics card could run it pretty nice.

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SayWord
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 9:59:48 PM
Reply

I had to choose between this or shadows of the damned. Chose shadows of the damned of course and boy was it worth it! The music alone is worth the purchase. ^^

Last edited by SayWord on 6/21/2011 10:02:11 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 10:13:11 PM

Hows the graphics and what game is the gameplay most like?

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SayWord
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 10:30:28 PM

Well the graphics are nice nothing to special; however the graphics are extremely detailed. There are a few technical flaws as in major pop up with the graphics but nothing game breaking. Gameplay is similar to RE4 and 5 except you can move while aiming and even dodge.

Last edited by SayWord on 6/21/2011 10:32:05 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 3:19:23 AM

thanks word, just wanted to make sure my trailer impressions were in line. I'd like to play it at a later date

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Frenchy17
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 11:12:23 PM
Reply

Sweet great review as usual. Picked it up with that 2 for $50 ToysRUs deal so I feel great about it now!

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Gordo
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 11:14:03 PM
Reply

Had the original FEAR on PS3... Graphics were PS2 quality, it was quite spooky wandering around dark corridors all the time and there were these b*stard invisible ninja enemies that were a total pain...

The gunplay and enemy AI however was excellent.
This looks kinda similar...

Not a full price purchase mind you...

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TheManOfAction
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 11:23:04 PM
Reply

IMO I think the first FEAR really captured that supernatural atmosphere and that the second and now the third just doesn't have that same feeling anymore. I'm still getting it because I just like horror and also I played the other two lmao.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @ 11:59:16 PM
Reply

Except for those invisible acrobatic ninja things that Gordo just said, and along with one flamethrowing AI in particular that kept turning me into 190 pounds of smoked pork butt, I loved F1 &F2.

Now that I'm out of work though, sadly I'll have to wait for either a great deal on it, or after a big price drop, or one of those B2-G1F used deals.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 2:42:35 AM

How would you rate F1 compared to F2? I never got F1 cause it was too low on Gamerankings, but seeing how I love F2 (and, I'm sure, F3 too) I may want to get F1 too to complete the collection.

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leatherface
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 4:04:24 AM

Biker, as Frenchy17 mentioned above, Toys r us is having a buy 2 for $50 on selected games and F.E.A.R 3 is one of them. I'm gonna pick up L.A. Noire and Mortal Kombat! The selected games are Brink, F.3.A.R, Mortal Kombat, Call of Duty: Black Oops, L.A. Noire, and Portal. Sale ends this Sat.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 9:38:00 PM

leatherface,

Thanks for the info, but I'm flat broke right now & my truck just died on me, so now it's costing me an unexpected $400 to replace the fuel pump inside the tank(second one in 12 months).

Ah what the hell......
If my unemployment check comes by this Fri or Sat, I'll just be late on another bill, and Fear3, Brink, COD, & probably Portal will be mine.

I really want LA Noire most of all off of that list but since I think it will become a GOTY version later on, then I'd rather just wait it out to get all the additional DLC for free.
And that's the same reason I've been waiting Red Dead Redemption out too, as I hate paying for extra DLC.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 1:54:48 AM
Reply

"Well, there’s a ton of ‘ugly,’ but that’s sorta the point." -> LOL!

I am *so* getting this one. This is one of the games this year I crossed my fingers for but did not dare to get my hopes too high. I *love* Fear 2, still playing it, but many times I've though
- "damn if this game only had coop so I could share these moments with a buddy".
Now with F3 I can!

/me do the happy dance


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/22/2011 2:06:56 AM

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 2:03:16 AM
Reply

I played through the original, but never really enjoyed it for some reason. This actually really tempted me, but against Shadows of the Damned, I'm not really sure. I'd really like to try it out at some point though. I want scary.

And what you talking about a lull? You've got the Splinter Cell Trilogy out soon, that'll last a while, then Catherine and El Shaddai before the big ones start hitting again with Deus Ex. Lull indeed...
Peace.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 10:18:50 AM

Yup. Lull. ;)

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 2:20:07 AM
Reply

John Carpenter and Steve Niles chat about F.E.A.R. 3



See the video here:

http://www.destructoid.com/john-carpenter-amnd-steve-niles-chat-about-f-e-a-r-3-203907.phtml

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___________
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 4:01:06 AM
Reply

so, hows the horror factor?
is it a scary moody supernatural game like the original, or more of a mindless action game like fear 2?
the original scared the f*cking pants off of me!
everytime i saw a ladder i would cringe because i could see myself getting to the top, the camera dipping to show me leaving, then rising back up to see paxton sitting there staring at me.
or the maternity ward, where the room fills with blood then you turn around and alma is slowly walking towards ya.
that game was so freaking memorable, i can almost recite every minute of it!
only minute i can remember from fear 2 is when your fighting with that prick in a arms struggle and end up forcing his shotgun up to his chin and blowing his head off!
never has a game made me laugh so hard!
i want to believe its like the original, a moody atmospheric scary game, but i just cant.
every trailer i have seen, and the fact that theres no demo has screamed mindless action game to me!
not releasing till next week here, gotta love how they wait 1 day before release to delay a game!
oh well, gives me time to finish shadows and ape escape.
hope the latters not a crappy mini game compilation like ps move heros was!
almost pissed my pants when i saw my favorite mascots were returning in one game!
........ then i played the demo and saw it was a crappy mini game compilation.
:(

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bigrailer19
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 3:31:41 PM
Reply

Does the local and online co-op campaign support 1-4 players or just the online competitive mp portion? I guess what I'm asking is howany friends can I play through the campaign with locally or online?

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rogers71
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 6:18:46 PM

Only 2 players can play the co-op campaign. You only have 2 characters to choose from so it wouldn't make sense to have 4 players playing and having 2 point mans running around.

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bigrailer19
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 6:52:29 PM

Thanks you good sir, I didn't know that, that's why I asked.

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SolidFantasy
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 6:56:12 PM
Reply

I heard so little about this game. It sounds pretty good. Maybe not the most original idea, but if it isn't broken don't fix it (yet). I bet the game artist and story board had a fun time with this one.

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JackDillinger89
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 11:34:10 PM
Reply

I rented it last night at blockbuster and im bout almost done. Its not a bad game im just hesitant to own due to the 4 player max (heavily cod inspired nazi zombie style modes) Out of 4 modes 2 were locked out cuz of that online pass bs. I miss the more hectic competitiveness that fear 1 had, like capture the flag etc.that was a classic. If your into co-op based multiplayer like nazi zombies more than competitiveness fear3 may be worth your $$$.

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Beamboom
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 8:47:39 AM
Reply

Playing the campaign coop with a buddy now and it works really well. The cut scenes and "single play content" is still there in coop, as opposed to some other games who just jump right into the action, missing the entire narrative.

This is storyline coop done the proper way.

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Geobaldi
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:06:44 PM
Reply

Bought mine yesterday and jumped right into the co-op campaign with a friend. Pretty fun game for the most part, but still lacking the scares the original one had. Fettel makes this game worth the price of admission on his own.

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Beamboom
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 12:16:22 PM

Yes he's AWESOME to play, isn't he!! LOVE it, especially "jumping" into the enemies. The next game could be JUST about him and I'd pre-order it immediately.

Regarding the scares, I've only played the second prior to this, but this time I think it's almost *too* theatrical, it becomes almost like a scary funpark. However, playing coop with a friend makes everything less scary regardless, so they should perhaps compensate for that by making it even scarier. Although... Then single player would be unbearable, wouldn’t it? ;D


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/23/2011 12:18:07 PM

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startazz
Thursday, June 23, 2011 @ 1:18:16 PM
Reply

I've enjoyed both fear games so far and have fear 3 on pre order,so i'll be playing it tomorrow with a bit of luck ;-)

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