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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Xbox 360
PUBLISHER:
Vivendi Games
DEVELOPER:
Day 1 Studios
GENRE: First Person Shooter
PLAYERS:   1-16
RELEASE DATE:
October 31, 2006
ESRB RATING:
Mature


IN THE SERIES
F.E.A.R. 3

F.E.A.R. 3

F.E.A.R. 3

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

More in this Series
 Written by Nick Doukas  on September 20, 2006

Hands-On Preview: Alma's coming to get you...


In just a short while Xbox 360 owners will get a chance to experience the extraordinary shooter F.E.A.R. Having recently spent some time with the demo disc I have to say ? F.E.A.R for the 360 is going to be the definitive FPS experience that PC gamers have enjoyed for months now. F.E.A.R plays and looks like a combat fan's wet dream, and with several amazing weapons at your disposal, as well as extremely intelligent foes and an incredible bullet-time feature, you'll be hard-pressed to put this down once you start playing.

As the demo opens, you're in the passenger seat of a government cruiser, riding towards a huge water-treatment plant where Paxton Fettel (the insane psychic leader of a large clone army) is holed up with his minions. At the drop off point, you'll find yourself armed with a pistol and sub-machine gun ? a hole in the fence clearly your egress point from the alley onto the plant grounds. As you make your way into a large courtyard you'll notice fantastic real-time shadows and incredibly realistic lighting effects. Steam rises lazily from a nearby vent, and razor-sharp textures wrap around the environment with startling clarity. Several large cargo containers dominate the area and it's just a short hop up a flight of stairs into another alleyway, where a ladder beckons you down into the depths of the facility. Several swinging, swaying ceiling lights give the whole area an incredibly creepy ambiance. Climbing down you come across another dark corridor ? time to use your flashlight. Unfortunately, things get kind of weird at this point ? time slows to a crawl, rats rush at you from the blackness, and Alma ? the creepy little demon girl who seems to be aiding Fettel (or maybe not) darts across your field of vision. Just as quickly, she vanishes, and you make your way deeper into the maze of buildings and sub-structures ? to your first combat encounter.

Two soldiers ? fantastic looking character models of mercs armored, and armed, to the teeth ? impede your path through the area; a large catwalk where one guard patrols, while the other is tucked away in the adjoining office. Of course, you can kick in your slow-motion move here by tapping the left bumper (tap again to exit) and let all hell break loose ? toss a N6A3 frag grenade into the office, shattering the glass with a visible sonic boom, and shred the guard on the catwalk with round after incredible looking round (complete with slo-mo contrails) from your G2A2 assault rifle. There are a myriad of different ways to approach any given firefight, and the enemy AI is fantastic in this regard, flanking you, diving and rolling, coordinating attacks on you (it's really cool to listen to them shout tactics to each other as they advance on your position) and generally putting up a really good fight. As well the physics are incredible, and tearing clone soldiers apart in great gouts of blood and all sorts of other Havok enhanced goodness is insanely fun. Smoke hangs in the air, thick with the stench of cordite, after you've faced down a patrol and plaster flies everywhere during the fight, while tracers bounce and ricochets all around the areas. Overall the combat is simply insane, as every shoot-out takes on all the trappings of the lobby scene from The Matrix. It's really too intense to properly describe ? you have to experience it for yourself.

Throughout the demo you'll come across gruesome scenes ? an office with a blood splattered corpse lying at your feet, a huge splotch of blood on a nearby wall, presumably from where some tremendous force pulverized the victim. You'll find Men with every shred of flesh torn from their bodies, leaving only a gleaming white skeleton swimming in a pool of blood and other assorted creepiness ? things like images of Alma suddenly appearing before you or Paxton Fettel whispering ? ?They all deserve to die? as he instantly manifests and then vanishes into thin-air right before your eyes.

Fortunately, the game provides you with ample fire power. You'll have access to everything from the RPL submachine gun to the 10mm HV Penetrator (a nasty and efficient nail gun) as well as experimental weaponry ? specifically the Type-7 Particle Weapon. This baby fires an electromagnetic pulse beam that vaporizes victims in a flash of blue lightning ? nothing left of them but a blackened skeleton ? truly a one hit kill. You'll also get to use the AT-S Proximity grenade and the vicious VK-12 Combat Shotgun. All the weapons are presented perfectly and the shooting action is seriously some of the best I've ever seen. F.E.A.R is really shaping up to be a classic shooter for the 360 library and a welcome addition.

You can recharge your health by picking up med-kits scattered about the levels, and body armor is available as well. You can also find reflex and health boosters that permanently increase your health bar and bullet-time meter. You also have a cool melee attack which consists of striking a foe with your weapon, or doing a flying jump kick. Both work reasonably well, and we can assume the game will continue to receive polishing right up until the November release date. The demo contains several more very cool combat scenarios, pitting you against as many as 6 clone soldiers at once, all flanking, ducking and attacking with perfect precision. Every fire-fight is an ass-kicking experience in this one, and the full game promises to really deliver hardcore FPS action like never before.

Final Thoughts
I love this game. I really salivated over everything I saw and heard from the PC gamers when the title released initially. Now we're getting a 360 version, and from what I've seen with my hands-on time, this is going to be one perfect port. Stay tuned for a full review of F.E.A.R 360 when the game drops in November.


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