FEAR 3 PC Review
Crudity is a recurring problem for FEAR 3, actually. It doesn't matter whether you're playing single player, multiplayer or co-op, FEAR 3 always tackles it in the most direct and unsubtle manner. Painfully manufactured monologues crop up in pre-rendered cutscenes, which appear for the first time in the series, while the Point Man's face is finally revealed to be that of a bearded hobo.
Not just any bearded hobo, mind. He's an angry, mute hobo; far too furious to deliver a single line of exposition about why he's working with the ghost of his murdered brother, or what he's going to do when he finally catches up with his psychic mother.
That's about the extent of the story, by the way. Point Man and his ghostly brother are running back home to mother, although what they actually plan to do when they get there remains ambiguous for most of the journey. It's simple and basic, but developer Day One is apparently so lacking in confidence about your ability to follow it that it prefaces each mission with briefing text after every cutscene.
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Meanwhile, the multiplayer demonstrates a similar crudity and lack of confidence; a fact best summed up by one game mode in particular, dubbed ‘F**king Run', which sees players working as a team to clear a path through hordes of enemies in order to escape an approaching wave of destruction.
F**king Run is, like all the multiplayer modes in FEAR 3, a lot of fun to play. The constant pressure of the wave at your backs gives each match an urgency and drive that elevates it above other co-op modes, at least in tone. It's inventive and interesting, and it isn't the only multiplayer mode in FEAR 3 that feels that way. However, that just makes the crassness of the name and the generic design of most of the maps even more of a pain; it's such a good idea that should clearly feel better than the reality, or at least like less of a guilty pleasure.
Fortunately, underneath all the needless swearing and the increasingly hole-ridden plot, FEAR 3's gory scaffolding is sound. It's easy to look at FEAR 3 and point out where it's trying too hard or where it fails to live up to its full potential, but it's hard to say that these factors make it a bad game. It isn't
a bad game.
The reason for this is, again, the violence and the feel of enacting that violence. Shooting enemies in FEAR 3 is a lot of fun, especially when you can slow the game down to such a degree that you can appreciate every moment of it individually. The returning mecha-robots and the steadily unlocked hand-to-hand moves add yet more appeal on top of that, and the co-operative campaign, while basic, is a cherry on the cake.
It's still ultimately disappointing that FEAR 3 isn't at all scary, and that it cheapens itself with attention-grabbing swearing, which drags down the experience – and the score. Yet these disappointing elements don't wholly diminish the pleasure of playing in FEAR 3's hyper-violent sandbox.
Gunplay that is this fluid – Run! Slide under obstacles! Jump! Slow-mo! Shoot those grenades! Kick that guy! – takes a long time to get old. Those hoping for a sophisticated and thrilling horror will be severely disappointed, but those who'll be happy with just a quite good shooter will be pleasantly surprised indeed.