OnLive has a whole bunch of trailers for just about all of their games and since they don’t have to buffer down and are playing straight off their server I can randomly click on different ones when I have a free moment and feel like picking my next game to plsy. So I clicked on F.E.A.R. 3 and saw the video featuring Marlyn Manson’s “Four Rusted Horses” and I had to play it. Part of me had no choice, I just knew that was the next game I was going to play and I played it well into the next couple nights.
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Those who played the first couple games have some idea of the storyline unfolding in the F.E.A.R. series, though probably not that much because it has always been a bit odd. Those who haven’t I can tell you in a nutshell what you would need to know to play the game. Point Man, the main character, never talks but is far more brutal than any mime in all of France. A one man killing machine he has the ability to slow time and in the process do amazing damage to all in his path. The one who does all the talking for him is his dead brother, who only he can see, that has a nice bullet hole in his forehead courtesy of Point Man. So the two of them go on a mission together. I won’t say what but it is kind of unique on its own and I am still not really sure the reasoning on the mission. But honestly you really don’t need to know what the reason for the mission only that it brings about amazing gameplay.
It isn’t quite the horror fest the preview promised. Horrible and gory things happen and Paxton Fettel, Point Man’s partner and dead brother, definitely does his share of supernatural and creepy things just as you would expect but it really for the most part is a twisted mess that you walk in on and spend a lot of time cleaning up. At first the less than living things are disturbing and killing them is almost as much reflex as actual thinking. Dead should stay dead and if this rule is broken it is reinforced with lots and lots of weapons. At some point though the battle shifts and becomes more about the evil living than the brain emaciated unliving. It becomes your job to just kill everything that moves and as they get tougher the weapons get tougher and the carnage and explosions get fun rather than creepy. I would at times forget that there even is a threat other than enemy soldiers, then after a big pack of undead would show up and I would forget the soldiers for a little while. Sometimes they will fight each other and you can stand back and watch a moment, even possibly wound one side to help the other only to destroy any that remain. How you kill and when you kill really becomes your choice for the most part with the exception of bosses which seem insanely hard after a buffet of bloodshed, all you can eat, leading right up to them. I would fly through a level then hit the boss and get stuck for quite a while, having to figure out strategies and approaches when I was used to just going forward and shooting all that moved. I’m not complaining about either aspect of the gameplay, they both have merits I like a lot, but I think it might be easier if the enemies ramp up to the bosses a bit rather than slaughter this, slaughter that, what just tore me in half?
You get to use some other vehicles here and there that are a welcome change and, if you are careful with their usage, can last you a while and do massive amounts of destruction to pretty much everything in sight. They will put things out there that can be the equal to your vehicle so you need to pay attention but I still loved every minute in them. A part of me didn’t want to give up the vehicle when I had to but after a few uses of the different weapons and attacks I had with Point Man I was back to having fun with interesting combos.
Single player is excellent but multiplayer has some very solid points too. You are able to attack soldiers in Fettel form where you throw globs of what I guess would be painful protoplasm at them or, more fun, take of their bodies and start tearing through them on the way to the other players. This is a deathmatch but with a twist because if you are good and quick enough the bodies you occupy may die but you will live on in another. This dynamic actually reminded me of [The 3rd Birthday] where you were an agent sent back in time to possess soldiers at major moments of battle and the key was always to jump right before death. Same goes with this multiplayer version. The co-op multiplayer is actually pretty similar to Uncharted 3’s multiplayer that you can revive other players in your group if you are close enough to them to make the save but whereas Uncharted had a pool of lives to work with if your whole team wipes it’s game over. Both are a blast to play but I really liked the Fettel form deathmatch which is funny because co-op usually wins out with me.
F.E.A.R. 3 is a great game with good atmosphere which slips a little but excellent gameplay all the way whether you are playing by yourself, co-op or multiplayer. The single player campaign has a good length and the co-op and multiplayer can go time and time again. I heard it was a bit choppy at times on some systems, especially the voice chat, but on OnLive on both the PC and the console it was extremely smooth. If I haven’t convince you to purchase it you can rent it from OnLive for $5.99 for 3 days or $8.99 for 5 days and you never have to return a game since you are playing on their server. If you are unsure about OnLive that is a good way to check it out anyways, you just sign up, pick your rental and you are playing F.E.A.R. 3 without the fear of late fees.