• I couldn’t wait for the release of F.E.A.R. on the PC as I have a close connection to the game. Back in January 2005 I was able to work with the games publisher in the United States and exclusively showcase the multiplayer aspect of the game to a number of well known celebrities such as James Woods and Elijah Woods at the Sundance Film Festival 2005. When I heard the game was going to be released on the Xbox 360 I was overwhelmed with joy as I could just imagine the numerous slow-mo combat fights I could be having with friends over Xbox Live.

    Before I go into the actual gameplay, graphics or level design, I really have to say this so you’ll understand: from the emotional evoking intro-sequence with its soaring soundtrack laden atmosphere, to the gloriously executed in-game audio inserts, the game never fails to send a chill up my spine.

    The game itself is based around you, a member of a super secret combat response unit named First Contact Assault Recon or F.E.A.R. As the game opens, you start to realise that some funky events are starting to unfold, and as you progress through the game, flashbacks, or lucid dreams occur, where you’ll see souls wondering through tunnels or Alma herself and if you’re playing with the lights off this game will scare the living shit out of you.

    F.E.A.R.

    The control mechanics are based on the now standard configuration of left and right analogue to move and rotate the camera, with reload assigned to the X button and action controls applied when holding the X button also. It feels much better for quick control situation than in most FPS of our time, and certainly a welcome change. A weighty but responsible camera improves as you progress, with health and reflex boosters dotted around the various environments. You’ll need these, because as the action gets hot, you’ll have to think about how you’re tackling enemies and plan on the fly how to overcome ambushes.

    The ability to take cover and use the environment will also keep you on your toes, and just as you think you’ve got everything together, Alma comes and well, you get the idea by now.

    Each weapon you come across will serve a purpose in differing situations, by choosing the right one per encounter can often lead to getting your ass handed to you with a sign saying “thank you, please try again”. Not something you’ll want to write home about or tell your friends about. The game’s well balanced learning curve will guide you along at your own pace. Experienced players will be more able to pick up and play, whilst novices might take a few minutes to get acquainted. So, there are the basics of the game, but how does it differ from PC version?

    Well, there’s a new instant action mode for the Xbox 360, featuring four maps with four difficulty settings. I’ll stick a paw out in the wind and say it might be a tad too difficult for novices, even on low difficulty settings to jump straight in, so a good stab at the campaign wouldn’t go amiss before attempting the beautifully designed ‘Roopftop’ map.

    A best-seller on PC last year, the game has had a slight overhaul in the graphics department, with some extra shiny concrete walls (they’re not like this in real life) and some really detailed lighting and particle effects. Cold corridors and sparse alleyways await you around every corner, designed specifically to give the feeling of claustrophobia. Even the animations of Alma are frighteningly realistic, which adds an extra dimension to realism to the game.

    The graphics are a means to and end of the game, as the suspense is the driver, but it’s driving a sleek black, shiny bump mapped Subaru. F.E.A.R is definitely one to show off your HDTV.

    The atmosphere and the incidental music inserts evoke. Each small detail has been painstakingly worked on and crafted in a way that gives the game an air of simple and shining beauty. This Christmas sees the release of many games, and with all things considered, F.E.A.R is a diamond in the rough. F.E.A.R. will immense you in a terrifying experience as you unravel the mystery. Overall, F.E.A.R. is a worth while purchase and will keep you entertained and scared for hours on end.

    Score: 9/10

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