the Andrew Bailey

First Encounter Assault Recon (F.E.A.R.)

Back when I started hardcore gaming, as opposed to just being casual, the first FEAR game came out. It was meant to be a horror game, but I didn't find it all too scary. It was also meant to be a series, but I didn't have much willpower to get the subsequent games, until a little while ago, thanks to the Humble Bundle.

Screenshot of FEAR, showing 3 bloody skeletons on the floor

FEAR puts you into yet another pair of shoes of a special forces operative. The game opens with the bad guy taking control of an army, and takes an immediate turn towards the paranormal by having him eat people. You run around a sewage treatment plant trying to find this guy (which is your objective throughout most of the game). After that, you are taken to a government contractor's offices, where you investigate what's going on, meanwhile pissing off, and being pissed off by that guy. You learn that some very weird shit went down in the past, and that your character was somehow a part of it. A secret underground lab is discovered, so you go over there and run around some more, where you finally get the bastard. Then all hell breaks loose.

I have heard people say (or have friends that) they will only play games like these during the day with a light on. I've always found games like these much less terrifying. There's a lot of blood everywhere (sometimes dripping), and there's this little girl that haunts you, and has a tendency to dissolve all the fleshy parts off people. There are several flashbacks, mostly involving childbirth and walking down a hallway. Every time I was walking down a hallway, I would say to myself: "I bet you that..."

FEAR was a pretty game when it came out. At the highest settings, the game has a very high contrast color palette, with sharp edged shadows. I remember being wowed by the bullet holes left everywhere, as they seemed to have quite a bit of depth to them. It's only now, several years later, that I realize that it was the first instance I saw of parallax mapping. I remember seeing it in Oblivion, especially with the enhanced texture mods, but FEAR came out a year earlier (2005 versus 2006), and the effect is much more noticeable here.

I guess the bottom line is that I would not recommend FEAR to anyone, even people who like to be scared, unless they only play them during the day. Even though it posits itself as a horror game, it's more like a psycological thriller game (like Alan Wake) with a strong paranormal twist. Wait, Alan Wake did have a paranormal twist to it... oh well.

Posted under Gaming.

No new comments may be posted for this article at this time.