History of F.E.A.R.
The F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) series has been a personal favorite of mine since its announcement in 2005. Its story surrounding the mysterious, tortured girl “Alma”, has always been painstakingly terrifying, morbid, and unsettling even to the most emotionless gamers. Monolith had successfully put players of F.E.A.R. in a dreamlike, euphoric state of impending panic only defeatable with an exaggerated sense of humor.
Now, Aeria Games and Warner Brothers Entertainment have developed yet another new installment unrelated to, but based on the original trilogy. With this, they hope to allow its story to live on in our hearts and the minds of desensitized folk all over the world.
Before we delve into this game, we must first explore the reason for why the original story has essentially ended. In 2010, Warner Bros. announced that F.3.A.R. (Fear 3) was being developed by Day 1 Studios. Many of us who played Fear one and two were VERY excited until we started reading about the game’s new concepts of “Psionic powers” being made available to the player character. “Psionic” is just a relative term for superpowers… Once the game was released, our skepticism was proved necessary. With an all-time low PC metascore of 74, it was a series destroying release.
“Psionic powers” were what Alma used to bend the minds of everyone around her. Since the original F.E.A.R., the player has also had a “Slow-mo” (superior reflexes). This was an AWESOME way to conceptualize the player/antagonist relationship and provide a very cinematic experience. However, introduced in the third installment, telekinesis, possession, among other powers were made available to the player. (Thanks for the effort WB, but you’re attempting to copy Bioshock. Nobody likes desperation.)
From the first look, Fear online, like combat arms or soldier front, is absolutely awful. Graphics are beyond outdated for a shooter. Weapons have massive balance issues, and hit-boxes are completely unrealistic with blood splatter that makes accuracy difficult. F.E.A.R. Combat (another online title also released around the plot of FEAR) is better than this without even continuing.
Beginning with the graphics, environment, and movement, you cannot vault, you cannot open doors or interact with anything unless you are playing PvE. Landscaping feels like it’s from 2002. Sprinting feels very slow due to the strange scaling of the maps. Each map sort of seems like a paused moment in the fear series. You will find invisible walls. You will find random points of the map that may scare you…Maybe. You will get stuck on objects that you jump on.
As I mentioned before, hitboxes and weapon balance is horrible if not non-existent. Crosshairs and close ranged combat seem to dominate mid to long range combat using sights. Spray and pray is effective. In the very least, reload times are realistic-ish. There is a weapon called an impact hammer, which is relatively underpowered, and a triple impact hammer that is a one shot kill in almost all situations. There is no way to restore armor or health in PvP.
Side arms are useless because you will never live long enough to use it and the same can be said for weapon drops on death. And let’s not forget the possibility of spawn camping which was thought to be long gone in shooters. All in all, F.E.A.R. Combat has gameplay that is FAR more superior in contrast to this title.
I honestly want to be at the meeting where the staff is coming up with ideas to implement into the game that requires no thought or creativity whatsoever. One guy stands up and says, “Uh, let’s make a crafting system”. WHY?! Why did you make a crafting system?! It is so unbelievably unnecessary! As you play through PvP and PvE game modes and complete “dailies” you will come across blueprints and crafting materials to create weapons with. Alongside this pointless crafting system, you may also receive one day use of weapons from winning a game. Oh, also, there are only 7 weapons to craft.
What were super powers in F.3.A.R are now passive buffs in F.E.A.R. Online. You start with the “frag proof” psionic which reduces damage from grenades by 50% (You still get killed by them in one hit). You can also get one that restores health once you fall below 30%. There are several other equally useless psionics that seem to exist only for show.
If you’d like to reminisce over past moments of F.E.A.R. you may play a very ‘un-frightening’ version of a classic story that consists of defusing and planting bombs and killing hoards of zombie-like monsters called “Abominations” which move very quickly and come alone and in hordes. You can tell they just add more and more of these to add “Challenge” to the game. (If you want to call it that)
If the game wasn’t already bland enough, they also have a clan system which allows you to do matchmaking exclusively against other clanships. There isn’t really anything else to say about this game mode.
This game does not deserve to borrow the F.E.A.R title. Another expected release from Aeria Games to further their atrocious career as a third-rate game development company. The one and only thing you really need to know about this game is that it wasn’t developed by Monolith, but rather, Inplay Interactive. Inplay Interactive is a low-quality Russian development team. So make sure you add them to your list of “Do not play” developers!
It is never surprising to hear that a third rate developer has created a money making title at the expense of a loyal fan base. Aeria has never been very popular when it comes to developing well-designed games and F.E.A.R Online is no different. The advertisements around this game most likely had more thought and time put into them than the game itself.
After this release, we must take a moment of silence for F.E.A.R. We had good times when you were a child. Sadly, you’re all grown up. You flunked out of college. You got into a bad crowd, and you’ve broken our hearts. I was not prepared to receive the phone call saying that you were dead. I feel I speak for all of us when I say,
- Could probably be played on any machine
- F.E.A.R. Online is free
- Worse than F.E.A.R. Combat, released in 2006
- Absolutely nothing new to the F.E.A.R. plot
- Bad audio
- Bad graphics
- Unnecessary systems
Related: FEAR Online, MMO, Review, Shooter