Happy Halloween folks! A special treat for all of you, except the ones who hate scary games. I’ll admit it myself, scary games just aren’t scary any more. Resident Evil 5 doesn’t scare me, it just disturbs me, but I think I’ve found one which is truly terrifying. It’s jumpy, it doesn’t have the strongest shooting mechanics and it’s kinda generic. But what F.E.A.R does is do something which I think no other horror game does. What does it exactly do? Well the clue is in the title. So let me take you on a journey into F.E.A.R, because on this old Hallow’s eve, it deserves its own spotlight.
F.E.A.R is set around a military experiment gone wrong, not the kind that is cliched, but one that really does feel mysterious. You never do really find out what happened or any of the motives. This may have been left just to feed the franchise, but it definitely does the job properly. It keeps you guessing and… guessing in fear. Every turn and plot point has you guessing when that freaky little experiment is gonna show up. Her name is Alma, she’s a little girl and she’s pissed at you. Spoilers forbid me to talk about it, but long story short, she is one scary little girl.
Of course F.E.A.R is a game and not just a story. At its heart it’s a generic shooter. Kiss kiss bang bang. All that good stuff. But also added into the mix is slow-motion. You’d think it’d just be overpowered, useless, pointless or all of the above. Truth be told, it’s situational. It doesn’t work well when you’re in the heat of the battle, unless you’re trying to get away from everybody. It does work well in surprising the enemy, taking them from behind. Taking out a few guys and then running to slash the throats of the others. I doubt any other horror game offers you this amount of coolness. Just you, slow-motion and roomfuls of goons.
Sounds pretty generic and gimmicky, but it’s far from that. It just works, everything works. They’ll be huge set pieces of battles, smaller skirmishes and then it’ll all lead into a plot point. Sure it’s linear and more straight-forward than Chinese democracy (hint: none) but there’s nothing wrong with being linear. Uncharted, Call of Duty and many other titles perfect this formula and F.E.A.R just spices up the cake. A cake that is already delicious and mouth-watering. Too bad it brought a few bad apples to the table with the sequel (giant robots and awful environments.)
Let’s talk about how scary this game is. On a scale of one to ten, it would break the scale. You’ll take out rooms full of goons and be wandering to your next objective when suddenly, you’ll be transported to another realm, courtesy of Alma. She’ll pop up anywhere she wants to and scare the living bacon out of you. In one instance, you’re just climbing down a ladder to face some bad guys you’ve spotted. You’ll perch yourself on the balcony, look down at the ladder and then direct your character to move down it. This is what happens.
You’d think it would get redundant after a while, constantly being jumped. But it’s a different kind of that, you never know when you’re going to get jumped. You’ll be on your toes, and this level of intensity… well I just don’t see it in any other shooter/horror on the market. This is what horror is about, escalation, and when it finally ends – you’ll be relieved. Not out of no more jumps, but out no more fear of being jumped. You’ll sit back, relax and then watch the finale.
And then you’re jumped again.