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    Zinn's F.E.A.R. (PC)

    [January 22, 2007 04:10:27 AM]
    One thing I love about a good first person shooter is the sense of godlike power it makes you feel over an enemy. In Unreal Tournament 2004 you're given the ability to "fly," in Half Life 2 you have telekinesis via the gravity gun, and in F.E.A.R. you have the ability to slow your perception of time and use insanely fast reflexes. The way these special abilities are used can make or break a game. In F.E.A.R.'s case, they keep the game from being completely boring and repetetive.

    As the game progresses, the enemies gain an increasing advantage due to the complicated level design. The best way to describe these levels is "maze-like." There are multiple routes to the same place and many ways to get lost trying to find your objective. The artificial intelligence has superior awareness of the level layout, while the player is oftentimes lost. Furthermore, the enemy can use the environment in ways the player can't: they can flip tables over to use as cover, they can crawl under objects and they can dive through windows. In this game, enemies don't just run at you and shoot; they coordinate their movements, they call commands and warnings to each other, they provide cover fire, they flank and they retreat to amass reinforcements. Their superior speed, numbers and reaction times make them a worthy adversary to even a veteran first person shooter player. In short, the enemy artificial intelligence in F.E.A.R. is second to none. This makes defeating them all the more satisfying.

    Being able to slow time down and react to things faster than humanly possible has always been a little fantasy of mine since grade school, and F.E.A.R.'s implementation of this ability is perfectly executed. When you go into reflex booster mode there's the obligatory "beeoooooowww" slow-mo noise. Colors become more saturated, and a radial blur obscures the corners of the screen for a tunnel-vision effect. Gunfire tracers similar to those in the Matrix become visible. Sparks, debris and smoke are shooting everywhere as chunks get knocked off of corridor walls, leaving visible holes. And a well-placed shotgun shot to an enemy torso sends him flying back, crashing into other enemies and knocking them off balance. Watching grenades and exploding gas cannisters (which happen to be conveniently placed in an office building) is a real treat. Visually, this effect couldn't be more compelling and whipping through enemies this way is really adrenaline inducing and visceral.

    The slow motion gimmick is what saves this game from being completely sub-par. The superior story and enemy intelligence alone wouldn't be able to rectify the monotony of fighting through the same environments hour after hour. If the designers had only made some variety to the locales, this game would be an easy 10 out of 10. As it is, F.E.A.R. is a flawed, but extremely satisfying shooter that I'm enjoying playing through for the third time.


    This entry has been edited 3 times. It was last edited on Jan 22nd, 2007 at 04:22:54.

    add a comment Add comment
    [January 17, 2007 04:45:49 PM]
    The game was crashing when my CPU was overclocked from 1.86ghz to 3.33ghz, (even though I was Prime/Othos stable). So I swapped my motherboard out for a better one and now it's rock solid at 3.25ghz. At these speeds, gameplay is very smooth and immersive. It's games like this that define the PC as a platform: kind of unstable, a little buggy, nothing too innovative, but fast as heck and totally immersive if you have the specs to keep up with it.

    Anyway, I got through the first couple of chapters (termed "Intervals") of this game. It's hard to take much of it without freaking out. The game is very spooky and all sorts of supernatural events are happening. There's a lot of gore. The enemies are completely devious. On medium difficulty it feels like you're playing online against some fairly good players. I've never played a game with this level of artificial intelligence. The enemies work together and recognize your moves, calling out commands and warnings to each other, "He's trying to flank!"

    The real drawback to this game is how monotonous it is. You're fighting through very similar environments the whole way through. It's pretty much all basements and office buildings. They mix it up a little bit, but you really don't feel like you've been anywhere special at the end of the game. (These are some gigantic office buildings. Like unbelievably gigantic.) Also, a lot of the story revelation is very weak. Like you have to sit and listen to peoples voicemail, and usually its stuff like, "Bob? Are you there? I thought I heard an explosion! OMG I'm scared." The story itself is better than most shooters but not great. It would have been cool to have the same level of AI and story in more varied environments like in Far Cry.

    At least the action is keeping this game interesting. It really gets my heart rate and adrenaline going. This is a game you will forget about in a year or two.
    add a comment Add comment

    Zinn's F.E.A.R. (PC)

    Current Status: Played occasionally

    GameLog started on: Saturday 13 January, 2007

    Zinn's opinion and rating for this game

    Amazing graphics and audio. Immersive gameplay including the ability to slow down time and kick a lot of ass. Unmatched AI, probably the best in any game. VERY monotonous level design that really drags the games appeal down a notch. Also, it's too easy to get lost and objectives and story elements are not usually clear. You'd best have a good system to play this game, otherwise it's nothing special.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See Zinn's page

    See info on F.E.A.R.

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : F.E.A.R. (PC) by dkirschner (rating: 4)
    2 : F.E.A.R. (PC) by Schua (rating: 5)
    3 : F.E.A.R. (PC) by sergey_bond (rating: 5)


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