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Average User Score: 7.1Aug 18, 2011F.E.A.R 1 was clunky but brilliant. its graphics and level design lacked a certain polish, but people (including me) enjoyed it immenselyF.E.A.R 1 was clunky but brilliant. its graphics and level design lacked a certain polish, but people (including me) enjoyed it immensely because of its genuinely spooky atmospherics and storyline. F.E.A.R. 2 was good too, but in exactly the opposite way: its graphics and level design were INCREDIBLY sleek and polished, and the whole experience bristled with a delicious sense of knowing, black comedy. . . but it wasn't scary at all. The designers of F.E.A.R. 3 were clearly attempting to bring back the raw-edged creepiness of F.E.A.R. 1 without losing the high production values and sophistication of F.E.A.R. 2. . .oh, and making the franchise into a co-op game. Unfortunately, these objectives all got in each others' way, creating a result that -while by no means a disaster- will be a disappointment to the franchise's fans. A lot of the fear that made F.E.A.R 1 great came from the fact that -aside from terrifying psychic visions of the creepiest little girl this side of The Ring- your character is almost always *alone.* It would seem impossible to feel alone in a story that provides you with a teammate, but the designers did their best to preserve the sense of isolation. . .by providing you with a teammate who you don't care about and don't trust. This holds true, by the way, whether you play as The Point Man or Paxton Fettel. Both characters were probably written to come off as tough anti-heroes, but they're both so loathsome that you find yourself rooting for the monsters to come and kill them both. The problem, of course, is that hating your character (and you will) makes it pretty much impossible to be afraid. The polish of F.E.A.R. 2, unfortunately, was another casualty. Although there are still some elements of dark humor, and there's still some decent eye candy, the designers seem to have always opted for what they thought might look *scary* whenever it came in tension with what might look *cool.* In practice, that means a lot fewer 'mechs, superweapons, and brightly lit kill-fests, and a lot more dark, twisty, claustrophobic, mazes filled with enemies who hit you from behind. . . which you'll be grateful for, since a) it takes them so long to find you that you get bored; and b) that's the only way for you to find them.
In all, a disappointing near-miss.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.7Aug 18, 2011The quirky sense of humor and sprawling universe of this game reminds me of Starflight; its elegant mechanics and satisfying storyline remindThe quirky sense of humor and sprawling universe of this game reminds me of Starflight; its elegant mechanics and satisfying storyline remind me of Ascension; and its giddy, free-wheeling amorality (and almost accidental-seeming invention of a completely new interface) remind me of Elite. If you don't remember those titles, don't feel bad. . . the last of them came out in 1995. If you DO remember those titles (as the TWO GUYS[!!!] who wrote S.P.A.Z. almost certainly do), then you'll know how enormous those compliments are.
If you're NOT old enough to remember those titles, then prepare to suffer the pangs of an addiction as insatiable as a century-old circus monkey's craving for cigarettes, which will sink its hooks into you from the moment you boot this game up. Do yourself a favor and grab this title now, while it's still just $15 bucks. You'll have it on your hard drive forever, and if you don't snag it now, you'll just end up buying it at full price.… Expand