Thursday, January 19, 2006

Fear (PC)

- about 10-12hrs
- 11 intervals
- You stay pretty confused about the plot until near the end where almost everything gets resolved. There are a few lose ends, and there's definitely room for a sequel. Overall I found the ending very satisfying and appropriate.
- The graphics are just amazing especially during the battles and the dream sequences (much better than Max Payne). I love the bullet trails during slow mo, the matrix bending of light during explosions, the gore (You can take of limbs and heads with the shotgun close up. I once even exploded a guy and lots of blood splatters all over the place), and a ton of debris and sparks during large gun battles. You haven't seen a gun battle like this before. The end game has some of the best graphics. Physics are pretty top notch too. I did have one funny occurrence where I killed a soldier, then set off proximity grenades. This was inside a tunnel. It blew the body up to where the head was stuck into the ceiling of the tunnel and the body dangled like a PiƱata. I had some fun shooting it some more, threw a few sticky bombs on it, etc. What's interesting is the particle weapon usually vaporizes the flesh off your enemies but doesn't do anything to already dead bodies.
- The AI is some of the best I've seen. It's right up there with the marines in Half Life and the mercs in Far Cry. They really use squad tactics and try and suppress and flank. I also like all the chatter that is context sensitive to the current state of the battle. They knock down tables for cover and jump through windows.
- The weapons all feel fantastic and really pack a punch (even the dual pistols). The melee moves are pretty cool too and do a lot of damage. You can engage bullet time, run up and shoot somebody with a shotgun, then jump scissor kick them pretty much just like Neo. You can only carry 3 weapons at a time. I ended up settling on shotgun, assault rifle, and particle weapon. You can use grenades without switching weapons (well except for the sticky kind).
- There isn't a whole lot of different enemies but there are a few nice surprises. It doesn't matter so much since I still enjoyed every battle. Environments also lack variety but I like the office building setting because it's something I can really relate to. Level design is overall excellent. I like how if you are fight some guys that are high up in a balcony, or shooting at you in a building across the street, eventually you can travel there. There's some limited problem solving toward the end but nothing too hard.
- One of the few games that gave me chills on more than one occasion and lasted well into the end credits.
- The quality of the content is very high all the way through. The pacing is frantic with no fluff material.
- Incredible sfx and music that really sets the creepy mood. You can really hear the battle rage around you in full 5.1.
- I played it on the default difficulty level. It was a bit on the easy side with health and ammo everywhere. You can change the difficulty level at anytime during the game through the options menu.
- Voice acting is good overall. There's some pretty funny writing too. When you get to interval 8 stick around at the start and listen to your buddies. They've got quite a lot to say.

If you love the purity of infantry combat (no vehicles, no shooting monsters or aliens for the most part) combined with great creepy japanese influenced horror (think the ring or Juon, no monster closets) then you will absolutely love this game.

This is an instant classic. I put it right up there with Half Life 2 though each game has a very different feel.

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