F.E.A.R. Files Review
|Developer:||TimeGate Studios, Day One Studios|
|Genre:||First Person Shooter|
|Release Date:||November 16th, 2007 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||Andy Hemphill (Bandit)|
The original F.E.A.R was not really a trendsetter, but it was an enjoyable horror/shooter romp through spooky locations and intense firefights, all held together by a vague and uninspiring story. This set, while good value, is pretty much more of the same.
The box comes with two games for the price of one: Extraction Point, which takes off right after the end of the original, and Perseus Mandate, which follows a second F.E.A.R point man on a parallel story to Extraction Point.
So it's a pretty good deal if you were a fan of the original and want to see how the story of the Armacham Technology Corporation and their experiments continues. On the other hand, if you are new to the world of F.E.A.R, this is probably worth a miss.
The core gameplay of the add-ons are, sadly, nothing special, the interface and controls are unchanged and although the box offers many new weapons and locations, most of these fail to materialise, and you're going to find yourself fighting your way through the same enemies down the same corridors with only a few new weapons to add to your arsenal.
Despite this, the games are still fun to play, your character, the point man, still has his 'reflexes' which you can use to slow time, and the particle effects are still fun to watch as you slow motion shoot it out, with bits of wall and shattered glass flying through the air.
The Point Man is also still fully in game, and the shadow effects of watching your character reload a gun or drop kicking a replicant in the face are as interesting and fun as ever, if not innovative.
However, the graphics themselves are starting to show their age when compared to some of the high spec shooters coming out this year. The draw distance is disappointing, and the textures less than appealing. Plus the environments you have to fight through are pretty much the same industrial corridors or dark rooms or abandoned buildings that you've seen before. Bigger areas are a little less frequent, which is a shame because ranged combat in 'reflex' mode is always exciting.
The enemy haven't changed much either, enemy AI is as good as it was before, the replicant (clone) soldiers work together to flank you, blind fire at you when you're too close and even flip up tables to use as cover, they are, however, not very good shots, and watching a replicant throw a grenade only to have it bounce off the filing cabinet they are hiding behind and blow them up is somewhat less than inspiring.
Story-wise, the two games are just as vague and confusing as their predecessor, with most of the plot not making sense until the end. The games happily stick to F.E.A.R's formula of spooky music, flashy lighting effects and bizarre happenings to keep the viewer involved in the horror-based storylines, but, as a veteran of the original, it's nothing new, and as spooky as it is, it doesn't seem to have an effect on me anymore.
The multiplayer is still present and accounted for, if a little aged, and offers all the usual game modes and intense battles, bigger levels would have been a nice touch, as would a new game mode or two and maybe some vehicles, otherwise the multiplayer feels kind of samey, like a clone (replicant) of any other generic shooter out there. Also, there doesn't seem to be many people playing it anymore
Overall, while F.E.A.R Files is a good deal for any F.E.A.R fan, it offers only a few new weapons and locations to the mix. The action is as intense as ever, and the story still has some horror and intrigue left in it, but it feels like the developers didn't want to try something new, and while it's ok to stick to what you know (and what sells) sometimes a little innovation is a good thing.
F.E.A.R Files could have benefited with some new gameplay, maybe some new powers for the Point Man, or vehicles, or squad combat, any new dimension that could have made this pack stand out from the other shooters hitting the shelves. As it is, it's great value for F.E.A.R fans, but just doesn't stand out like it used to, it's an opportunity wasted.
- Combat is still fun
- Story is still scary (ish)
Not so good stuff
- More of the same
- Very little innovation
- Multiplayer is aged
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