F.E.A.R. 3 E3 2010 Demo Impressions
What sort of a family has a dead brother and a mother that’s pregnant by her own son? Yours does, when you’re playing F.E.A.R. 3.
You’re back in the role of Point Man, the still unnamed soldier who’s been in the franchise since its inception. If you haven’t played F.E.A.R. 2 yet, you should know that Alma raped Beckett (the main character of F.E.A.R. 2) at the end of that game. Now Alma’s pregnant, and what she gives birth to could destroy the world. Point Man’s brother, Paxton Fettel, has returned from the dead, and he’s refusing to leave Point Man’s side. He’s even asked for help to get back to Alma, although his motive is unclear.
As we started the demo, we were told that cooperative play was the focus of the development team in F.E.A.R. 3, and that’s evident in the gameplay we saw today. In the coop, one player played as Point Man, and the other as Fettel. While anyone who’s played the previous games in the series is familiar with Point Man (who retains his bullet time mechanic), Fettel is a whole new animal.
You see, Paxton Fettel is dead. Now, he’s come back, and he’s got a whole array of supernatural powers. He can levitate enemies, as well as possess them. When he possesses an enemy, he takes full control of them, and can use their weapons. He also causes them to emit a red glow that can be a bit unnerving.
One of the interesting coop functions is that whenever Point Man uses his bullet time, time slows for both players, not just Point Man. This led to some interesting combination of powers that allowed the pair to deal with multiple enemies with relative ease.
Mechs also return from F.E.A.R. 2, and they remain just as insanely powerful as they were then. The mechs actually provided my favorite moment from the demo today, when the player was setting trees on fire to drive his enemies out of cover. Walls were blasted, many enemies were dispatched, and the mechs were eventually abandoned.
F.E.A.R. 3 will also support jump-in, jump-out co-op, allowing you to join a friend who is playing singleplayer at any time, and to leave at any time. As of right now, the singleplayer version of the game only supports playing as Point Man, although there were some vague mentions of incorporating the ability to play as Fettel in the future.
The problem I had with F.E.A.R. 3 is that it really didn’t feel like F.E.A.R. Much like the second game in the series, F.E.A.R. 3 is lacking the visceral suspense and surprise that the original title had. When asked how they would re-create that feeling in F.E.A.R. 3, our presenters told us that the competition between the players, as well as the points that reward players for advancing in the game, would help to provide that tension between the players.
I’m not sure I buy into that, but whether or not it will work remains to be seen. After all, we’re not going to see F.E.A.R. 3 on store shelves until this fall. I’m not saying that this will be a bad game. In fact, I hope this game is excellent, as we can never get enough cooperative games. However, I don’t think that this will be a game that lives up to the high bar that the first title in the series set.
However it turns out, it’s likely I’ll be playing on my couch with a buddy later this year.