F.E.A.R. Combat Review

F.E.A.R. Combat is the multiplayer mode taken right from the original F.E.A.R. game, packaged separately, and posted free for download. So if you know what F.E.A.R. is all about but haven’t bothered to go pick it up quite yet, F.E.A.R. Combat may be just what you’re looking for. The fact that the download is completely free should bring a lot more players into rotation on the F.E.A.R. servers, as well. Sierra deserves a lot of credit for taking a big step like this and releasing the multiplayer aspect of the game at no cost. It should serve as a heck of an enticement to those who hadn’t been interested in the game, or hadn’t seen it in action.

Right from the start, it is noticeable how much the multiplayer mode in F.E.A.R. plays just like the single player mode; it plays fast, pretty, and bloody. That said, the multiplayer game is a ton of fun to play on its own. I was definitely surprised for the better immediately after joining a game. It would have been so easy to overlook the multiplayer side of things after putting so much work into the single player mode of the game. Thankfully, however, the developers put a lot of thought and effort into the multiplayer aspect, and it shows. There are 10 modes to choose from, 19 maps to play on, and 12 weapons to use.

All the "standard" multiplayer modes are present; Deathmatch, capture the flag, team deathmatch, etc., but F.E.A.R. throws a curveball with the SlowMo Deathmatch. In this mode, the "bullet time" feature used in F.E.A.R. is applied to multiplayer. This kind of thing could have easily ended up a very messy situation, but it actually plays out pretty well. The ability to slowdown time takes the form of an item found somewhere in the map which can be controlled by one player at a time. The catch is that the ability can only be used in relatively short bursts and takes a little while to replenish itself. If the controlling player dies, the item is up for grabs. And staying alive isn’t the easiest of tasks, as the player in possession of the item can be seen on radar by all the other players in the game.

The maps in the game are one of the reasons why it is such a blast to play. Locations range from a creepy asylum to a mountain pass with a forested valley. The maps tend to have a unique quality to each of them, making them easy to tell apart and keeping them feeling different enough from each other that they don’t blend together, for the most part.

The weapon selection in the game is decent, and varied enough to be able to attack with different approaches to suit the situation. Sniper rifles, shotguns, grenades, mines, assault rifles, and dual pistols are at your disposal. There’s even a "rail gun" style gun for good measures. Weapons can be picked up off of other fallen players, or in various spots throughout the different maps. Players begin playing by choosing a weapon from a list which they will spawn with every time they die until a different weapon is chosen by the player. This gives somewhat of a "weapons class system" feel to the game, and helps avoid the mundane task of finding the weapon you want each time you die.

The HUD is right from the single player mode of F.E.A.R., although a key difference is the "3D on-screen radar" system that the game employs. Any key items (such as the slow-mo item), players (including teammates), and targets (flag in CTF matches) appear as icons on your screen which show where the object is, as if there were no walls or other obstacles between the player and it; sort of like a wall hack for that specific object. It is up to the player to find the right path, though – the radar simply points in the right direction. This feature can be very helpful for locating your teammates to find out where the front line of the battle is, but can become slightly annoying and chaotic when there are 8 or 9 icons flying around your screen as you make your way through the level. The gameplay really has the same feel as its single player counterpart; headshots count for a quick kill, the same melee attacks are present, bullets fly every which way at all times, grenades do a ton of damage, and there is blood everywhere. Players will most likely find themselves dying quickly and often, but returning to the action again and again, which is a really streamlined process in team matches. After death, players are resurrected either on their team’s territory or within a close proximity of one of their teammates. This works well in large firefights and standoffs, as the front line can often get replenished with fresh troops after they die.

On the downside, the game is severely lacking in depth. Aside from the SlowMo scenarios, there isn’t really anything separating this game from the floods of other great looking FPS titles around and the ones still heading our way. The game is, at its core, just another run and gun multiplayer FPS. That is not to say that the game isn’t fun – it plays very well, and can serve up its share of chaotic fun. But there isn’t anything really drawing a player back once they’ve been playing for a while. F.E.A.R. Combat really seemed to get dull a little too quickly, which brings its longevity into question. Most seasoned players who are familiar with the FPS scene will tire of the repetitive nature of the simplistic gameplay after a while. Gameplay aside, another big problem with F.E.A.R. Combat is that currently, the majority of servers listed remain empty, and it is fairly difficult to find servers hosting the SlowMo gameplay modes. So more often than not, rather than joining a server with the right map and game mode, players will find themselves joining any server with a decent ping and reasonable amount of people playing. This problem is one that may not last long, as players latch on to the free download and the user base expands.

As a free download this game is definitely a can’t-miss for FPS lovers, and definitely worth a look even for those who might not otherwise take the plunge and pick up a copy of F.E.A.R. Additionally, the free download incentive should really boost the number of players on the servers, and will most likely end up selling even more copies of F.E.A.R. as people who love the multiplayer game get hooked and want to play through the much creepier and atmospheric single player game.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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