F.E.A.R. Preview

The name may not sound too original, but what really stands out here is Monolith’s track record of developing amazing action titles. With previous titles like Tron 2.0 and the No One Lives Forever series, we always expect a lot out of Monolith when they’re put onto a new project. So of course our hopes are very high for their new upcoming action title, F.E.A.R. Not only does F.E.A.R. look interesting, but it has Monolith’s unique style added to it which could just give it the needed edge to succeed in this overcrowded genre.

F.E.A.R. is an acronym that stands for First Encounter Assault Recon. We definitely like the abbreviated version better. Either way F.E.A.R. is not the typical FPS coming out of Monolith. Monolith always tends to throw some humor into their titles, but F.E.A.R. seems more serious than anything. As the name implies the storyline of F.E.A.R. is designed to be as creepy and mysterious as possible.

The single-player story revolves around a paramilitary force that infiltrates a large aerospace compound taking hostages but with no demands. The government responds by sending in special forces, but they soon lose contact with them. The live footage that they receive back shows a eerie little girl walking down the hallways towards the soldiers. As she slowly walks closer the limbs are torn from the soldiers bodies as they fall lifeless to the ground. As a team member in a special task force it’s up to you to figure out what’s going on and how to stop it. The story seems very intriguing, and we can’t wait to learn more. Unfortunately that’ll have to wait until our full review is up, because we’re not here right now to talk about the single-player.

We’ve recently had the chance to catch some of F.E.A.R.’s fierce online combat in the multiplayer beta. Now there’s nothing too special about F.E.A.R.’s multiplayer, and it really feels a lot like DOOM 3’s multiplayer in the sense that it’s really fast-paced and contains many claustrophobic levels. However there are a few small nice touches thrown in, and it does give us a small idea of what the single-player gameplay might be like. F.E.A.R. contains about three different game modes with variations. There’s Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, SlowMo Deathmatch, Team SlowMo Deathmatch, Elimination, and Team Elimination. Each of these modes is exactly as they sound. Deathmatch is a kill-all game, and Elimination is where you have to out-survive the other players.

The oddball of the three is the SlowMo Deathmatch. This game mode allows you to enable slow motion after killing another player which you’ll also be able to do in the single-player game. Once a player activates slow motion, every player enters slow motion so the whole game slows down. The effect looks very nice while it adds a blurry look to the edges of the screen, and the whole environment seems to look more crisp and grainier. This is by far one of the only real treats for the multiplayer aspect.

The beta also gave us a chance to try out some of the weapons and a few maps for multiplayer. The weapons include dual pistols, sub machinegun, shotgun, assault rifle, nail gun, and semi-auto rifle. It’s nice to see how much damage each weapon can achieve within the environment. For example, big chunks of the walls can crumble off from stray bullets, and plenty of sparks can fly when the bullets collide with metal. It may not sound like much, but these small touches make the combat even more interesting and make the small levels look like war zones when you’re done. We were able to try out three different maps including Construction, Office, and Docks. Each map sort of had to same style while trying to keep true to their names. They’re all pretty cramped with just a few small outdoor areas which means you’re always going to be in the face of your enemy. At this point we’re not sure as to how many maps will ship with the final retail version.

Right now the graphics are looking absolutely gorgeous and really scream "next-gen". The lighting effects are outstanding, and the realistic shadows give the environments a very dark and gloomy feeling. The game contains some great-looking, high-resolution textures, and the overall effect looks so smooth. Of course you’ll need one heck of a rig to power all of this eye candy, and the beta does include a stress test benchmark to see if your PC is up to snuff.

Sure F.E.A.R.’s multiplayer side may not be the main attraction here, but the slow motion ability mixes it up a little as does the destructible environment. With that said, the multiplayer portion may be even more intense than that of DOOM 3. Either way it gave us a nice taste at what the single-player campaign will probably feel like, and we can’t wait to sink our teeth into it. F.E.A.R. has been delayed numerous times and is currently scheduled for a Fall 2005 release. Hopefully it doesn’t get pushed back any further, but we’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date with any new information on this title in the coming months. And don’t forget to look for our full review upon its release.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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