It seems that you're using an outdated browser. Some things may not work as they should (or don't work at all).
We suggest you upgrade newer and better browser like: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Opera

Just finished a complete replay. Wrote this summary of them all in 2020 as a first post on the new PC Gamer forums, but thought I'd paste it here too...

F.E.A.R. - Still a 10 out of 10 classic. The combat is so visceral and well done, the enemy AI is still impressive in 2020 and the slo-mo is good fun without feeling like an easy button or constantly necessary. It also has one of the best shotguns of all time, loud, powerful and fun to use.

F.E.A.R. Extraction Point - A more of the same expansion, without much added. The subway level is neat and different, but most of the rest looks the same as the original. New laser gun is neat, but barely found. The story goes off the rails and makes no sense, with an enemy back alive out of nowhere and reused voice samples. Still, the combat shines like the first.

F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate - Reviews were worse, but I liked this one a lot more than EP. It has a better story closer in quality to the original, a cool new rifle and lightning gun, ruthless new mercenary soldier enemies and perhaps most importantly neat new environments that tend to be larger and look different. Engine doesn't handle these large areas well, causing a lack of detail and framedrops even on new hardware, but I appreciated the effort.

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin - Surprisingly solid, given its reputation. All its problems are rooted in being designed for the Xbox 360, with a huge HUD, slower enemies who stay at range more, and slo-mo that lasts forever and seems designed more around (especially on hard, where enemy damage is insane, forcing you to avoid it as much as possible). Get past that though (and modify the FOV in the .ini file) and it's relatively good. Especially compared to other 360 port shooters of that time. Also, shout out to the rather colorful graphics and environments, a standout from so many brown and boring messes of the time.

F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn - Barely worth mentioning, as it's not an expansion but basically one added level. The story also doesn't seem to count for F.E.A.R. 3, and is rather pointless. It does have a neat section near the start where what you think is the setup completely changes after a horror sequence.

F.E.A.R. 3 - I want to bash this one a lot, but since it's a co-op game and I only play singleplayer, I can't speak to how good/bad it is in co-op. I will say in singleplayer it's pretty terrible. The action is suddenly very Call of Duty, where you pop in and out of cover shooting ranged enemies. Later levels have you fighting endless zombie dudes and dogs running straight at you, the only time slo-mo seemed useful, and lots of super soldiers who take forever to kill. Even on normal difficulty it seemed balanced for co-op, causing some frustration. The story seems perfunctory most of the time, jumping from one area to another without much connection (for example you finish a bridge level outside the city, fall off into the water, then the next level starts you on an airport runway). I didn't enjoy this one much at all.

All in all, I love the first game, liked the expansion packs, thought F.E.A.R. 2 was surprisingly okay and F.E.A.R. 3 was terrible. What are your thoughts on the F.E.A.R. series? When was the list time you played one? Any plans for a replay?
I just played through the first game for the first time. Hardest difficulty, no slo-mo.

Thoughts on combat: not enough variety in encounter design. Boils down to lack of enemy variety and monotone level design (= mostly indoors, relatively short range combat against a handful of identical enemies) throughout the game. The guns are also a factor, and I found myself using the assault rifle for most of the game (because it's good for short & medium range, which covers most of the game, and there's usually enough ammo for it). Shotgun is indeed satisfying at shorter range, that's about it. Third gun was always sort of a joker, usually a stronger gun reserved for the stupid bullet sponges, or whatever I can find ammo for if the other guns were running out.

I hate that there are no fire modes and two of the most common weapons (smg & assault rifle) are smear guns. Also the first "sniper" is a smear gun. Not enough ammo lying around to smear it around, and it feels stupid that the only times I care to use a scope (which is not often!) are times when firing a burst is absolutely pointless because all but one shot will miss due to recoil. I really didn't enjoy the smearing & recoil, too much of a spamfest for my taste (doesn't help that when you get shot, your view gets kicked up as if by strong recoil -- and they will shoot back at you even when you're hitting them).

It pretty much always plays the same, you spot a group, you headshot one or two of them and then it becomes a corridor standoff (with an inevitable grenade or two lobbed your way). From there on it plays identical to every other corridor standoff up to that point: lean around corners, shoot if there's an easy target, or wait for them to come out if they're hiding. Go in if they refuse to come.

Give me some semi-automatic rifles (the pistols kinda worked ok but I quickly ran out of ammo trying to use them as my main weapon), wider open areas & larger number of enemies (so you get flanked & outcrowded if you just sit still and lean around a corner) and maybe a silenced weapon and there'd be so much more variety. I'd gladly play this game without the unnecessary bullet sponge enemies.

Grenades were handy in a few spots but I had a lot of issues with collision detection; trying to throw a grenade around a corner or through some convenient gap often ended with me running from my own explosives. Proximines I only used for a few (cheap) scripted sequences, usually involving a bullet sponge. I never found any use for remote bombs. I thought the game told you you could even stick them to enemies?? But I could not figure out how to throw them; just place them on walls. So do you have to get up close and personal to stick one to a foe? Not much opportunity for that in my game.

All in all, I found the gameplay to be very mediocre and repetitive. I do like the dark environments though.

Now which expansion should I play first?

EDIT: I also find it irritating how often shots kick off a dust cloud that lingers around for a while making it impossible for you to see through but the enemy has no trouble shooting you through it.. (I'm reminded of this since I'm playing extraction point now)
Post edited April 02, 2020 by clarry
Ok I finished Extraction Point. Ok expansion, I guess? I couldn't really make sense of the story though. Combat seems to work out much like in the original game, though it didn't feel as cramped. Dunno what else to say.

I wasn't super fond of the environments, though the hospital was kinda cool. Those fast moving translucent enemies that rush at you are quite annoying though.
Post edited April 03, 2020 by clarry
Finished Perseus Mandate. Again I couldn't make much sense of the story.. ok they want the DNA, but as for the rest of it..?

I feel like combat was slightly more varied in this one. Slightly.

I don't know why this expansion has a poor reputation. Well there is one thing that bothered me -- that we'd still be seeing and hearing dead Fettel's BS and Alma would show up too.. I felt like the game was treating me as the Point Man even though I'm supposed to be a different character.

Oh and more bullet sponges. I almost wanted to bind the slo-mo key in the "boss fight." That took a few tries..

(I didn't play the bonus missions)

To wrap up my feelings about FEAR 1 and its expansions: it's a very mediocre shooter. It's extremely linear and very much scripted such that encounters generally lock you into a small handful of rooms / corridors with a handful of enemies. From earlier attempts at playing this (last year, had problems with stutter & mouse sensitivity) as well as all the reattempted fights due to dying on this playthrough, I found that almost every encounter plays out almost identically every time. If the AI is as great as it's hyped to be, well, it doesn't really show. I think the problem here is that, small & linear levels aside, the game's AI and health-damage-accuracy balance just encourages boring standoff-ish corner camping (where 30% of the time is spent waiting for massive puffs of smoke and dust to clear up so you can see and take a shot again). To fix this, I'd start by making the enemies less spongy but way more aggressive about pinning you down if you camp in one place, give the player a little speed advantage (to encourage moving across the field from cover to cover), ensure the map always has multiple feasible routes, give the player more accurate weapons (semi-auto mode for the rifles & smg please), maybe remove or reduce the recoil effect on getting hit. The idea being that you should get rekt if you just try to corner camp, which is the complete opposite of what's happening currently (expose yourself? a stray burst can take out all your armor and a good chunk of HP + throw off your aim, and even if you still managed to retaliate with a headshot, too bad, those bullet sponges will just keep shooting).

As it is, I don't really see anything that would compel me to play again.
Post edited April 05, 2020 by clarry
I personally loved FEAR and it's expansion packs. Together, it's one of my favorite games ever. I replay it once a year. I can't think of any complaints. Everything works so well that it's hard for anything to really stick out. Only downside to it would the dated graphics, especially PM.

I was shocked at how terrible FEAR2 was. The story is entirely pointless. It for some insane reason decided it was trying to be a "horror" game which is not what FEAR 1 was. FEAR 1 was a fairly authentic "action movie" fps. You ran around diving into cover shooting two guns in the air in slow motion. It had the whole "mad science gone wrong" and some supernatural elements to it, but it never felt like it was trying to be a "scary" game, like FEAR 2 was. As far as game play goes, FEAR 2 was massive step down from 1, especially in the AI department.

I actually really liked Reborn, it was short and fun. More Fettel is always a plus.

FEAR3, compared to FEAR 2, was pretty good, especially in co-op. I thought the hallucination of Fettel as your companion throughout the game was a clever concept and entertaining (that's why 3 doesn't really follow Reborn, because it isn't really Fettel). I also found that if you treat the death of Jin in EP to be a hallucination, FEAR 3 follows the direction that EP's story was going, instead of 2. It was kind of an interesting idea to make the story about the inner struggle of Point Man, deciding whether he is a man or a monster, as the rest of his family is.

All and all, FEAR, EP, and PM are all worth playing and great games. The rest are just ok, with 2 being the worst.
I enjoy the first game. The expansions I could live without, but more content is more content when it comes down to it I suppose.

Talk about the AI in the first game gets weirdly divisive though between people acknowledging the effort put forth by the one person who handled it during game development and the other half of people thinking that it's some kind of Skynet level AI that will mop the floor with the player, then dispatch a drone army to their house to be certain it really eradicated the person who dared to challenge it.

It's more the former than the latter and it's good AI at the expense of simplified level design when you really examine it (an entire document exists online about it, if I recall correctly, a fascinating read if you're into that sort of thing). It works within the game, but people shouldn't be looking at it as "that time one game got it right" as if most others that came after it somehow dropped the ball or something.
Post edited April 20, 2020 by TheMonkofDestiny