F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is a modern horror first person shooter developed by Monolith Productions. Published by Vivendi Universal, the game was released in October 2005 for Windows, and was ported for the Sony PlayStation 3 in April 2007 and Xbox 360 in October 2006 by Day 1 Studios. There are two expansion packs for F.E.A.R. released by Timegate Studios, F.E.A.R. – Extraction Point in October 2006 and F.E.A.R. – Perseus Mandate in November 2007. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is the direct sequel of the game and was released in February 2009 by Monolith Productions.
F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) uses a proprietary engine developed by Monolith Productions, which later on formed a separate company named LithTech INC. to deal with the development of the engine. LithTech INC was later renamed to Touchdown Entertainment. F.E.A.R. uses the latest version of the engine called Lithtech Jupiter EX established in 2005.
The Story of the game takes place around different paranormal situations and threats, which a Military top-secret Special Forces team, codenamed F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is assigned to inspect and contain. The player takes the perspective of a “Point-Man” that was just transferred to the unit. The game starts with a cut-scene to familiarize the player with the situation. A military commander named Paxton Fettel takes command of a whole battalion of cloned heavily armored supersoldiers which are controlled telepathically. Paxton Fettel occupies and takes control of the (ATC) Armacham Technology Corporation.
After the cut-scene, the player takes his first task as a Point-Man of F.E.A.R. briefed by the commissioner Rowdy Betters. Spen Jankowski and Jin Sun-Kwon are your team-mates that will accompany you through your first mission. Although just few of the elements of the storyline are presented in the beginning, your general mission is to eliminate the insane military commander Paxton Fettel. While the player battles through the game, he witnesses paranormal life threats and hallucinations focused around a little girl called “Alma”. The player will find useful information and details from laptops regarding the mission and the storyline.
The player witnesses everything from First-Person Perspective through the whole game. The only thing that wasn’t first-person was the first scene in the beginning of the game. F.E.A.R. offers a nerve wracking first-person combat simulation. The character model is fully presented from first-person view. When you look down while you perform an action, you will see the legs and torso of your character performing the same action.
As mentioned in the briefings at the beginning of the game, the statistics of your characters reflexes are incredible, and an effect is used to simulate your superhuman reflexes. The game-play of F.E.A.R. features an astonishing element called Reflex-Time, which allows you to slow down time while performing actions at your normal speed. When you enter the Reflex-Time state, everything is presented in blurry visual effects, such as flying or interacting bullets. This simulation effect provides an incredible experience, and will make you feel like an action movie character bursting into every fight emerging as a hero at the end.
The weapons in F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) feel extremely powerful and loud like real weapons, unlike other first-person shooters where the weapons do a lot of damage, but do not compensate for their effect. Anyhow, the game offers both fictional and non-fictional weapons such as submachine guns, pistols, rifles and beam based weapons. Each weapon in F.E.A.R. can serve the player with specific functions, which means that they can all be useful and deadly in a different way. Only three firearms are possible to be carried by the player at a time. That makes the experience more interesting, as you encounter different firearms through the game, you will have to sacrifice one for another, or else you wouldn’t be able to experience them all. The weaponry can also be used for melee combat.
The artificial intelligence in F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is highly advanced and allows your enemies to act as a team and perform an enormous amount of actions such as jumping through windows and railings, pushing objects and crawling under small platforms and spaces.
The level design and environments in F.E.A.R. are pretty decent. Comparing it to other shooters in general, the level design is not something special, but the amazing particles and lightning make up for all of it. First Encounter Assault Recon was quite the hardware hog for its time, and even today it can slow your machine down if the graphic options are tuned up too much.
F.E.A.R.’s Single-Player length can vary between eight and ten hours, which is very good comparing it to other first-person shooters. When you are done with the intense Single-Player mode, you can try out the “fast-paced” Multiplayer. The game includes classic Multiplayer modes such as death-match (DM) and Capture the Flag (CTF). More Multiplayer types were added in the later patches. The Multiplayer also incorporates the Reflex-Time effect, but it can be used and carried by only one player at a time. However, the one that carries the Reflex-Time power-up will have a glow, which will make him a target for all of his enemies. The Sony Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions do not include split-screen play and can only be played online like the PC Version.
Overall, F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is an outstanding “creepy” first-person shooter that will take your breath away every corner you look at and every door you go through. It combines a great atmosphere and intense horror action, which will amaze you and scare you at the same time. The Audio Effects, Graphics, Physics and Particle Effects are an amazing combination that will deprive you from sleep every night you take a journey into this “doom” world. These facts make this game a must for every person that adores First-Person shooter video games.