F.E.A.R – The Girl Behind the Soldiers

This is a classic shooter game that I’ve beaten a long time ago, you could say that it counts as survival horror in a way.

I thought I would put out a review for it because it is one of my favorite FPS’s even if I’ve only completed it once.

F.E.A.R. which stands for First Encounter Assault Recon, is an underground military organization that deals with paranormal threats and their latest mission is to take out a man named Paxton Fettel who is believed to be in control of a bunch of Replica soldiers after seizing control of Armacham Technology Corporation (ATC). We take the role of the unnamed Point Man, newly recruited but with superb reflexes to investigate the crisis.

Gameplay is like any other FPS, and I didn’t realize that this game counts as survival horror since we get an arsenal of weapons to choose from (the shotgun being my personal favorite) and we can carry up to three different guns; some of them like pistols and SMGs we can carry two, and three different types of grenades. I asked myself, how is this survival horror? Aren’t games like that usually about having limited ammo forcing us to be conservative about it?

Well, that’s not always the case. You’re on your own in this game and while there will be periods where there are no enemies to fight, you might find yourself wandering dark corridors where the lights flash on and off, your flashlight lasts for a short period of time before it turns off, there’s a thump around the corner like you think someone’s there, but it’s just a scurrying rat or a bucket that fell over. Then we get to the root of the horror.

As I played, I started to hallucinate, many of these visions were of a girl in a red dress named Alma, and some other hallucinations of bloody walls leading to a room in a hospital which could be an OR. Some of these hallucinations were life-threatening.

Like one in the ATC HQ building for instance I could die from if I didn’t get out in time. I find that these hallucinations were frequent in the beginning at the water treatment facility and gradually decreased in frequency at ATC. Eventually they started to occur again.

Most shooters are games that don’t have a lot of character development, but there is some additional lore that is uncovered throughout the game such as finding voicemails to listen to between characters that work for say, ATC or serve as another critical point as well as laptops that provide additional intel.

I think Jin and Rowdy were the NPCs I liked the most, not sure why, there was just something about their personalities, and Norton Mapes even though he turned out to be an asshole, he still had a sense of humor and I wondered about his obsession with cacti, but I guess everyone has their favorite plant.

Alice Wade, Harlan’s other daughter who was very fortunate to not be subject to her father’s experiments is quite naive when she continues to search for him. It’s just too bad that that leads to her demise.

It was around the halfway point where things started to come together, where Alma Wade was put into those experiments birthing soldiers at a very young age due to her psychological abilities. The hallucinations start to make more sense and aren’t just Alma or Fettel watching me.

It’s like Alma was forced into something she never wanted to be a part of and only wanted to see her son. Nonetheless when she is freed, she uses her powers as an advantage to pursue this. Even though the hallucinations of her are the form of a young girl, by the time she is freed, she is now a young woman and very emaciated.

Even her father Harlan begins to regret forcing her into Project Origin but he never really gets time to gloat about it when Alma is freed from her holding chamber and by the time you get to the end of this game, you realize what your connection is to her.

The biggest praise I can give this game is the usage of the slow-motion feature which can make combat much easier, and it also has the best audio design I’ve ever heard: eerie as hell and full of suspense that the sequels failed to live up to it. I tried to play them and the second one’s story was dull and the third one had terrible gameplay.

This game also come with two DLCs but I couldn’t get them to work on my PC. I have only beaten this game once on my PC because it doesn’t run the greatest unless I optimize the resolution to a lower setting. It would be great if it got remastered so that it runs better but please don’t remix the audio.

Rating: 5 out of 5.


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