Thursday, March 12, 2009

Feeding the F.E.A.R.

Along with Killzone 2 I picked up a pre-owned copy of F.E.A.R., "But" I hear you cry, "Isn't F.E.A.R2 out? Why would you buy the version with the inferior graphics and no trophies?" Because from all accounts F2 is the same as F1 with F1 actually being a scarier and more interesting story than F2.

Why would I want scary, because I like scary and something's got to distract me from Silent Hill:Homecoming a series which peaked at 2 and has been in freefall since.

So is FEAR (I can't be bothered with the full stops now) scary. Well for the half-hour I played it the phrase tense popped into my head several times; some strange stuff was certainly going on. The enemy were quite ruthless and were happy to use cover to prevent me shooting them, though they were a little deaf and allowed me to run up behind them several times. I never ran out of ammo, but I was certainly aware of what I was carrying and instinctively switched to the 'approach each corner at optimum view and cover angle' paranoia that any FPS game should instil (something neither Resistance's managed) and I maintained that throughout play.

The prompting was a little odd at times, press and hold [] to pick up a medkit, except if I ran into it I'd automatically pick it up, this made a disconnect when I ran over a weapon as the prompt to pick it up would appear before vanishing as I picked it up automatically. Also strangely enough pressing the select key for current objectives is not a toggle, press and hold it and the game pauses and the objectives appear, release it and the game continues and they disappear. I say strangely as quite clearly at the bottom right is a "O Back" option, which obviously has no function except if you do press and hold select then press O it's as if you've released the button. Stupid little thing.

Another annoyance is that leaning is mapped to the directional keys rather than the shoulder buttons. That may seem obvious, but as there's no snap-to-cover system in place you reach a doorway, lean around and find you can't see anything then have to release the lean button to use the analogue stick to reposition yourself, before releasing that to put your fingers back on the d-pad to lean around again rather than leaning and moving around. This would have been a perfect situation to use the six-axis motion sensor ah well.

The loading times between sets is also quite long, but so far the sets have been quite long so they don't occur as much as they might have, but it does reduce the previous tension watching a white bar slowly increase across the bottom of the screen.

Meh I'll keep playing it, it has a good scare potential, but knowing when the scares are coming might hinder it's replayabilty, something that the original Silent Hill's still managed to cope with.