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E3 2005: F.E.A.R. - First Encounter Assault Recon
game: E3 2005: F.E.A.R. - First Encounter Assault Recon
posted by: Blaine Krumpe
publisher: Vivendi Universal Games
developer: Monolith Productions
ESRB rating: RP (Rating Pending)
date posted: 12:00 AM Wed Jun 1st, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Wed Jun 1st, 2005

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When it releases later this fall, let's hope First Encounter Assault and Recon (F.E.A.R.) lives up to its name.  The first person shooter will incorporate some freaky elements that aim to play with your mind. The story starts when an aerospace facility is taken over by an unnamed paramilitary group.  Your job, as part of a government agency that deals with paranormal phenomenon, is to penetrate the facility and figure out what has happened to both the workers there, and the unknown paramilitary group that's just finished taking control.

This FPS explores the paranormal side of things, and will not be for the faint of heart; gore will flow freely through the levels as you see and experience things that are otherworldly.  The demo at E3 really showed off some of these cool effects and mind jarring features.  Throughout the level shown on the floor there were images and flashbacks of dead and dying people.  At one point, as I was descending a ladder, I looked up to find a little girl standing at the top.  And not just any little girl, but a demonic and freaky little girl.  Very creepy.  Another part of the demo has you walking a corridor with blood flowing freely along the ceiling, and yet another little girl appearing momentarily at the end.  If you have ever seen the ScFi movie, Event Horizon,? where the spaceship goes to another dimension and comes back carrying the fundamental natures of hell and chaos - well, F.E.A.R. will be a treat for you if that was your type of movie.
Besides being in an incredibly freaky environment, you will also posses some paranormal traits yourself.  Chiefly, this game will feature a slow-motion ability that allows you to move faster than your enemies, experiencing some incredible physics effects.  Your enemies look spectacular; they do graceful cartwheels through the air after a quick blast from the end of your shotgun.  Glass shatters, book cases collapse, there are visible bullet traces, and the world is beautifully rendered by the Havok 2 Game Dynamics engine.  It depicts everything in incredible clarity.

An awesome feature that I discovered while playing the game's multiplayer mode was the ability for one of your enemies (or you) to use the slow-motion ability to kill off the rest of the players online.  This ability will be located somewhere in the map as a power-up; only one person can use it at a time.  I believe that this will be a welcome feature to mix up online gameplay as you frag the living daylights out of your opponents.

Instead of the myriad of weapons that most FPS have accompanying the player at any one time, you will only be able to carry three weapons simultaneously.  You can pick up different ones, but I believe that carrying only three makes the game seem a lot more realistic and forces you to value the guns that you have a lot more.  F.E.A.R. definitely has some cool weapons lined up for it.  There will be you standard assault rifles, pistols, shotguns, plasma/sniper weapons, and the ever-present nail gun.  As of late this type of weapon - i.e. the type that nails your enemy to a wall or other object - has been showing up in many different FPSs, like Half-Life with its crossbow, and Painkiller with its stake gun.  I have not listed all of the weapons in this preview? suffice to say they will make some very interesting combinations with you paranormal slow-motion abilities.

After my time with the title on the floor, I personally can't wait to get my hands on the final release of F.E.A.R.  Plunging into the depths of the paranormal this fall will be an absolute pleasure as the game weaves its story into an incredible tale of the unexpected.

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