|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC|
|Dev: Day 1 Studios|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive|
|Release: June 21, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language|
by James Trujillo
It's been nine months since the Point Man's failure to contain Alma, and the remaining F.E.A.R. squad members are in a desperate attempt to carry out their initial orders. Since uncovering the truth about his past, the Point Man has come to an inevitable crossroads about his allegiance. Now, separated from his squad and reunited with his brother, the Point Man's thrilling story finally comes full-circle with F.E.A.R. 3.
Aside from the single player campaign, a huge focus has been appointed to revamping the game's multiplayer component. In a recent hands-on session, we got to see a few of these changes with four brand-new modes featuring new styles of cooperative and competitive gameplay.
Teamwork was a common theme we noticed throughout these new game modes, and our first taste was in a mode called "Contractions." This was probably the most unoriginal of the four new modes, but there were still plenty of good times to be had. This mode instantly drew comparisons to Call of Duty's zombie mode, requiring players to build barricades and fight off hordes of enemies. There were a total of twenty waves in all, and these got pretty hectic once Alma's tougher minions started rolling in.
Our first round began inside a dilapidated structure in a closed-off parking lot. The first priority was to gather a few scattered weapon crates located outside, giving us some much needed artillery. Once we returned, random weapons instantly spawned on a nearby wall, granting upgraded options to the starting pistol. These ranged from standard assault rifles and SMGs to even bigger and deadlier prototype weapons. Once the squad was fully stocked, the hordes quickly began to approach. To make things even more difficult, a dangerous fog rolled in during waves to limit visibility and give enemies the drop, including Alma herself. If players were unlucky enough to get too close, she could possess them for a short duration, rendering them helpless, or even teleport them into the center of the fog within a group of enemies.
The next mode was pretty well encapsulated by its title. "Fu**ing Run!" was hands-down the most dependant on working together as a team and made for a very entertaining experience. The map we played had us running through city streets and back alleys while trying to avoid Alma's pursuing wall of deadly fog. The team began in a safeguarded area, where players could pick their weapons of choice and devise plans of attack. However, once we broke through the area's threshold, we had to push through enemy soldiers that were trying to slow our advance.
Even though this mode was probably the most difficult, it was ridiculously fun. If our squad members were downed during the match, it was an absolute necessity that they were revived. Otherwise the oncoming "Wall of Death" would swallow them alive and we'd have to start again from ground zero. There were no checkpoints except for when we reached each safe haven, which made "Fu**ing Run!" feel a lot like a series of miniature Left 4 Dead campaigns with an exciting new twist.
Up next we got some quality time with a mode called "Soul King." This mode was based more on competitive gameplay than the two previous cooperative modes. Each player started off as a wraith-like creature called a Spectre, having the ability to possess any human nearby. The goal was to collect as many human souls as possible before time ran out by killing enemy soldiers or other Spectres. Players could only do damage to others while in control of a body, but wouldn't die entirely when killed during a possession. Instead, they'd return to their original Spectre form and become vulnerable to other players until they recaptured another body.
The gameplay in "Soul King" was fast-paced, and we needed to remain two steps ahead of our opponents to stay alive. The player with the most souls collected would appear highlighted to everyone else in the game, leaving that player as the primary target for the competitors. The most challenge aspect, and also the most entertaining, was that whenever players died they would drop all of their collected souls, forcing them to start again from scratch. This ensured that it could be anyone's game from start to finish, and often led to some disappointed outcries from multiplayer rivals.
The last mode we were shown was a combination of both cooperative and competitive gameplay called "Soul Survivor." This mode brought players together as a squad defending themselves from oncoming enemy soldiers, but threw a wrench in the gameplay by turning one teammate against the rest. At the start of each match, Alma would corrupt a player by turning them into a Spectre and task them with corrupting each of their former allies. The chosen player could possess human AI to lead the attack or swoop in for a last minute kill if another player had been cornered. When the Spectre was able to possess another player during the round, that player would also turn into a Spectre. This can change the tide of gameplay dramatically.
Again, this mode required a lot of teamwork, and any lone wolf-type players would likely find themselves corrupted very quickly. Luckily, the Spectre could only possess a player who has been downed, so staying together in a group was a major part of the strategy. "Soul Survivor" was not as one-sided as you might think, especially since the corrupted player was able to control any of the numerous enemies attacking the squad.
F.E.A.R. 3's multiplayer modes were surprisingly refreshing. These looked to be a huge step away from the standard deathmatch-type modes found in every other first-person shooter, and each succeeded at finding elements relevant to the F.E.A.R. franchise. Each supported a total of four players online, featuring three maps unique to each mode (twelve in-all). Although all these modes were thoroughly entertaining, the lack in map variation could get a bit repetitive. However, that could easily be remedied through a strong amount of DLC support, which is hopefully something they plan on doing after the game releases on May 24th, 2011.
CCC Freelance Writer