If you’re a fan of the original F.E.A.R, and wonder if the new Xbox 360 game is worth a punt, you’ll want undoubtedly to know the answers to the following questions.
* Was this by the same people?* Does it continue the story?* What’s a standalone expansion pack?
To clarify those, the answers are ‘No’, ‘Yes partly’, and ‘it’s complicated’.
The F.E.A.R. Files contains two games – F.E.A.R. Extraction Point and F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate. Extraction Point was created by Day 1 Studios, while Perseus Mandate was done by TimeGate studios. Neither of these teams are Monolith, who created F.E.A.R. originally. At least Day 1 Studios did the Xbox 360 port of F.E.A.R, so they’ve some track record with the title.
The standalone aspect is that you don’t need the original game to play this, so the words ‘new F.E.A.R. games’ seem more appropriate. Or are they trying to reduce our expectations? Very possibly.
If you’ve never played this game, it’s a by-the-numbers FPS where they’ve given the enemies slightly more AI juice than normal. That means they don’t just run at you, they make the best of the cover and any strategic flanking that presents itself. That and the ‘paranormal’ aspects are meant to ramp up the tension, and when playing late at night they certainly do.
My first cause for complaint is the quality of the Extraction Point levels though, which have the feeling they where created for the original game, but rejected for various reasons. They’re not poor, but they don’t bring anything new to the party.
Perseus Mandate is a little better, but only marginally. And the story presented with it is also a bit more approachable for those that haven’t previously played the original.
But, and this is the killer, these games don’t look remotely like Xbox 360 titles. They look like original Xbox games, which is something of a culture shock if you’ve been playing any of the recent releases for the machine. On a HD display they look pretty nasty in places, and aren’t something you’d drag out to show off what the console can do.
Those going to spend £49.99 RRP on a title for an Xbox 360 title at least want it to look like it was developed for that equipment, and not for some other older kit. If it had been offered as a cheap 360 stocking filler, it might have worked, but not full price.
In a word, T.I.R.E.D.