Day 1 Studios have recently been releasing screenie after screenie for their rather morbid Xbox 360 title F.E.A.R. What’s more, each set of shots seems to be getting better and better in terms of graphical prowess. Now 360 Monster has had the chance to test out F.E.A.R and see if its gameplay matches its graphics and if the PC port will be worth the whopping £50 price tag?

As soon as the level started you just know that you’re playing a game of pure genius. It feels so dark, even scary at times and you will no doubt find that throughout the game your heart will be pounding louder than your Xbox 360 (and that’s one hell of a feat). You will notice throughout the game that ghosts will follow you and on a few occasions I found myself turning and shooting the damn things as you think they are going to attack you. There is also a rather nasty scene involving a little red girl and a lot of blood, but ill leave your imagination to do the rest. But it is when you get into your first fire fight that the game becomes truly mind-blowing.

When you shoot an enemy it’s amazing to see the blood splatter all over the walls (sounds morbid I know) and even cooler to watch as the enemies body changes position as each bullet hits them. For example if you shot them in the foot you will see the foot swing back, then they will limp away like a wounded animal whining and moaning. If you shot them in the head the power of the bullet will make the head snap back and it just shows how realistic this game is.

It doesn’t stop there, as the game sports a rather neat matrix style slow-mo feature where by you slow down time (bet you didn’t guess that one). This is of course nothing new, but putting the game into slow mo and looking at the path of each bullet as it punches through the enemies skull is nothing short of amazing. The slow mo is also a very tactical feature as you can dodge your foes bullets which can be the difference between life and… well a not so pretty death.

You will also be able to do things like leaning round corners which of course means there’s less of you to get shot. I mean personally I like to go in guns blazing for king and country, but if you like to be stealthy and like conserving both your ammo and health then the leaning attribute is for you. You can also melee your enemies in case you do run out of bullets, if you do have to resort to hand to hand combat I doubt your fists will save you, but there’s no use in not trying.

The weapons in this new game are also pretty nifty, you can dual wield and carry everything from machine guns to grenade launchers. The guns also sound and act as they would in real life, each and every weapon sounds so unique, no two guns are the same. The animation involved in shooting is absolutely flawless, everything from the guns kicking back to the bullet actually leaving the barrel looks just beautiful.

The games AI is also top notch, you will notice that the enemy will use all sorts of strategies to try and overcome you. Also enemies will do quite a lot to avoid you. If they feel threatened then they can jump through windows, jump down flights of stairs, hide round corners, crouch and generally be really annoying. They will also realise were they are vulnerable, like if you are using a melee attack they will step back so they are out of range and of course they will scarper as soon as a grenade is near them. The final nail in your coffin is the fact that if they spot you (which they will, trust me) they will call in reinforcements, so you must shut them up before they get the chance.

Graphically the game is sublime, your gun looks so swish and the enemies look even better. The surroundings are not like other FPS titles in that they are not bland and lifeless, they are beautifully crafted and look amazing. The levels are usually enclosed and the lighting and shadows really add a scary effect to the game. You will also notice that the walls, windows and doors will suffer from your mis-aimed bullets; I mean a couple of missed shots will make a wall look like something out of Bonnie and Clyde. You will even be able to shot through walls and windows to gain a better view of the surrounding environment, I mean as if this game couldn’t get any better.

Another thing to note is the fact that you will have to earn points throughout the game and then you can be entered onto leaderboards through Xbox Live. Things like killing enemies in various ways will get you more and more points. Also killing combos will boost your scores up too and then you will be able to brag about how good you are (if that’s what you like doing). Online will support up to 16 players and you will be able to play in CTF, Territories, good old Deathmatch and even a cool slow-mo gametype. So there’s something for everyone.

The game looks set to be released in November and by god it’s going to blow your mind. Forget about Gears of War for a second as this shouldn’t be underestimated, with slick visuals, amazingly immersive gameplay and a very scary girl watching your every move this is going to be truly blinding, awesome, amazing, you name it. As each new set of screenies is released the game gets better, as each new set of facts is shown to the world the game gets better and as each new demo is revealed the game just gets better. This is a must for anyone with an Xbox 360 and for anyone who likes nothing more than blood, bullets and mayhem.

Originally Written By: Lee Matthews


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