What is F.E.A.R.?

FaranaeStarred Page By Faranae, 4th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Games>Action & Shooter

From scary to creepy to fun: Did the F.E.A.R. franchise lose it's namesake element over the years?

Over the years.....

The FEAR games have been out for a while now, the first being released back in 2005 and the most recent in 2011.

Over the course of three games (and several downloadable addons which are not considered canon) the player follows the cases surrounding Alma Wade through the eyes and actions of the three most important men in her afterlife - her two sons, and the father of her third child (conceived in the second game, and born in the third, presumed female).

What started out as a thrilling concept with elements of eastern horror and the western love of gun games was quickly corrupted by what was perceived as a more "desirable" brand of scary.


The first game embraced psychological, mess-with-your-mind scare tactics, focusing mostly around Alma Wade's torment as a young woman. The player was constantly haunted by the image of a young girl (Alma) who left bloody footprints in her wake. This, while he was chasing after a cannibalistic psychic commanding a small army of clone soldiers, that we later find out is his brother.

While it was mostly a "gun game", the way in which the supernatural elements were introduced was beautiful. The scary elements were based mostly on suspense up to a moment of climax, usually involving some surprise or a gory scene. Alma kept you jumping, messing with the Pointman's mind to the point that there were several moments in the game where you genuinely could not tell when your character was hallucinating.

At the end of this game? Pointman blows some stuff up, discovers Alma is his mom, kills his brother, and blows some stuff up.

F.E.A.R. 2

The second FEAR game turned away from what worked, creating a monster shoot-em-up game with barely any horror elements at all. The story was stunted, the characters flat, and most players can only remember the general story and the ending rather than any details about the plot.

Most all of the great horror elements of the first game were eliminated in favor of big monsters and bigger guns. And mech suits, did I mention mech suits?

At the end of this game was a rape scene which was accepted by the gaming community fairly easily, all things considered. That rape scene is also one of the only reasons people remember FEAR 2. Just food for thought.

F.E.A.R. 3, or F.3.A.R., or Fuhthreearrr.

The third game attempted to find a balance between the two extremes, and partially succeeded.

It returns the player back into the eyes of Pointman and his back-from-the-dead loving brother Paxton. It doesn't have to make sense, it's a video game.

Better graphics, great co-op, and a more mature Alma made this game. Sloppy NPC AI took a bit from it, but overall it was a really great game. But where is the scary?

Beasties, insanity, flashbacks, sure. But Alma becomes a hero, of sorts. Visions of the woman are more like "oh hey that's cool" points. What happened to the chill up the spine every time you turn a corner? That flash of the ghost girl in the elevator with your escort quest NPC?

In this game? The two brothers hold hands and shoot their way through a lot of bad guys, scary things happen, their mom has a baby, and one of them dies (spoiler alert). Yay!


In the end, Alma Wade made this game series both scary and heart-wrenching at the same time. After you learn the source of all the spooky, it just stops being scary in the slightest. Alma turned out to be a poor little girl who was brutally tortured by her own kin. In the end, all she wanted was a family. And as someone who can normally never play these games because they're "too scary", I can honestly say that I spent the entire time cheering Alma and the nightmares on because all the "victims" deserved what they got.

Back on topic, FEAR is a good example of how game developers can have something great, then crush it to a million pieces because they listen more to their marketing department than their fans.

Mech suits? Really? MECH SUITS.

moderator Steve Kinsman moderated this page.
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