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| Sadistic, Psychotic, Homocidal Little Girls (13 comments )|
by: quixilver (5) | Posted in cluster Editors Challenge Sponsored by Intel Round 2
Posted 75 months ago ( edited 75 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
|» MEDIA (3)|
This could get ugly...
...and it did.
pwnage in slo-mo
The way that this game generated interest in itself was incredible, if not suicidal. Created by the underrated but nonetheless extremely ambitious developers Monolith (of N.O.L.F and Shogo M.A.D fame), FEAR was due to be released by its publishers on the exact day that not one, but two reincarnations of the legends of the hallmarks of PC gaming were to be released.
Not only gaming analysts, but gamers were also confused at the antics of the publisher. Sierra was no newcomer to the extremely sensitive business of videogame publishing. A bad release date had often been the undoing of many decent games. Hence Sierra's decision to release FEAR, its much touted FPS on the exact same day as gaming legends such as the mighty Quake 4 and the venerable Age of Empires 3 were to be released was seen as marketing suicide by many.
But as with Half-Life, Sierra has once again forced critics to eat there words with a dash of salt to apply to the wounds.
For simply put, FEAR is one of the most stunning, visceral FPS's to grace the computer screen after a long time. The nightmarish ambience of the world, the almost great plot (finally!), and last but definitely not the least, the gorgeously gory and mesmerizing firefights will leave the gamer writhing in spasms of joy during and after the course of the game.
All aspects of the game reek of excellent production values, and every little bit of the game just bursts with the flashes of creativity and innovations of the developers.
One of the most crucial aspects of the game that have brought it much accolades is not for what the game does, but how it does it.
The game is no revolution, it is simply an enormous leap in evolution. For the basic premise of the game might even appear a bit hackneyed to seasoned veterans.
The experience starts with a cut-scene which is quite well made and atmospheric and thanfully looks like someone with some clue about how to tell a story visually directed it. Gone are the days when it was said that a particular game was so good that it almost seemed like a movie. FEAR squashes such pitiful praises and goes beyond such little distinctions. The cut scene begins with a man seeing a child emerging from a blazing inferno, followed by sinister whispers inside the persons head. The man sits alone in a room, and it is obvious that he is on the very verge of his sanity. Then a demonic presence approaches the man and gives him a simple command that unleashes all hell. It simply orders him to "kill them, kill them all". That sets of the hellish chain of events to follow, and all hell breaks lose.
The game follows the done to death cliche of a secret government project called 'Origin' going horribly wrong, and the gamer plays a new recruit in yet another highly secret military Special Forces unit called F.E.A.R, First Encounter Assault Recon. And as can be expected, the protagonist is completely inexperienced yet sent in alone, or is atleast alone by the time the proverbial poop hits the fan.
With such a B-movie sounding story line, it would appear that FEAR would make the same mistakes that most of the biggest fps's like Quake 4, Doom 3 and Half-life 2 made i.e. a storyline penned by a 14-year old.
Yet once again, FEAR manages to shine. For once more it must be mentioned that FEAR's beauty lies not in what it does, but how it does it, for the way that the story twists and turns cannot be revealed for they ruin much of the fun to be had. The story line, along with its predictable scares and spooks, even makes a few jabs at humour. This is nothing short of a miracle in a genre where humour is considered to be ultimate jinx (Where art thou Duke?).
The man who loses his sanity is called Paxton Fettle, though Fettle is far from a simple madman. Fettle was part of a military project to let commanders control their soldiers using their minds, so that the commanders stay out of harms way.
In Fettle's case, he controls a whole battalion of super soldiers through his mind. And on losing his mind, Fettle unleashes his army of super soldiers on seemingly random targets.
Of course, Fettles selection of targets is revealed later on.
The game's graphics are simply superb, and partly responsible for giving the game much of the desired effect. Although during the normal gameplay they are relatively simple, but once the SloMo (akin to Max Payne's Bullet Time) is activated, prop a cushion under your jaw, as it is going to drop and smash to the floor.
Yes, it happens to be that good.
The sound is also well done and crisp and adds more oomph to the already great ambience. Another thing that deserves mention is that there seems to be an excellent eastern qawwali-ish or Arabic type song in the intro cut-scene to the game.
But the truth of the matter is that the great graphics and creepy sound simply play second fiddle in the greater scheme of things and add up to the game's two main strengths. The game has an utterly creepy and frightfully immersive atmosphere and absolutely mesmerizing and totally incredible gameplay.
This game manages to pull off a feat that even the mighty Doom 3 could not pull off, and that is to scare the pants of the gamer. Before Doom fan boys load up their plasma guns, hear this out. All Doom managed to do was to surprise the gamer by using cheap tricks such as immersing the gamer into blindness inducing amounts of darkness without any lighting and forcing them to fight many foes in claustrophobic environments. It was hundreds of years into the future, on a research base on mars, and the marine was not even equipped with guns having flashlights, let alone thermal or night vision built into his suit. Then there was the extremely irritating habit of the developer to make enemies pop out of hidden panels in the walls. The only surprise about that was how did those imps manage to get into those cabinets in the and what were they doing there in the first place?
But FEAR does much more. Simply put, it does what it says. That is it induces the real, actual feeling of fear in the gamer. What is astounding is that it does not need a whole ensemble of hell's rejects to pull it off. It is so well made, that a freaky little girl will scare the lights out of most people who dare to play this game. FEAR proves the theory that little girls are just as scary as clowns and more so than demonic beasts.
The player is frequently spooked by random visions of the most twisted and hellish nature that keep occurring without any warning and ensure that it will be a long time before those who play the game will sleep with the lights off.
Even more scary is the fact the often while playing, strange things will happen, lights will flicker, things move of their own accord, and most terrifying, the demonic little girl will often be seen moving in a corner of the eye before vanishing quickly. This ensures that throughout the game, the gamer will play at a heartbeat in a range very close to the point where heart attacks occur. Or, in between the scary bits, the player will spend time blasting his way through hordes of extremely intelligent enemies. This does wonders for the flow of the game and there is rarely a boring moment.
The game works very cleverly, terrifying the gamer for one instant, and almost killing him with an adrenaline overdose the next in one of its gun fights. To top it off, the game also treats the gamer to a rudimentary bit of hand-to-hand close range combat. It isn't up to the scale of Chronicles of Riddick, but nonetheless an effective means of a quick kill with cheap thrills. The real potential for this might be in multi-player matches without guns.
It must be said, that firing a gun as never felt this good in a game, ever. This game captures the moment with such surreal beauty, that often during fights, the gamer will be too busy staring at the fight rather than fighting it. The reason for this is the Max Payne inspired slow motion mode called SloMo.
Under SloMo, provided one has the horsepower to run it in all its glory, the game crosses borders from being a collection of pixels to an artistic masterpiece, with the gamer as an artist and his tools being bullets and his paint being the crimson blood of those who become victim to his 'artistic vision'. It looks like a morbid digital 'ballet of blood' choreographed in real-time on screen.
During SloMo, every single pixel on the screen morphs and twists in a dreamlike manner, every single bullet leaves a beautiful trail of air waves behind it. And on contact with the bodies of enemies, it is like a stone being thrown in the water. There is a sickening jerk of the body, accompanied by spurts of thick red blood, and the body going limp as it literally crumples to the ground. There are few games that give as much satisfaction in firing a gun that this game does.
This games praises could be sung all day, but unfortunately, nothing is perfect. For one, the singleplayer campaign, though tightly knit, seems to drag needlessly at certain points. Many of the characters that could have been fleshed out for a much more memorable experience are just thrown around like cannon fodder to be consumed by the demons of weak scriptwriting. The game's dull, bland environments also leave a lot to be desired. It is true that this is a corridor shooter at heart, but a few better locales or atleast a change of locales would have made the game even more enjoyable. The lack of variety in the enemies is also irritating. But these flaws are not strong enough or persistant enough to mar an otherwise fantastic game. Any decent gaming system will be able to handle this game, provided the Soft Shadows option is turned off. If turned on, it easily butchers the framerate. No self-respecting gamer should be without this masterpiece in their collection.
|13 User Comment(s) • 8 root comment(s)|
| Fedor (19) Mar 13, 2007 - 05:31 am | Edited on Mar 13, 2007 - 05:31 am|
|Indeed, I was just about to give it a 5 due to the poor grammar and lack of formatting, but then read your comments and decided to also postpone my judgement until this guy has a chance to fix it up a little (or a lot!).|
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