Summary: F.E.A.R. was a love-or-hate shooter and JCal has the final word on the expansion. Is it worth your money?
With Monolith now working on a sequel to F.E.A.R. (which will reportedly use some of the characters but not the gameís actual title), publisher Vivendi recruited developer Timegate Studios to create a PC expansion pack to the original game called F.E.A.R. Extraction Point. Timegate has previously released RTS games (Kohan, Kohan II and Axis and Allies) so their first venture into the FPS genre is certainly a high profile one. The final result certainly has a lot of the original gameís strengths but also a lot of its weaknesses.
For those of you who never finish the original game, kindly ignore the next paragraph. Ready? OK? For the rest of you, F.E.A.R. Extraction Point picks up right where the first game left off as your unnamed F.E.A.R. agent player character is being flown out via helicopter while escaping a nuclear blast. Unfortunately, the copter crash lands short of its goal and now your character and your two comrades have to walk through the city in order to get to the new extraction point (get it?) and finally head back home. Of course things are never that easy in these games and your character has to deal with not only a lot of the foes from the original F.E.A.R. but a couple of new threats as well.
As we said Extraction Point has many of the things that made the original so good. The clever enemy AI is back in force as the Replicants, the tech-ninja and more are all up in your grill once again as they try to out think, out shoot and out flank you in every turn. The firefights in Extraction Point are just as intense in the original game with lots of smoke, particle effects, explosions and general chaos thatís generated. The creepiness is also back and you will likely jump a couple of times as you are briefly taken out of the game to experience some weird horror themed visions (or are they?) Visually Extraction Point is just as strong as the original with impressive character and weapons models and solid art textures and visual effects. Sound and music effects are also on a par with the original F.E.A.R.
There are a few new weapons in the expansion pack, including a new laser machine gun and a chaingun that can give you a big rush when you put it in motion. There are also remote mini-turrets that you throw out like a grenade. They stick to the floor and even walls and can deal some major damage to hordes of enemies. There are a couple of new variants of F.E.A.R.ís original enemies in Extraction Point but the only really new original foe is a spirit like enemy that appears early on in the game.
The biggest weakness in F.E.A.R. Extraction Point is the overall plot; basically there isnít any. The original game kept you interested in the mystery of who the Alma girl-ghost character was, what the replicantsí leader Paxton Fettle was up to and what your player characterís mysterious origins were. In Extraction Point there is no real overreaching mystery to solve; itís just a charge to get to the final extraction point. The expansionís play time is about 5 hours from start to finish and after you complete it you realize that the whole experience was just a coda to the originalís storyline rather than something that truly expands on F.E.A.R.ís first storyline. If you are looking for new multiplayer elements you really wonít find them here. Vivendi has already released the entire multiplayer modes for the original game for free as F.E.A.R. Combat and Extraction Point doesnít add anything new to the mix.
Retains the originalís AI strengths
Storyline is short and uninteresting
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