E3 2010: F.E.A.R. 3 Preview

By Jordan Douglas on June 25, 2010, 4:43PM EDT

The F.E.A.R. series has been through a turbulent ride in its relatively short lifespan, changing publishers and developers, and an ugly battle over the franchise rights. Despite these headaches, F.E.A.R. is alive and well, figuratively speaking. The third installment from Day 1 Studios and Warner Bros., F.E.A.R. 3, introduces several new features to the franchise, arguably the most important one being the co-op campaign.

Day 1 put a great deal of emphasis on F.E.A.R. 3's co-op story mode during their live demonstration, playing the entire thing in co-op. Two players take control of Point Man and his brother, Plaxton Fettel, who also happens to be a ghost. Point Man has a similar skill set from the previous games, primarily firepower and bullet time. Being a ghost gives Fettel a wider array of skills such as telekinesis, stunning enemies, and the ability to posses people. That last ability can really come in handy during large scale battles. For instance, the developer put it to use by taking control of an enemy sniper across a long courtyard, then preceding to snipe the remaining soldiers from behind.

F.E.A.R. 3 will also include numerous features to entice players to replay the campaign such as a "generative AI system" as well as competitive scoring challenges. The new AI system will randomly assign enemy positions to keep multiple playthroughs from feeling the same. In addition, it will ideally help maintain the high level of tension F.E.A.R. strives to create. The co-op mode also encourages competition through score tallying and challenges which will keep track of each players stats each level.

All of this talk of co-op doesn't mean the singleplayer has been an afterthought. Both modes generally progress through the same story and levels, however, most of the traditional scares are more effective in singeplayer, when you don't have a friend around. Co-op does give players access to bonus areas that are only reachable while playing with Plaxton Fettel.

F.E.A.R. 3 seems to have added a great deal of features to increase the game's lasting appeal. The addition of co-op play with randomly generated enemies and competitive scoring should add considerable replay value to the campaign. In terms of the look and feel of the game, F.E.A.R. 3 stays faithful to the series stable combat mechanics and has enough varied, detailed environments to keep things fresh. Stay tuned for more on F.E.A.R. 3 as its release date approaches.

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