When discussing the greatest scare-fests There are a few guaranteed names to pop up in any discussion of the best survival horror games of all time: Resident Evil, Amnesia, and Outlast. However, F.E.A.R., or “F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon,” to give it its full title, is one game that might be missed on that list.
While the 2005 original of F.E.A.R. was certainly impressive and had great potential, the series ultimately came to an end after only two middling sequels.
If you haven’t tried any of the F.E.A.R. games but are interested in learning more about them, keep reading!
F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon
Date of publication: October 17, 2005
Producer of the Monolithic Version
System Requirements: PC (Microsoft Windows), 360 (Xbox 360), 3 (PlayS
Let’s go back to the beginning, with the best game in the series F.E.A.R. was a game that got so much right, from the gunplay to the horror elements, and it was also technically impressive, as the graphics were quite a sight to behold in 2005, provided that you had a PC that could run the game at maximum settings.
In terms of gameplay, F.E.A.R. is a first-person shooter, and a good one at that. Despite the simplicity of the game’s mechanics, the intense violence of the gunfights kept me captivated. F.E.A.R. is a thrilling experience from start to finish thanks to its well-designed environments, intelligent enemies, and “reflex time” (bullet time) mechanic.
Throughout the campaign, the players were kept on the edge of their seats by more than just the combat. Each level in the game can be roughly broken down into two categories: action and exploration. The action sequences involve eliminating waves of enemy Replica soldiers, as one might expect, while the exploration sequences serve as a break from the action and put the spotlight on the game’s horror elements and narrative.
The series’ signature villain, the spectral girl known as Alma, would accompany the player as they explored the levels in search of upgrades, new weapons, and story-related intel collectibles. The HUD would flutter to indicate her presence, and from that point on, the player could expect to encounter various anomalies and hallucinations that would make them jump out of their seat and, on occasion, give them insight into the game’s story.
While the scares in F.E.A.R. aren’t quite as effective as they were back in 2005, the game’s action still holds up well. The action sequences in F.E.A.R. are easily on par with, if not superior to, those in other modern action games.
The excellent artificial intelligence (AI) is what really makes it feel like you’re facing off against a team of trained soldiers and not just a bunch of moving bullet sponges with guns. In addition, the realistic gunplay and atmospheric effects do a great job of immersing the player.
TimeGate Studios, rather than Monolith, developed the F.E.A.R. expansions Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate.
Position of Extraction came out in 2006, and it’s the superior expansion to the other one because it stays true to the formula and tone of the original. It included new weapons, enemies, and a new single-player campaign. Overall, it was a good expansion that was fun to play, despite being a step down from the original game, especially in terms of story.
Next, Mission of Perseus followed in 2007; unfortunately, it ranks among the franchise’s weakest entries. Despite retaining and expanding upon the features introduced in Extraction Point, the expansion’s graphics and level design fell short, and the horror sections mostly degenerated into uninspired, repetitive jumpscares.
It’s safe to say that even in 2022, if you haven’t played F.E.A.R., you should give it a shot. If you enjoy the base game, the first expansion is also recommended.
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
Date of publication: February 10th, 2009
Producer of the Monolithic Version
Windows, Xbox 360, and PS3 are the supported platforms.
The official F.E.A.R. sequel was released in 2009, and while it was capable of standing on its own, it began moving the series in a new direction that didn’t sit well with the fans of the original game. Project Origin, a Sequel to F.E.A.R. semi-linear levels divided into action and exploration segments, as in the original, with some new twists on the formula.
F.E.A.R. 2 improved upon the original game by including a wider variety of enemies and allowing players to use environment objects as cover by toppling them. In addition to the usual first-person shooter and horror segments, the game also included vehicle combat, in the form of combat mech segments.
Overall, F.E.A.R. 2 was trying to appeal more to a console audience and adapt to a shifting market, which is reflected in a number of ways in comparison to the original F.E.A.R., which was developed and released for PC first.
Iron sights are one such new feature that at first glance might not seem like a big deal, but are actually quite significant. However, in practice, the shootouts were not as effective as they could have been because players were encouraged to aim down the sights instead of hip-firing like in the first game.
Then there are the scary parts that rely too heavily on cheaply executed jump scares that were written into the script with little to no preparation. Yes, those were present in the original game as well, but the darker, grittier environments served to enhance the atmosphere, the scares typically had a proper buildup leading up to them, and the overall tone of the game fit better.
In contrast, the bleak, claustrophobic, and lonely settings of the original F.E.A.R. don’t quite achieve the same effect in F.E.A.R. 2, which is full of particle effects and saturated colors and features plenty of talkative NPCs.
There was also a single piece of downloadable content for the game called F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn, which added several new missions but no major new features and served primarily to set up the story for the sequel.
In the end, we think F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is a good game in its own right, but it pales in comparison to the original in almost every way. While the original game stands out from the crowd, the sequel looks and plays like any other first-person shooter for consoles from the late 2000s or early 2010s.
Date of Publication: June 21, 2011
Day 1 Studios, the developer
Windows, Xbox 360, and PS3 are the supported platforms.
In 2011, the third and final mainline entry, F.E.A.R. 3, was released. You probably wouldn’t recognize it as an F.E.A.R. game if not for the logo and a few familiar names.
As we’ve discussed, the series’ second entry shifted its attention toward the console market, and the third game completed this transition. In particular, the game had a cover system that, when activated, snapped the player into third-person for a better overview of their surroundings and restricted them to using only two weapons at once.
The game also heavily emphasized cooperative gameplay, which was a major focus at the turn of the decade. F.E.A.R. 3 can be played entirely in cooperative mode, and the experience is much more rewarding than in single-player mode.
Therefore, F.E.A.R. 3 is not a F.E.A.R. game in any meaningful sense, despite being a competent shooter in its own right. The first game is largely generic cover shooter that would be hard to distinguish from the sea of other games like it released around the same time if you took away all the familiar names and likenesses.
As we’ve established, F.E.A.R. 3 isn’t terrible on its own, but it is terrible as a continuation of the F.E.A.R. series, failing miserably at both the horror and atmosphere fronts. Since the game’s strongest feature is its cooperative mode, we recommend it only if you have a friend who is also interested in trying it out.
October 8th, 2014 — Date of Publication
Created by: Aeria Games
Windows, a Microsoft Platform
Aeria Games’ F.E.A.R. Online, a multiplayer game, was the last in the series for the time being. The game spent several months in closed beta before releasing an open beta on Steam in October 2014, which lasted until May of the following year.
The game had a co-op mode inspired by Left 4 Dead, in which four players work together to complete a campaign that is broken up into several episodes. In addition, it had a couple of player versus player modes, but the final product was never released.
And with that, all the F.E.A.R. games available to date have been completed.
The series had a promising beginning but faded into obscurity after a few years, as was mentioned at the beginning. The series’ untimely demise can be attributed to a number of factors, but the shifting market played a significant role.
To this day, we still don’t know if or when a proper new F.E.A.R. game will be released. It’s possible that the original’s success will inspire a sequel or remake that improves upon the original’s strengths.
No new F.E.A.R. projects have been announced in years, so fans are left with little choice but to hold out hope.