E3 2010: F.E.A.R. 3 PreviewBy Paul Semel - Posted Jun 15, 2010
What We Already Know:
At an event held in Los Angeles this past May, Warner Brothers Interactive showed off three of the games they're planning to showcase at this year's E3. Chief among them, especially for fans of scary shooters, was F.E.A.R. 3, which is being developed by Day 1, the studio who made the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of 2005's F.E.A.R.
What We're Seeing Now:
The setup of this sequel is that you're back playing as Point Man, the hero from the first game. Except now you have a sidekick in Paxton Fettel. Yes, the same Paxton Fettel who was one of your main antagonists in the original game and is [SPOILER ALERT!] also your dead brother who's come back as a ghostly apparition. Paxton even has his own special abilities, such as being able to shoot guys with lightning, open doors Point Man can't, and possess enemy soldiers, which gives you control of their trigger fingers (though it does mean you can't use your ghostly powers when you're someone else).
As a result, F.E.A.R. 3 has a strong emphasis on co-op play. Well, sort of. While you can play the game as Point Man solo, or with you as Point Man and a friend as Paxton, you don't actually have to co-operate. Sure, you can work together -- reviving each other when you're down, etc. -- but you can also try and undermine each other, though the Day 1 guys didn't go into much detail except to show Paxton being a not-so-friendly ghost who doesn't help Point Man find some much-needed ammo. They even call this mode (at least in the demo we played) “Competitive,” and said the game would keep score for both players, though they didn't say how this would work (beyond bragging), just that it was much deeper than simply comparing scores.
Not to be outdone, Point Man also has some new kill skills, most notably the ability to take cover. Working much the way it did in Killzone 2, the game maintains the first-person perspective, and even lets you peer out from behind cover. He also has some new guns to play with, as well as some cool mech suits much like the kind you got to drive in last year's F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.
Point Man is also getting some help from some famous and fear-ful friends. Comic book writer Steve Niles (30 Days Of Night, Batman: Gotham After Midnight) is working on the game's script, while movie director John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) -- who was so impressed with the first F.E.A.R. that he actually did interviews to promote it, even though he was otherwise uninvolved -- is helping out with the cut-scenes.
How this will all work out remains to be seen -- F.E.A.R. 3 isn't slated to be released until the fall -- though if the level that was playable at the event is any indication, there's not much to, well, fear. Playing a sequence where you explore a train bridge where there's been a terrible accident, it was quickly apparent that the game has the same smooth controls as earlier games in the series.
Though one can't help but wonder if having a sidekick the whole time -- even one as freaky as ghost-Paxton -- won't ruin the fright factor. Also left unanswered were whether you'll be able to play the game solo as Paxton, or in what ways he and his special powers might figure into the more traditional multiplayer modes Day 1 will undoubtedly include.