(Warner Bros. for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
From a gameplay perspective, F.E.A.R. 3 is immediately satisfying. The series’ consistently tight and responsive gunplay, coupled with its addicting (and not copied nearly enough) slow-mo mechanic, makes for another great-playing game. Developer Day One Studios builds an expansive framework that squeezes the most out of those core mechanics, as well.
There are a bunch of meta-game challenges (a la Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions) layered over the single-player campaign that reward you with experience points upon completion. There’s an interesting two-player co-op mode where one of the players can haunt the environments as a malevolent ghost, possessing enemies and causing general chaos, and there are some playful nontraditional multiplayer modes, including one where players must flee from a sky-high wall of rapidly approaching doom. The inclusion of all of these very “game-y” modes and options means that a horror fan who might want the game to deliver a little more in the way of the chills suggested by its title could walk away disappointed.
Though not consistently spine-tingling, F.E.A.R. 3 does deliver creepy and often stunningly realized environments like a hellish version of Costco and the bloodied interiors of a stretch of suburban townhouses. The story doesn’t hold the same sense of intrigue as the previous entries in the series, but focusing on fleshing out the franchise’s strong shooter foundation was a smart move. This third entry may not stick with you for long after you’ve wrapped the story, but the immediate and polished action make it a worthy summer thrill ride.