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F.E.A.R. 3 Review

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D.E.C.E.N.T.

★★★★★

When any game’s cocky enough to sell itself as the ultimate horror blaster, it’s setting a tough challenge in days when the shelves are already swamped with hardcore shooters and digital tales of terror. But despite its best efforts and distinguished legacy, F.E.A.R. 3 delivers on only half its promises.

As a brutal blaster it's a lot of fun, with a wide variety of weapons that keep the combat fresh and exciting, and a linear structure that forces you into a series of tense firefights where using cover is essential to stay alive. Carefully punctuated action – intense shootouts are followed by brief respites where you can wander unscathed through the game’s atmospheric locations – makes F.E.A.R. 3 a decent choice for gun nuts. But the main appeal is its sublime cooperative mode where one player takes control of the gun-totin’ Point Man and the other tinkers with Paxton Fettel’s supernatural powers, making for thrilling battles where one gamer can use ghostly tricks to lift an enemy into the air, while their partner rushes in and riddles the bewildered bad guy with bullets. And with an imaginative selection of head-to-head multiplayer options – including the genius ‘Fucking Run’ mode where a deadly wall continues to advance throughout the matches, forcing combatants to keep moving – F.E.A.R. 3 is a fine choice for communal gunplay.

But while previous F.E.A.R. adventures were generous with their scares and created a sinister atmosphere to rival Resident Evil or Silent Hill, the latest instalment drops the ball in narrative terms. The storyline is confusing, convoluted and downright boring, offering little by way of creepiness and only the occasional twitchy jump. Shoddy graphics, that look like something from five years ago, do little to help F.E.A.R. 3 in the wake of the glorious Halo: Reach and Call Of Duty: Black Ops, making this a lacklustre showing for one of the most interesting horror franchises in recent memory.

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