7 Reviews

F.E.A.R. Files

There goes the fear... Oh, wait, it's back again.

One of the commonest questions we get asked is: "What makes Halo 3 so much better than all those other FPS', anyway?" It's a question that we'd struggle to answer if you accosted us in the chocolate éclair aisle of Morrisons. But if you caught us while we were struggling through an inferior FPS that doesn't do the basic fundamentals that Halo nails so well, we could rattle off reasons all day long. Let's look at exhibit A: F.E.A.R. Files.

Now, you might think it somewhat cruel to compare a game like Halo 3 to a game which consists of a couple of short expansion packs to a PC game that's over two years old and isn't particularly wearing its age well. But then, publishers Vivendi obviously think it's fit to be released at the same price point, so we'd beg to differ.


It's the little things that get to you. Like how the level design is still turd-through-your-letterbox appalling. You know how Halo 3 has little waypoints to guide you to the switches and whatnot? Yeah, F.E.A.R. doesn't have that. You know how Halo 3 keeps multiple checkpoints saved so you're never placed in an impossible situation upon respawning? F.E.A.R. decides that nah, that's not for me, thanks, and will routinely save your game with about 4.5 units of health and two bullets remaining.

You know how Halo 3 learnt its lesson from Halo 2's Arbiter levels, and made sure that you could always tell who was on your side? Well, Perseus Mandate (the newer of the two expansion packs included) introduces AI team-mates, but makes them the same dingy brown as your adversaries. Cheers then! Oh, and did we mention how distressingly grey and dull the game is? Because it definitely, really, truly, woefully is. All flaws that could be applied to the original F.E.A.R., of course, but Monolith's effort had more flair and soul than poor old TimeGate's sloppy seconds, meaning they weren't so glaringly evident all that time ago.

The truth is, like many other things that were world beaters a few years ago (like Britney Spears, Ricky Gervais and Spider-Man movies), the F.E.A.R. (in its current guise) looks pretty darn ropey these days. Sadly, the only relevance it has today is its quite scarily superb AI, and the further mystery of how it hasn't been bettered to this day. For this alone, the original F.E.A.R. is worth the £20-30 you can pick it up for in your nearest games shop. But this? Nah... this is opportunistic nonsense.

The verdict

Both Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate are short, dull and inferior to the original.

  • Time-altering is timeless
  • Crushingly bad retro looks
  • Terrible value for money
Xbox 360