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F.E.A.R 3: Third time's a charm?

The royally screwed-up family...

We're in a quandary here. We can't decide whether it's better to exploderise someone's/something's noggin with a close-range shotgun blast, or whether using viscious psychokinetic powers would be more satisfying.

Happily - or distressingly, depending on your disposition - F.E.A.R. 3 allows experimentation with both, as this threequel puts you in the boots of a pair of brothers; one a trigger-happy super soldier named Point Man, the other the malicious ghost of Paxton Fettel.

If you've played the first game, you'll know all about these two. In single-player you alternate between the pair, while in co-op play you'll choose one or the other. Oh, and they're the sons of Alma.


You know, the evil, dark-haired female from the series who periodically appears to mess with your mind in a grim alternate dimension of her twisted imagination's devising. Lovely job.

From what we've seen so far the game bears all the hallmarks of the previous titles, blending 'you versus men and monsters' first-person shooter gunplay with psychological horror.

F.E.A.R. 3 is full of dimly lit corridors, flickering shadows, half-glimpsed atrocities, battles with rival forces both human and otherwise and sections where you'll pilot a mech. It looks great.

It also looks terrifying and utterly, utterly gruesome - aside from heads blowing apart in showers of gore, we've also witnessed localised body damage, with adversaries losing limbs yet still coming back for more.

Aside from the enticing mix of horror and shooter genres, it's the prospect of playing as two different characters with two separate combat styles that most appeals.

Fettel's mind-powers recall those of Second Sight and Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, albeit distinctly more aggressive ones.

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Holding a man or monster prone in mid-air with one hand while directing psychic energy into his head with the other has to be great, right? Right, but better than dual-wielding automatic weapons? We'll have to wait and see.

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