Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Frightfully Good: F.E.A.R.

It's that time of year and the Halloween festivities are just starting to pick up speed. As the leaves are changing and falling, and the weather gets colder and colder, maybe you'd like to get into the spirit of things with a few frightfully good games? The horror genre is a wide and wonderful genre in gaming, spawning a number of great and memorable titles. Although there are examples of these horror games in the past, as technology gets better and graphics become more realistic, these days developers can dish out some truly horrific titles. And these days the budgets for video games rival those for blockbuster films, so it only makes sense that horror, and its many subgenres like survival/horror, will be extremely popular. One of my recent favs is the F.E.A.R. series, that first made its debut on PCs in 2005, and then on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2006.

As the name suggests, there's a great deal to be afraid of in the title. In the game, you played as a member of the First Encounter Assault Recon, a special government task force that investigates paranormal activity. You face a number of "super soldiers" who are at the command of a terrifying "girl" named Alma, seen above. The game's story is unravelled bit by bit as you play so you'll just have to play it to find out just what Alma is. F.E.A.R. takes a lot of cues from Japanese horror films, where they're more concerned with the "psychology of fear" rather than things that jump out at you. That being the case there are some real "OH MY GOD" moments in this title, and the atmosphere can get EXTREMELY terrifying. Long dark hallways, lights that flicker as you walk by them, sounds that come from behind you, strange things happening in the corner of your eye. What's more Alma has the power to give your character horrifying hallucinations, from thinking you're seeing something you're not, to actually creating things you're forced to fight. The effect is tremendously entertaining.

A sequel to F.E.A.R. came out earlier this year called F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin. Alma has grown up and the tricks she'll play on your character as you play are just as mindblowing as the first. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is also for the PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. Pick it up and have a scare!

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