F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is a first person shooter/psychological horror game developed by Monolith Productions and published by Vivendi Universal Game and Warner Bros. Games released in North America on October 18th, 2005 for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft PC. And a year later on the PlayStation 3. It stars the Point Man, a new recruit that goes on a mission to detain Paxton Fettel, a rogue psychic who takes control of a clone army under the influence of a creepy little girl known as Alma Wade. So, without further ado, let's dive into F.E.A.R.

Does the TV get Netflix?

The game starts off with a mission briefing before you arrive at the ATC headquarters at Fairport, Washington. From there on out you take control of the Point Man. The game looks pretty clean for being released in 2005. You can even see your own shadow. You can cycle between pistols, assault rifles, and submachine guns, but the best part of the game is the super reflexes you can call upon at any time to fire at enemies faster and do more damage, but it only last for a limited time before it runs out, so use it wisely.

This is no fun! No fun! Staring at the wall!

Most of the game you're by yourself creating a feeling of isolation. Alone against an army, and hallucinations that happens at specific times in the game. So much staged that they lose their shock value when you know when a hallucination is coming. In these hallucinations there's nothing you can do except ride it out. I myself have been known to waste bullets thinking the enemies were real, but they aren't real. They were never real. You know what? I don't think this game is good for my mental health.

You've been struck by a smooth criminal!

The AI in this game is pretty smart. They'll work together to try to kill you and even kick over objects to provide cover in gun fights. This provides a fair challenge when confronting enemies from stage to stage. They won't just stand there and let you shoot them to death, they'll get behind cover quickly and go from there. Just like if you were fighting trained soldiers for real. The AI was so well received that the game earned awards for it, and rightfully so.

Don't move, dirt bag! I know how to use this thing.

Let's talk about the horror aspect for a bit, since that's the main thing that helps this game stands out among the sea of FPS titles in the world. The suspense in-between each scare tactic is well executed. You're really dreading the next time you're going to be scared, but the payoff is hit and miss. The game relies on jump scares to get your heart moving. And jump scares are the lowest forms of horror tools you can ask for. About the scariest part in the game is when you're climbing down the ladder and the camera turns in front of you to display Alma Wade who is just standing there while you're descending the ladder.

The fact that you're a super soldier with super reflexes and armed to the teeth takes away from the horror aspect also. Why should you be afraid of a little girl, or whatever she can throw at you when you're already a super soldier that can deal damage to a whole group of soldiers by yourself? Some could say it's because Alma can't be harmed by regular bullets, but she never tries to actually harm you for most of the game anyway, so at the end of the day she's just stalking you in a creepy, "I want a restraining order," fashion. Speaking of Alma Wade...

Come play with us, Point Man.

Alma Wade is the primarily antagonist of F.E.A.R. She's a powerful psychic who was held in captivity by Armacham Technology Corporation who use her in inhuman experiments throughout her childhood. Making her somewhat of a sympathetic character. That's a card they play a bit too heavily in the sequels. She was killed as an adult, but her abilities and pure hatred of Armacham made her last long after death and come back to get revenge.

For most of the early stages of the game you see her child form, which is as shown in the picture above. Later on in the game the vault she was in is opened and her adult body comes out, and she's... naked. Don't ask. Personally, I find her child form scarier than her adult form. There is just something about the innocent, but creepy child aspect that frightens me. While I'm critical of the game's ability to be scary, Alma Wade herself has been the star of several nightmares of mine since I played the original game. So while the game isn't always scary, there's something extremely unnerving about Alma Wade herself that can make or break the whole game. She's the star of the show, and she's going to shine all the way through.

Overall, F.E.A.R. is a fun action game with horror elements that work some of the time, but not all of the time. Alma Wade appearances are unique and really what make the game special. That and the mystery surrounding her existence that will be answered as you get farther into the game. If you're into the first person shooters and want something a little different, then F.E.A.R. may be just what the doctor ordered.

Get it!