Game stories often get more convoluted and impenetrable with each addition to a series, but F.E.A.R. 3 takes things to a new level. Its tale of military experiments, an undead but pregnant mum, a back-from-the-dead brother and child abuse is a mess. It’s so poorly explained that even basics such as the end goal are unclear. Something about a lost girlfriend, maybe?
That Point Man, the lead character, is a mute grunt doesn’t help either, leaving his dead brother Paxton Fettel to confuse things further with his reminiscing.
Luckily the game smothered by this cack-handed storytelling turns out to be a fast-paced first-person shooter.
Despite the horror trappings, it's low on scares, but it does excite in spades. One reason is Point Man’s ability to slow time, which allows for some thrilling, almost cinematic manoeuvres as you waste sluggish opponents. That the enemies are not the usual cannon fodder also helps. Soldiers search the levels for you, shout out commands to each other and close in on your position with the air of trained professionals. It’s a far cry from Call of Duty’s pop-up targets.
There’s plenty of long-term appeal too with the ability to replay levels as Fettel, who can possess enemies instead of slowing time, and a fine co-op mode that encourages backstabbing for experience points.
Finally there are four decent multiplayer games. The stand out is the subtly named ‘Fu**ing Run!’, where players have to flee an encroaching wall of death while fighting off enemies and ensuring no one is left behind.
It may have a story that may as well have been written in Latin, but its smart action makes F.E.A.R. 3 a cut above the average first-person shooter.