There just aren’t enough games like F.E.A.R. There aren’t enough games that mash genres together so well that it seems surprising nobody else was able to do it before. The combat in horror games tends to be pretty awful. Be it wonky shooting, or stiff melee mechanics, it seems that the combat in horror games can sometimes be the scariest part about playing them. When it comes to shooters the atmosphere and tension can sometimes be pretty bland. When you’re a one man wrecking crew, feeling a strong sense of dread is not something that is likely to happen as you gun down foes left and right. By combining solid, somewhat-tactical shooting with a tense and horrific atmosphere, F.E.A.R. succeeds where many games of either of it’s inspired genres fail. I had never played F.E.A.R. up until recently and after I was done, I wished I had played it sooner.
I understand why people complain about generic shooters. The FPS genre is a popular one and has been for a very long time. When you have a series like Call of Duty being the king of video games, it can seem like more and more games are taking half-assed attempts at taking down the king. The world probably doesn’t need another brown and gray military themed shooter, which is what made playing F.E.A.R. such a treat. For what some might consider a “classic” game at this point, F.E.A.R. brought a lot of unique ideas and elements that many other FPS games chose to to ignore. Slow-motion shooting might not be that exciting in the year 2013, but F.E.A.R. allowed you to utilize it in order to gain a tactical advantage in battles instead of simply having cool looking shootouts. The meshing of psychological horror with Japanese inspired horror set in a somewhat hard sci-fi office building works incredibly well and is one of the elements of F.E.A.R. I’m surprised more games haven’t borrowed from. You would think that more games would embrace some of the lessons learned by F.E.A.R. but unfortunately they don’t.
To me, F.E.A.R. is one of those games that I would recommend to almost anyone. To me, it is a classic that I’m glad I finally played. It’s not the scariest horror game or the most bombastic shooter, but it doesn’t try to be and that’s what make it work. F.E.A.R. is a breath of fresh air even in 2013. Older shooters don’t always age well, but F.E.A.R. plays just as good as any other shooter being released today. That alone is impressive and the fact the spooks still work is awesome. With popular J-horror films like The Ring and The Grudge having come and gone, I found it refreshing to experience some of those horror elements again even if F.E.A.R. is almost as old as those movies.
After finishing F.E.A.R. I was very excited to see where the story goes from the fantastic ending but I also felt like I had complete experience and was fine with the story just ending there. But like all good horror franchises, F.E.A.R. just had to have a couple of sequels. Part two of the Smell of F.E.A.R. series continues with F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.