FutureFive New Zealand - Consumer technology news & reviews from the future
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Fri, 1st Feb 2008
FYI, this story is more than a year old

F.E.A.R. was released on the PC in 2005 to critical acclaim, setting a new benchmark for PC games in a time when the market was populated with blockbusters like Half-Life 2 and Quake IV. After F.E.A.R for X360 was received so well, it was only a matter of time until the recently released PC expansions were ported to the console. As many expected Sierra released both of these; Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate, as a package deal for those still craving the F.E.A.R. fix.

For those that have never played the original, F.E.A.R. Files is probably a futile endeavour if looking for anything besides a run of the mill FPS. For those that have been following the series, Extraction Point continues straight on from the finale of the original, continuing the intertwined story of you, the homicidal psychic Commander Fettel and the ghost child Alma. The Perseus Mandate follows the journey of a completely different F.E.A.R. team on a parallel storyline, providing more information on the strange evens that have taken over the whole city.

Together the game will run you about 12 hours, with achievements as odd as the storylines. The lower level points consist of using some of the new weapons, including the laser rifle and mini gun, but for the higher point achievements, get ready for completing the entire campaign on hard without dying, or finishing the campaign without draining your flashlight. Interesting? Try virtually impossible, congratulations to anybody who gets the full 1000 points!

Accompanying the two single player campaigns is an instant action mode, where you battle lines of CPU opponents in a time trial like situation. You get through the level as quickly as possible then upload you score to the online leader boards. There's also a multiplayer mode offering familiar deathmatch and capture the flag modes. However with the multitude of superior Xbox Live games available, getting into a full match was difficult.

The two-year old F.E.A.R. is definitely showing its age and to call it a “next-gen” game would certainly be pushing it. What the visual department lacks in, the sound certainly makes up for. The creepy music and great sound effects combined with some fantastic direction create some generally scary scenes that will have you gaming with the lights on.

Though the story is questionable and the multiplayer community lacking, F.E.A.R. still has its charms. It feels like if released a year earlier, this could have been a blockbuster, but with titles like Orange Box, Bioshock and Halo 3 to contend with, F.E.A.R Files will struggle to make a significant impact like its PC counterpart did 2 years earlier.