Continuing the saga of the highly popular psychological horror series “F.E.A.R”, Korea’s Inplay Interactive bring us a free-to-play online shooter. I had to ask myself, how does a single-player campaign translate into a multiplayer setting? Doesn’t the fact that you have a group lesson the potential or opportunity to provide the scare factor we have come to expect while playing F.E.A.R alone in the dark?
The setting for this online multiplayer edition is set after the events of F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin where you are investigation the destructive powers of Alma Wade. The city of Fairport has been destroyed by a nuclear explosion that failed to eliminate the threat and instead let loose many strange creatures. However you only get to experience the story, kind of, as part of the Cooperative Story Mode where you will have to face off both monsters and Armacham soldiers to survive
As either an ATC of TF soldier, you will team up with 1 to 3 other players who have to battle together to proceed through a Subway. The action is fast paced and very unforgiving, which is refreshing. If at least one person survives a stage, everyone returns to tackle the next stage, however if everyone dies you have to start over completely and will receive no rewards. Don’t pause too long at any one point as mobs will just continue to spawn and cause you to run out of ammunition and die. I enjoyed the challenge of the story mode but didn’t feel connected to the story in any way. And unfortunately this is the only connection you could get as the rest of the modes are purely PVP battlegrounds.
Currently there are ten maps to engage in up to 8 vs 8 battles. You have your typical Death match play where the team that scores to requisite number of kills first wins. There are five maps to enjoy, the Bloody Field, Daytime Rooftop, Slaughterhouse, Mansion or Hospital. Then you have Demolition maps, Airport or Venice where you complete rounds as a team planting or defusing the bombs. In Knife Fight you rack up kills in Downfall with just your melee weapons, knife, axe and so on. The maps for all the PVP are well designed providing numerous tactics to engage in combat.
A nice feature is the ability to trade your weapons during matches upon death. Shot Gun not working well for you, queue up to return with a Sniper Rifle. This is an innovative feature that surprised me, making matches not feel so painful when you feel outgunned by the other team. The potential to mix it up and counter really helped change the feel of combat. Keep in mind that you have had to either craft or buy additional weapons to have them available and be a certain rank to use them.
To craft weapons you need to complete daily objectives which require you to win matches to earn the resources needed. Once you collect all the parts of a gun, then you can build it and own it forever. While this does allow you to earn everything in game for free and eliminate the argument of it potentially being a Pay 2 Win game. You do have to win matches to earn the rewards to be able to craft them. New players may find this overly challenging and become frustrated before they earn enough ranks or enough supplies to craft and equip new weapons.
You can also buy weapons and gear with in-game points but they are on a time limit of up to 30 days. This allows you to try most of the available weapons before you craft them. This I actually like since I won’t end up making a weapon I don’t enjoy playing with before one I do enjoy. There will also be cosmetics for weapons and armor that you can purchase with real money, but they just change the look not the capability. I call this a win for the cash shop approach.
Psionics is a feature that allows you to customize the augmentations on your soldier. You unlock the various perks and choose which to apply. As with weapons, some perks will be available to purchase on a time limit until you earn a permanent version. You can also purchase various soldier skins to allow you further customization to how your character looks. These are completely new soldiers however, so you can have weapon and Psionic loadouts for each.
F.E.A.R Online plays very well, but overall is just another F2P Shooter. I am missing the fear factor and wasn’t scared at all like you would expect from the series that terrified thousands when it began. However if you enjoy the thrill of sniping, stabbing and blasting your friends and rivals, then you may want to give it a shot. I hope in the future they add the ability to challenge the Story Modes solo to allow more flexibility to play when you don’t have or feel like being in a group. This would also allow for more inclusion of the FEAR elements we expect from the Alma Wade universe.