When I first booted the latest F.E.A.R. expansion pack on my computer I expected to find myself dodging bullets for a few hours. That didn’t happen.
Instead, I ended up dodging opinions as people congregated around my desk and shared their thoughts. Richard even kicked me off the PC altogether, taking command of my desk and playing for ten minutes whilst I ate my lunch. Marmite and lettuce sandwich with some tinned pineapple, crisps and cherry tomatoes. Yum.
So, opinions were flying around the room like batarangs and I was sat in the middle either munching on a sandwich or playing the game. Various people in the office had different opinions and memories of the original F.E.A.R., to quite a dramatic degree. It was quite interesting. One side of the office was claiming that the original was deathly dull, too easy and ultra-bland. The other side was saying it was fun nevertheless and mixed action and horror quite competently despite a few flaws.
Me, I was kind of in the middle, figuratively and literally. My memory of F.E.A.R. was of a somewhat repetitive game which was enjoyable but couldn’t quite choose a pace or style to settle on. Horror levels and arena fights were plentiful, but it was easy to tell what was coming and the horror vibe wasn’t nearly as well done as in Monolith’s other game, Condemned: Criminal Origins.
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Man, even thinking about Condemned gives me the willies.
That’s all in the past though and what we have before us isn’t the original F.E.A.R., but the latest expansion pack; Perseus Mandate. Will it unite the office in their opinion of the franchise, or will it divide us further? Can it improve on the original game or is it doomed to repeat the sins of the father?
Last time on F.E.A.R…
The story of the F.E.A.R. games is actually quite simple, despite the meandering nature of the narrative. It’s so simple that even I could understand it, which is quite a feat considering I was at university and freezing to death in a basement flat inhabited solely by alcoholics and slugs when I first played the game.
Given that the game has been out a few years, I’ll assume you know the plot too. If you don’t then…well, then there’s very little point buying the expansion pack, even if it is standalone.
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Still, a quick recap. When the last F.E.A.R. game finished the player was left stranded in the devastated city with Fettel’s apocalyptic prophecy ringing in his ears, and the realisation that he is the son and brother of the mother and son antagonists still barely surprising him. The player, who had super-human reflexes as a side effect of this uniquely ghostly heritage, had watched most of his allies being slaughtered.
Armacham, the private company responsible for creating Fettel and his mother, Alma, as well as the player character, is desperately trying to cover things up despite government involvement. That doesn’t stop Alma and the ghostly Fettel from killing everyone they can though.
As Perseus Mandate opens though, most of this is abandoned. We return to the F.E.A.R. game world only to find ourselves in the body of a different person, the Point Man for the second F.E.A.R team. Players experience a story which runs parallel to the first F.E.A.R. game, despite being shorter in length. It makes it quite interesting when you get a chance to experience the destruction of Origin from a different perspective to that in the original game.