There are many shooters that have been praised for their intelligent plots, superb storylines, and tense atmosphere, with games like Bioshock, Half Life 2, and System Shock 2 being the most mentioned among gamers and critics alike. However, F.E.A.R., despite being one of the most acclaimed games of 2005, seems to have slipped out of the minds of the general public. This is, as far as I am concerned, an immense disservice, as F.E.A.R. is indeed one of the most unique and intense shooters ever created,even to this day. Whenever you fire your guns, you literally feel every bullet whizzing through the air, and causing damage to your enemies. While most shooters feature rather dull feedback, as the shooting takes a backseat to advancing through the level, in F.E.A.R., ever kill is immensely satisfying. Add to that the wide variety of weapons, ranging from dual-pistols to a skin-melting particle gun, Max Payne-esque slow-motion, and some of the best tactical enemy AI to this day, and F.E.A.R. is worth playing for the gunplay alone. However, if it was only the action that was good, it wouldn't be as great as it truly is. In a much-welcome change of pace, the game also includes many horror aspects, not unlike other shooters such as Doom 3. What sets it apart is that instead of relying on "monster in the closet" scares like id's attempt, the game instead goes for atmosphere. Indeed, during many of the levels, you will find yourself simply going through dark room after dark room, with flickering lights, strange noises, and ghostly apparitions going off all around you. Play the game alone in the dark, and you will be on the edge of your seat, praying for the next firefight to lighten things up. Add to that a surprisingly deep and tragic story line, with themes ranging from human experimentation, Cloning Blues, Telepathy, Humans Are The Real Monsters, and even family, and the game is pretty much perfect. To sum it all up. F.E.A.R. is what one would get if you combine the fast-paced firefights of Hard Boiled, the psychological horror and atmosphere of TheRing, the psychic powers and familial dynamics of Scanners and the themes and violence of Elfen Lied. It is truly a game everyone should experience.
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