Verfasst: 21. März
I came across F.E.A.R. while looking for papers on artificial intelligence to reference for my Master's thesis. Even a decade after release, the AI stands out as being the smartest I've ever fought: enemies are programmed to find cover and reposition themselves based on the player's current position, which leads to them flanking and circling behind the player, or throwing grenades to flush you out. In short, they act very much like humans, and when you hear them freak out after you've wiped out half the squad or realise they're the only one left, it feels pretty awesome. The well-designed levels help too, as enemies rarely have only one way to approach you, allowing firefights to remain tense.
That said, F.E.A.R. isn't just a tactical shooter with great AI. It could be described as a first-person-shooter written as a horror movie. The horror here doesn't really rely on jump scares, although they do show up, but overall it relies on atmosphere and being generally creepy, with randomly banging doors and unnerving sound effects. Some levels have few enemies - on occasion, there are none at all - and some parts will lapse into reality-warping hallucinations caused by a girl in a red dress. Even after playing through the game a few times, and remembering where these parts occur, I found it quite hard to not
spam bullets - if I even had a gun at that point.
Finally, a note about the expansions. Extraction Point is set after the events of F.E.A.R and uses the same player character, but has a greater emphasis on horror and is even creepier. Perseus Mandate takes place during and just after F.E.A.R., places you in the shoes of a different character, and gives you some different (and tougher) enemies, but other than that is pretty much the same. These are offically not part of the series canon, which is a pity, because they are well-made expansions and definitely worth playing.
Overall, I consider this one of the greatest FPS games ever made, and highly recommend it.