F.E.A.R. Files Review
In some ways years in gaming are similar to dog years. That is, even though only a calendar year has past that can mean several years in the gaming world in terms of technology advancements. So if you don't keep pace with it you can start to show your age very quickly. If you're not moving forward then you're moving backward. This is pretty evident with the release of F.E.A.R Files for the Xbox 360. It was only a year ago that it was released on the 360 but the new game didn't change much and it's showing a lot of age. But it's not all doom and gloom. Read on to find the good and not so good news...
I really like the original F.E.A.R. with its supernatural theme and creepy atmosphere. It's so hard for a game to be really scary. One of the Silent Hill games did the trick for me as did a FPS that I can't recall. I'm a console gamer and rarely play PC games, so when F.E.A.R. came out for the 360 last year I was all sorts of happy. F.E.A.R. Files is stand-alone expansion pack for the original game instead of a true sequel. It consists of two expansion packs: Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate with each one clocking in around six hours of gameplay.
Extraction Point takes place right where F.E.A.R. left off. Of course it's not required to have played F.E.A.R. but you will certainly be lost when some of the unusual aspects of the game start happening and with the story in general. There is no background summary to get you up to speed. But, really, chances are that you would have already played the original F.E.A.R. so it's not that big of a deal. The story picks up with you in a helicopter while a huge explosion happens at the Armacham facilities. Soon the creepy ghost girl, Alma, makes an appearance in the chopper where it crashes. The rest of Extraction Point is about you and the rest of the team getting to, well, an extraction point so you can try to get out of there again. Along the journey you'll run across your objective from the first game, Paxton Fettel, who you killed but apparently he didn't get the memo as he keeps popping up with some undead looking friends. Besides Alma and Paxton there are still a whole mess of Replicas to deal with.
The events in Perseus Mandate takes place at the same time as F.E.A.R. where you take on the role as a member of another F.E.A.R. team that was sent in as a backup to your original team. The odd thing about this is that your character in the first game had abilities that were very special and supposedly only he possessed. Turns out that you were not that special after all because the main character in Perseus Mandate has the same super reflexes that can cause time to slow down.
You will probably have a huge sense of deja vu as you play through both Perseus Mandate and Extraction Point and that's because they do not stray far at all from the F.E.A.R. formula, but neither does it quite as well as the first. Both give you some new weapons and a couple of new enemies but the action stays familiar. Maybe because it's already been done but these expansion just didn't mess with my mind in the same way as when I played the original. I remember several times in F.E.A.R. that I was really startled or unnerved. Between both expansions it happened maybe two or three times.
The biggest surprise I got was how dated the game seemed. I don't remember F.E.A.R. being state-of-the-art graphically but I sure don't recall it being this lame looking. It might be F.E.A.R. Files unfortunate timing to show up on the 360 when several other stunning games are also arriving like BioShock, Call of Duty 4, and even Halo 3. Compared to any of these games F.E.A.R. Files looks like something that came out as a first generation Xbox game. Not that graphics can break a game if the story or something else is that strong, but that's not happening here so graphics do matter.
Besides the two expansion games there is also Instant Action where several of the big scenes from the games are available in a stand alone mode. Here you get to leap right into giant firefights without any pesky story getting in the way. You also get several online modes that can handle 16 players and include the normal mode like Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and a few more.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 64%. F.E.A.R. Files is a disappointing expansion to a fun and scary game. The gameplay, and especially the graphics, seem to have gotten very old very quickly.