F.E.A.R has the best goddamn shotgun in the history of gaming. This is a hotly competed category, including strong entrants from the likes of Doom and Half-Life - and I'm sure you'll all point to a dozen more once my words run dry. But for my money, F.E.A.R's shotgun is gaming's finest interpretation of clicking a button to make a man die.
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F.E.A.R. and Gotham City Impostors dev Monolith may be working on a Hobbit game to coincide with the Peter Jackson film that airs this December.
Warner Bros. appears poised to reveal a third F.E.A.R. game - dubbed F.3.A.R. - next month.
Sierra Entertainment has told GamesIndustry.biz it isn't afraid to take more risks than other publishers and that it's ramping up development of new IP like Prototype and F.E.A.R.
Monolith Productions has announced that the name of its F.E.A.R. sequel will be Project Origin.
It was the winning entry in the Name Your Fear competition, which the developer ran during the summer months to help it come up with a title for its new game. You might remember that it couldn't just call it F.E.A.R. 2, because it doesn't actually own the rights to the name - old pal Warner Bros does.
Project Origin was picked above other (and much better) finalists Dark Signal and Dead Echo. But our real favourite was the unrecognised and punchy "THE GIRL IN THE KETCHUP STAINED DRESS".
Lurking monstrously under the bed of Live Marketplace this afternoon is a brand new map pack for F.E.A.R.
F.E.A.R. gets another boost this week with the launch of the Synchronicity Pack on Xbox Live Marketplace.
Vivendi Games has turned off the lights again and announced a new F.E.A.R. expansion pack for PC and Xbox 360.
F.E.A.R. fans can now pick up the Nightmare Pack for the Xbox 360 version of Monolith and Day 1 Studios' nerve-shredding FPS, providing they're willing to fork over the requisite 500 Microsoft points (GBP 4.25 / EUR 5.82).
If you have the F.E.A.R. (for Xbox 360) you might want to dig it out and zzzwwhooomph your heightened self over to Xbox Live, where a new "Control and Conquer All Map Pack" awaits even the penniless among you. I'm sorry, it's Microsoft points isn't it? The pointless among you.
It's early days in the great next gen console war, and the commercial reality of development is very simple - the cost of making games on more advanced hardware has skyrocketed meaning that publishers get the best returns from their investment with multiformat development. Eurogamer typically reviews these games on the lead platform (more often than not, the Xbox 360) but we've got plenty of love for the PlayStation 3 - enough to bring you the all-important info on any differences between the versions, even when review code arrives somewhat belatedly.
In comparing the games we concentrate first and foremost on the gameplay experience, with objective commentary on new game modes and control methods that have been added or tweaked since the initial review. And as there is such a large cost difference between the two gaming platforms, we think it's fair game to point out any differences between versions on a technical level too. This makes these ongoing features as much a commentary on cross-platform development as they are aiding in a purchasing decision.
Complementing each piece is a series of screenshot galleries at full HD resolution 24-bit RGB using the PS3's HDMI digital output and the Xbox 360's precision VGA display mode, both professionally calibrated and captured losslessly using state-of-the-art grabbing equipment - indeed the only kit available that can handle full colour-depth and 1080p when required. Console analists can then debate the minutiae we expose and exercise the full unbridled talkback POWER of the Internet to give voice to their thunderous displeasure.
Vivendi's PlayStation 3 version of F.E.A.R. will be released on 20th April, the publisher confirmed this afternoon.
Originally scheduled for release at the console's launch last Friday, the game, which is about men with guns investigating the unknown, was set back for reasons unknown. Someone give me a gun.
That reminds me - there's a rapid-fire shotgun in your PS3 arsenal that isn't included in the PC and Xbox 360 versions, as well as "a bonus mission that lets the player jump into the shoes of the Special Force Operational Detachment (SFOD) soldiers that investigated the original Armacham disturbance - basically the incident that was the trigger for the events of FEAR". Thanks Rob Loftus, senior producer at Sierra! Got anything else to say? "We won't be changing the plotline, but we'll certainly be adding to it with the bonus mission. You'll get to see what happened to the SFOD squad that the FEAR team is trying to locate in the original storyline."
Ubisoft isn't the only publisher having trouble bulking up for PlayStation 3's European launch, with Vivendi confirming this week that F.E.A.R. has also slipped.
It's perhaps not the kindest thing to say about the PS3's launch line-up, but it's undeniable - for anyone who plays PC games or has already bought into the next generation courtesy of the Xbox 360, it's looking like Sony's entry to the market is more of a chance to revisit old friends than anything else. A limited selection of exclusives in the range are bolstered by a third-party line-up that looks suspiciously like an edited showreel of the 360's greatest hits - not, perhaps, the image that the pricely wunderkind ought to be projecting at this point in time.
Music aficionados will know this term to refer to the song structure dynamic favoured by noiseniks down the years (think Pixies, Nirvana and beyond), where the chaos of fractured guitars and ravaged vocals gives way to contrasting sweet melodies and calm reflection. F.E.A.R adopts a similar approach in gaming terms; constantly amping up the gunplay to almost unbearable levels of intensity before giving way to quiet exploration. And back again.
But, in truth, F.E.A.R. is a game where the pressure's never really off.
It's been almost a year now since the release of F.E.A.R., Vivendi's spooky, gory and really rather excellent PC FPS. It arrived complete with all the right ingredients - good solid gameplay, spiced up a bit by the addition of a slo-mo element; a wide range of big fat weapons (the nail gun, which allowed you to pin people to walls, being a particular favourite); and plenty of atmosphere, generated by everything from flickering light bulbs and mysterious off-screen noises to terrifying demon children and vast rivers of blood.
The deluge of new content onto Xbox Live Marketplace continues ahead of X06 later this week, with F.E.A.R. and Fuzion Frenzy 2 playable demos now available.
Vivendi has confirmed reports that F.E.A.R. is coming out on PlayStation 3.
F.E.A.R. Combat is set to be released on Sierra's official website in just over an hour. Alternatively, those of you not reading this at 9.56am: it's out now! Rejoice!
Vivendi subsidiary Sierra's struck upon a novel way to get more people to try out F.E.A.R.: they're giving it away for free.
Those teasing minxes at Vivendi have stuck up a new F.E.A.R. web page, and it's counting down to something.
There may be shades of Championship Manager about the split between Monolith and Vivendi over F.E.A.R., but the lack of rancour means Vivendi's having no trouble colouring in the F.E.A.R. shaped holes on its 2006 release schedule.
As promised, FEAR's been patched to version 1.05 - introducing two new multiplayer modes and two new multiplayer maps.
Vivendi's planning to show off the Xbox 360 version of F.E.A.R. at E3 next week - and has released a few more details about it and the first screenshot.
FEAR's been patched to version 1.04, mainly to allow people to play mods created with the new SDK released alongside it.
Spooky first-person shooter F.E.A.R. is on its way to Xbox 360, according to numerous reports.
Vivendi and Monolith have released a new patch for make-you-own-set-piece FPS F.E.A.R., which rocks in at 120MB but apparently doesn't fix more than a few localised issues. Hrm.
There's a quote I've got stuck to the outside of my monitor, which, while borderline fruity, is something I always enjoy reading. It goes, "The art of punctuation is of infinite consequence in writing; as it contributes to the perspicuity, and consequently to the beauty, of every composition." Glancing at it again this morning, it struck me that that's precisely how FEAR behaves. It's a game that seeks to embolden action sequences through the lucidity of slow motion, and with help from technology that taps deep wells of environmental detail consequently beautifies the composition in ways that nothing else can. Nothing. Not even Half-Life 2. Good quote, that - I'm glad I stuck it over the top of the "I OWN YOU!" sticker.
FEAR's biggest trick is its first-person, slow motion gunplay, which, while the game at least attempts to justify it, is basically there to make things more fun. And it does. It fuels relentlessly explosive gunfights that always end messily. Whenever you hear the telltale comms chatter of Replica forces, you're alert, and as soon as the first enemy bullet leaves its barrel you react by jamming on the Shift and Ctrl keys with your little finger to peer down the sights and activate your "Reflex" slow motion, sliding the game under visual and audio filters that sharpen edges and dampen sounds, and you dispatch bullets thud by thud into the groooaning ragdoll shock troops that lie ahead of you. Escalation of this core combat is relatively minimal, with only a few enemy types that exceed the basic military clone class (the most damaging of which you only encounter a couple of times anyway). New weapons uniformly excite (particularly the nail-people-to-the-walls Penetrator, but also the MP-50 heavy cannon, the machine sniper rifle and railgun-esque incinerator effort, and the satisfyingly meaty shotgun), but the hook here is the slow motion gunplay itself, not the circumstances. You'll have much less fun trying to win without it.
Clarity is a very difficult thing to achieve in an interactive action sequence - particularly in a traditional first-person shooter, where the player stands the greatest chance of looking the wrong way. Here the slow motion accentuates every little disintegration and shard of glass in a way that exceeds Max Payne's achievements in gifting games a noticeably filmic quality with its concert of doubly high definition. On harder difficulty levels, you'll have to replay key encounters several times over until you've written the perfect script in slow motion, watching bodies twist and buckle as bullets thud-thud-thud into their torsos, loving the way funnels of glass erupt as bullets pierce windows, marvelling at the bubble of blood-mist and shrapnel that grows from the impact of a well-aimed grenade or bullet loosed into an explosive barrel. The definition of the visuals is laudable in itself, but when played out on high-end hardware - which is a pre-requisite - they play an even more vital role in your enjoyment. It's so detailed that you really do have to wait for the dust to settle.
Hurrah! FEAR's out today. Yes! Just to clarify, it is in fact a Tuesday, but for some reason Vivendi's decided to release Monolith's scarily good looking scary FPS game today, worldwide, rather than waiting until Friday. Good of them really.
Equally good of them/horrendously awful of them, depending on which way you look at it, is the news that there's also a patch out for it, nudging the game up to version 1.01 by fixing a few handfuls of bugs mostly relating to the multiplayer. For example, you won't fall out of the level by accessing the menu on a ladder any more, which is good news.
Grab it from 3D Gamers if you need it. And for those wondering, our FEAR review will be going up very soon.
FEAR's been on our radar for some time now. But then so have lots of things. The difference is, the dot that blinks for FEAR is more like that one off the motion sensor in Aliens. We know that when it eventually rounds the corner, we won't just click mouse1 while backing away perfunctorily; we'll be like suicide-cultists running around a lion's den wearing mangled kittens, screaming, "Kill us! Kill us immediately!" Then we'll get our tools out.
Legendary horror movie director John Carpenter has declared himself the official spokesman for F.E.A.R., the spooky new PC shooter from Vivendi.
Sierra has released a 16-player multiplayer demo of F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) today, allowing you to get a feel for the online portion of this hugely-anticipated paranormal first person shooter at close quarters.
Vivendi-Universal Games (or "VUG" if you want to pretend you're swearing with a cold) says that Monolith's FEAR (or "First Encounter Assault Recon" if you want to try and justify capitalisation in games publications with ridiculous acronyms) will be released globally on October 18th - unless it, er [let's have that cold back for a second], FVHEARS violently off-course.
I've just died. Again. I knew about the first guy on the balcony, so I shot him through a window before descending to the ground floor and going outside. But I underestimated his partner.
Japanese horror is a scary thing. Example: a friend of ours went shopping on Sunday and found a three-foot-high little-girl doll with face-covering jet-black hair. Inevitably, said doll was then positioned at the top of a flight of stairs.
Vivendi says that the single-player demo for First Encounter Assault and Recon [eh? Oh, F.E.A.R. - Ed] will be made available on Friday, August 5th. WOO!
Those kind chaps at Vivendi Universal Games have found 1200 F.E.A.R. beta keys lodged down the back of the sofa down at Monolith and have been good enough to spread the love to those than fancy entering into a competition at this bizarre little teaser website.
This "gore splattered" introduction to the F.E.A.R. storyline gives brave souls the chance to poke around a dark an moody environment, pointing and clicking on items of interest and generally being scared at every opportunity.
And if you make it through unscathed through the 'ordeal' then you'll be doing VUG and Monolith a big favour - 1200 keys really do begin to clutter up the office after a while.
A new trailer for F.E.A.R., Vivendi's spanky-looking first-person shooter for PC, is now available on Eurofiles. You can also find some screenshots here.
F.E.A.R. - which stands for First Encounter Assault Recon, in case you didn't know - puts you in the role of an elite military operative on a top-secret mission to eliminate a mysterious enemy.
And it's not going to be easy, since your targets will form tactical teams and use co-ordinated attacks to take you out, flanking you on all sides and launching ambushes from the shadows.
If you're into first-person shooters and you have a PC, then there's no doubt that Monolith Productions' F.E.A.R will be one of the games right at the top of your Most Wanted lists for 2005. That's certainly what we thought when we last played it - with poor Tom getting excited enough to write about the opening section and the multiplayer element after a recent trip to Vivendi's Parisian HQ. We got our first opportunity to play other areas of the single-player element recently and will be looking to bring you our first impressions of the game later this week. But first, we grabbed a one-to-one with Kevin Stephens, Monolith's director of technology.
1 INT. VIVENDI-UNIVERSAL PARIS HEADQUARTERS - AFTERNOON
Just before E3 (he says, trying to recall what it was like "before E3"), we reported on Vivendi-Universal's plans to announce a mystery PC shooter from No One Lives Forever and TRON 2.0 developer Monolith Productions. And now we know what it is - it's an FPS called FEAR, or First Encounter Assault and Recon. Yeah. We'll stick to FEAR.