F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon PlayStation 3
Published by: Vivendi
Developed by: Monolith Productions
Release Date: Out Now
Although the PlayStation 3 game catalogue is still in its infancy and there aren't many games around at the moment, there are a decent amount of FPS games already available. We've already been fortunate enough to spend time with Call of Duty 3 and Resistance Fall of Man, both of which are enjoyable games. Here we have the latest FPS to arrive on Sony's new console, F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon. You may remember that we've already reviewed the game on the Xbox 360 and we were impressed with the game, although it would have been better had deaf gamers been provided for. When the PlayStation 3 version arrived for review we were hopeful that subtitles would have been added and the game would at least look as good as it did on the Xbox 360 version. It didn't quite turn out that way though.
F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon puts you in the shoes of an elite soldier who has been trained to deal with situations that are out of the ordinary. Confronted with a series of murders that are quite horrific, performed by a murderous force that appears to have paranormal abilities, the challenge would seem an impossible one. However, you’ve got access to some sophisticated weaponry and have superior reaction skills to give you the edge and you’re certainly going to need them. As well as the main Campaign mode, F.E.A.R. comes with an Instant Action mode and a Multiplayer mode that offers game types such as Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Elimination. Bonus missions are available too.
The enemy AI in F.E.A.R. is impressive to say the least and this helps to makes the single-player game very enjoyable. Most FPS games suffer because the enemy AI just doesn’t show any, or even limited, understanding of how to use cover and how to make things as difficult for you as possible. There are no such problems in F.E.A.R. though. You’ll see the enemy AI making full use of cover. The AI seems to react to different situations in completely different ways. You never feel like you’re playing against a scripted AI that’s simply following predetermined routines. This is actually pretty impressive and means you always have to be on your toes. It also means you’ll have to make full use of your Slow-Mo ability when the going gets rough.
If you played F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon on the 360 or a good specification PC, it's difficult to put into words the disappointment you'll feel when playing the PlayStation 3 version. In short it's graphically inferior to the 360 version (which certainly wasn't top-notch for a 360 game) and by quite a distance. The game kind of looks like it's being played on a PC with the graphical details set low to medium. It may be a little harsh to say the graphics are closer to Xbox standards than Xbox 360 standards but it wouldn't be too far from the truth. Character models, lighting effects, you name it, all look poorer than the 360 version. If that wasn't bad enough you also have to put up with long load times that are reminiscent of those you can experience on the PSP which is certainly not good. There's no option to install to the HDD which is disappointing as it could have dramatically improved the load times. The frame rate is OK but you would expect nothing less given the absence of the graphical quality.
If you're not disappointed with the graphical quality of the game then you certainly will be with the lack of improvements in regards to the provision made for deaf gamers. In short nothing has been done to make F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon a better experience for deaf gamers. The game isn’t subtitled and this makes it a very difficult game to recommend. Even if subtitles had been included it would have still needed captions and other visual clues to make this game deaf gamer friendly. Objectives are shown in text and they can be recalled at any time by pressing the back button, which is good to see. Sadly though, it doesn’t really make up for the lack of subtitles or captions. Of course you also have to do without force feedback on the PlayStation 3, which further harms the experience. Much of the intimidating ambience in F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon is created through its audio and it's a shame that no effort has been made to enable deaf gamers to appreciate what an intimidating experience the game can be.
If you haven't played F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon on the PC or 360 there's a chance you've been looking forward to the PlayStation 3 version and expecting it to be at least as good as the 360 version. Whilst the core experience is still here, it's the worst version so far. With poorer graphics, long load times and the absence of force feedback (although it's not the fault of the game, its absence is still unfortunate), the PlayStation 3 version is definitely the less desirable console version of the game. There's been no improvement made in the support for deaf gamers and when taken in consideration with the other problems it makes the game tough to recommend which is a shame because had the game been subtitled (and maybe captioned) it would have been a game that was easy to recommend, even with the technical shortcomings it has.
The core experience is the same as the Xbox 360 version of F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon but the poor graphics and the long load times are a major disappointment and represent a major step backwards from the Xbox 360 version.