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F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon Xbox 360

Published by Vivendi
Developed by Monolith Productions
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £49.99

One of the better launch titles for the Xbox 360 was Condemned. Created by Monolith Productions, the game was a chilling tale that excelled in some great hand-to-hand combat. Prior to the release of Condemned, Monolith had been sending shivers down the spines of PC gamers with F.E.A.R., an FPS that wasn’t for the faint-hearted. Almost a year on F.E.A.R. arrives on the Xbox 360 and all things considered it's a fine FPS that compares rather favourably with other titles in the genre.

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, are 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 of course Xbox Live multiplayer action which offers game types such as Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Elimination. Once you’ve completed the campaign there is a bonus mission, exclusive to the Xbox 360 version, for you to play through.

One of the first things you'll notice with a console FPS is the control sensitivity. With Call of Duty 2 everything felt right whereas Perfect Dark Zero, whilst a very good game, had a control system that felt a little too twitchy. F.E.A.R. gets everything spot on in this respect. The sensitivity feels just right and you never feel like you’re being handicapped in any way by not using a keyboard or mouse control scheme, which is very impressive. What you'll also notice is the quality of the weapons on offer and again F.E.A.R impresses. Whether you’re using an RPL Sub-Machine Gun or the AT-14 Pistol, the weapons feel satisfactorily powerful.

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.

When F.E.A.R. arrived on the PC it required a meaty specification in order to run the game in all of its visual glory. Thankfully Monolith have done a great job of bringing the game to the Xbox 360 and it not only looks very good but performs rather nicely too. If I have one complaint it’s that the textures in the game, when viewed at close quarters, don’t look as impressive as I would have hoped for. For the most part though the game looks good. Load times are quite nippy. The frame rate is great as it never seems to slowdown at any point. The game does a good job of creating a suspenseful atmosphere, enhanced by some wonderful visual effects, keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Deaf gamers looking forward to F.E.A.R. are going to be hugely disappointed to learn that the game is essentially a waste of time 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 really 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 a lack of subtitles or captions.

Ultimately F.E.A.R. is one of the better FPS games to appear on the Xbox 360 and it should have been highly recommended to any fan of the genre. However, it’s not a pleasant experience for deaf gamers because of the lack of subtitles and captions. Of course I’m not saying it’s impossible for deaf gamers to play the game but it would be much more difficult than it should be and you’re going to miss out on the story. Essentially this is a big disappointment because F.E.A.R. has all of the things most would desire of an immersive FPS. It has suspense, great action and a challenging AI that, had the game been subtitled, would have been one of our favourite FPS games on the Xbox 360.

Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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An enjoyable and well designed FPS. Unfortunately it's not subtitled and difficult to recommend to deaf gamers.