For Everything A Reason? F.E.A.R. Online

F.E.A.R. Online’s open beta test begins on October 7th, ahead of full launch on the 17th, and signups are now active. Go! Run! Register! It’s free!

Or perhaps not. The original F.E.A.R. takes place almost entirely in a succession of rather ordinary office buildings but that doesn’t matter because the combat is absolutely splendid. Bullets have tremendous impact and slow motion slides across debris-strewn rooms, ending in a chunky boot to the face, are like a John Woo shoot-out with weighty momentum in place of balletic grace. Thanks to a hard-working community, the multiplayer component is still available to play and I’m not sure how F.E.A.R.O. intends to lure people into its own take on the series’ combat and…gulp…lore.

I don’t think I even have the energy to mock the silly storyline that runs through the original F.E.A.R. trilogy and its expansions. The first game was fine – shoot things, see spooky apparitions, repeat. Every time the plot started to flex its atrophied muscles, my interest tumbled like the stock exchange. As the series went on, the plot came to the fore and I found myself caring about mad experiments and Alma’s origin story less and less. The F.E.A.R. Online website threatens to take me through Alma’s story again. Here’s a snippet:

“Welcome to Fairport.

Not too long ago, it was a nice place to live. It had a vibrant downtown area, highly rated schools, a busy shipping harbor, and a bustling commercial area centered on the headquarters of Armacham Technology Corporation, a multi-billion dollar conglomerate that developed technology for military purposes. But like any other city there were rumors of a darker side; stories of children going missing, cries of strange creatures in the night, and the presence of armed mercenaries in the streets. As suspicious as they might have been, these rumors were never substantiated and they were never investigated by the authorities.

Then one day Paxton Fettel showed up at the ATC headquarters with an army of Replica soldiers, and people started to die.”

“Armed mercenaries in the streets” doesn’t sound like the sort of urban legend the authorities should ignore. There was an empty house on the street where I grew up and, of course, all the kids thought it was haunted and I once crept up the path and touched the door handle and then ran away crying, but I didn’t call the police. If there’d been a squad of Blackwater agents riding around the block doing wheelies in a Humvee, I think an adult would have stepped in and asked some questions.

How all the plot tosh will intersect with the game is anyone’s guess at the minute. There will be five game modes, including the recognisable team deathmatch and the unfamiliar SOUL KING, which is illustrated by pair of creepy scarred hands. There’s no information about monetisation but perhaps you’ll be able to buy cosmetic items and skins that allow you to have the creepiest scarred hands known to man.

I find the whole thing a bit odd and I’m not sure where the game will find its audience. Do F.E.A.R. fans want this? I called my sister, who is daft enough to like F.E.A.R. 3, and she didn’t know it existed until I told her, and then she started talking about how the second game was as good as the first so I had to hang up.

35 Comments

  1. p3r02d3r0 says:

    “You are not authorized to access this page.” :sadface:

    • InsanelyOrange says:

      You have to sign up on their site and then you can use the link Adam provided.

  2. MuscleHorse says:

    ‘my interest tumbled like the stock exchange’

    Someone’s been listening to latter day Nick Cave.

  3. Eukatheude says:

    FEAR 3 wasn’t that bad. The horror felt very “hollywoody” but I liked the shooting and the graphics were very very nice. I remember being quite impressed by the shading in the first few levels.

    • djbriandamage says:

      FEAR 3 would be forgettable if not for the fantastic asymmetric co-op. You can play the whole story campaign with a friend and each character has unique skills that work well in tandem. It’s kind of a FEAR-meets-Portal feeling. My wife and I had a good time with it although we didn’t have the motivation to play through to the end.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      What ruined F.E.A.R. 3 for me was the absolutely ridiculous, constant, on screen prompts. No I don’t need you to flash up “Press Control” every time I walk next to a box I can crouch behind, which happened every 5 steps. It was utter nonsense, completely removed me from the atmosphere of the game and made me quit after the first level.

      What is wrong with telling people the controls then letting them PLAY the fucking game? Instead they went with the dumbed down, console baby approach of constantly spamming the screen with any possible action you could take at that point. It completely ruined the immersion of the other FEAR games for me, I can’t take a horror setting seriously when I’m constantly seeing “Press E to open door”, “Press Control to cover” all the time. Awful game.

  4. battles_atlas says:

    “Then one day Paxton Fettel showed up at the ATC headquarters with an army of Replica soldiers, and people started to die.”

    That sentence is a crime against the written word.

  5. TomxJ says:

    “Do F.E.A.R. fans want this?”

    There are 2 things F.E.A.R. fans want. Excellent Gunplay and tacky B-movie plots. We know for sure we have the latter, lets trust they’ll deliver the former. Fear Combat was ace, I used to play the crap out of that.

  6. Jehar says:

    This needs to be explicitly mentioned:

    Monolith is nowhere near this title. WB has handed off development to Korea-based InPlay Interactive, and I haven’t been able to find any evidence of the Lith guys being involved. This is akin to seeing an advert for “a new Neil Gaiman novel! … written by Stephanie Myer”

    I’d say that this is a bit of a shame if there hasn’t been a well-established practice of doing this odd third-party spinoff stuff for the Asian market. That whole thing with Quake Wars was just surreal.

  7. Heliocentric says:

    Soul King was Fear 3’s.. *Ahem*… F.E.A.R. 3’s best game mode. You are fighting each other during a horde mode where you posses members of the horde and try and destroy the enemies your rivals have possessed and also kill the ghostly spectre inside.

    It ends up being a case of being less afraid of the 20 soldiers rushing about than the one you know is possessed.

  8. nothingfaced says:

    This will be shit.

  9. Kefren says:

    Fantastic Expectations. Not so Amazing Revelations. After the minor enjoyment of the first game, and the disappointment of the second, I just wanted to Forget Everything and Remember: I still have System Shock 2 installed, and can play that instead.

  10. GunnerMcCaffrey says:

    I can’t believe I’m going to step in to defend FEAR’s plot, but… by the time the armed mercenaries were in the street, there had already been a minor apocalypse, so I imagine most of the police were busy being dead.

  11. puffinmcpuffs says:

    Played it in Alpha and Beta and it’s horrible. Horrible, not horrifying. The trailer has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the game. It’s an uninspired horde-mode like corridor shooter with graphics straight from the 90s.

    Please stay away from this and remember what FEAR once was. This is the absolute down-point of the series.

  12. Big Murray says:

    I still consider the combat in the original F.E.A.R. to be so damn good that it’s near the top of my list of Best Gunplay.

    • Felixader says:

      A point to the Story. However strange the overall plot is, the end of second game was one of the better surprises of that year.
      I also want a full game just withe the apocalyptic city in flames in wich you fight house to house combat and with a mech.
      The end and this were the parts of that game.

    • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

      It truly is. Wasn’t there an RPS article along those lines once upon a time, or am I imagining it? The first F.E.A.R. is still a great game, one of the last great lone-wolf FPS before they all became hand-holding walking simulators.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Honestly struggling to think of any game that did it better.

    • Jimbo says:

      I’d agree with that. I always remember it for feeling like the first shooter where firing a gun actually managed to feel like a barely-controlled explosive act of violence, rather than just clicking on a baddie and watching it fall over.

  13. Distec says:

    I actually kinda liked the plot in the first two games. But things got wicked stupid in the third, even by the standards established.

    And of course, wasn’t remotely tense or frightening. It’s not like the others were terrifying, but I thought the first game had it just right. The co-op was fun enough, but I don’t even consider it a FEAR game.

    This just looks like a waste of… Whatever. I don’t understand who this is for.

  14. Kaeoschassis says:

    All I can really say to this is uh… why?
    It feels like Nosgoth all over again honestly.

  15. Ham Solo says:

    The gameplay, including guns and melee combat were always splendid in the FEAR series, but the levels were always dark, gloomy and the plot was terrible. The maps had illogical barriers (“im a super soldier, but I can’t move this shelf away to go through the door”-kinda stuff). But I still liked it, just because the gameplay was THAT good.

  16. Andy`` says:

    There was a man who had a game,
    And Fearo was its name-o.
    F-E-A-R-O
    F-E-A-R-O
    F-E-A-R-O
    And Fearo was its name-o.

  17. Ir0nM0nkey says:

    Forget Everything And Remember…