FEAR 5.0

Horror first-person shooter with advanced enemy AI
5.0  (7 votes)
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FEAR is the now-classic first-person shooter by Monolith that took the concept of slow motion as a game mechanic and made it an art. The game is rightfully regarded as a cult classic and can still be enjoyed a decade later.

FEAR is an action game, and the gameplay is a real adrenaline factory. You play as a special forces operative fighting against renegade soldiers who are as smart, tough and well-armed as a real military force would be. The game was praised for its enemy AI, and the shoot-outs here are some of the best and most difficult fights I've ever been in. If it wasn't for the slo-mo I can activate to carefully execute my attacks, I would probably not have made it past the first level. It's a rare thing when slow motion is not a gimmick, but an actual invaluable part of the experience, and FEAR uses it better than Max Payne.

The story is also quite strong, especially for its time. It mixes the eerie darkness of Japanese horror stories similar to The Ring and an atmosphere of unseen but strongly felt presence of evil found in John Carpenter movies. As the protagonist, you uncover the true motives behind the elite commando squad going rogue under the leadership of a mad scientist Paxton Fettel who apparently has supernatural powers. The story keeps you interested, there are some pretty good twists, and the mystical horror atmosphere coupled with heart-pumping action throughout makes FEAR an experience few were able to replicate.

Of course, the game isn't perfect. There are minor technical issues, the difficulty balance is sometimes uneven with only slow-motion serving as the saving grace, and the pacing of the story can be rather slow due to the need to make it an action game with action-oriented levels. But it's still a true masterpiece of game design, mechanics and story. This is a game that will always be remembered fondly and enjoyed even today.

James Lynch
Editor rating:

Review summary


  • Great gameplay
  • Interesting story
  • Best enemy AI ever
  • Great use of slo-mo


  • Can be repetitive
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