There was a time when F.E.A.R. was one of the most anticipated games by gamers (of old). However like all classics, that time has passed and the only way their glory can be rekindled is either in the form of a sequel, or in the absence of a refreshing, elaborate plot and twist; an expansion pack.
So the F.E.A.R.: Files comes with two expansion packs in one, Extraction Point and the Perseus Mandate. Extraction Point was released earlier for the PC version; thankfully for us Xbox-only fanatics we got a ‘twofer (one)’.
So, I slipped in the game disc, at the menu you get to choose between the expansions, apart from that it’s a typical F.E.A.R. menu with the usual suspects. As always it’s interesting to check out what weapons you will stumble upon later in the game. Having only played the first F.E.A.R. game it was fun to come across some of the weapons for the first time. The descriptions don’t do some of them justice. You can also do a mission select for missions completed in case you just want a quick skirmish.
In the Extraction Point mission pack the game starts pretty dark, needless to say I did not stick around too long in this expansion at 2am in the morning because the F.E.A.R. factor is not lost in these expansions. As the game played out I realised how mediocre the graphics were… okay, to be honest I thought the graphics were almost laughable considering the titles currently out in tandem with this: even the shockwave effect was not as perfect as I know it to be. It actually made my eyes sore since there isn’t much lighting in the starting level, it didn’t take long before I grew tired of it and quit.
Begin Perseus Mandate and I have to say, from the word go I was hooked to the point of that old situation us gamers find ourselves in when we are immersed in our way of life; the ‘event horizon’, you know what I mean, playing for ages and loving it then WHAM! You’ve missed two meals, at least, and it’s changed from day to night or vice versa for me.
Perseus Mandate probably had me hooked because you actually have team mates with you moving in and out along the levels, for some reason my eyes didn’t get sore although I have to admit that there wasn’t much difference in the graphics. The Slo-mo feature does get you hooked, to the point where you always have to have a shotgun handy just to see the enemy bust in half as you dodge his bullets, run up to him and stick that barrel in his face and pull the trigger, like a F.E.A.R. elite; what the Replica Soldiers look like after that is the remainder of the satisfaction you’re guaranteed.
The great thing about these expansions is they both expand on the plot behind the F.E.A.R. universe and manage to keep you hooked to a level not unlike the original release. The scare tactics of the ominous manifestation that haunts you never gets old, even though you can almost always tell when it is about to happen. The ‘various’ environments seem all too familiar to the original release which at some point in the game makes you realise that apart from the cool weapons and plot revelations, this expansion pack isn’t that different from the original F.E.A.R. and is nothing more than having fun with the Slo-mo function and getting some achievement points!
Long story short, this game is fun to play; unfortunately there was no one online to play with at the time of this review. However we all know online play is not the same when the Slo-mo function does not work as great as it does in the campaign and to be honest there is only a handful of sci-fi games that can pull off successful multiplayer with dreamt up weapons. The game is repetitive and it is uncanny in resemblance to the original release so nothing seems new except the mission layout… to a point.
In all honesty, all I can say is it is worth playing so you won’t feel cheated if you rent it for some cheap thrills and achievement points but to each is his own, and so if you do choose to buy it, I doubt you will slot it in with your ‘never trade-in’ collection.