F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon Review

F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon is a 2005 survival horror first-person shooter video game developed by Monolith Productions and published by Sierra Entertainment and Vivendi Games, released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Windows. Serving as the first installment in the F.E.A.R. series and the game’s story revolves around a special forces team called F.E.A.R. called to contain supernatural menace in the form of a little girl name Alma Wade.


  • Great combat
  • Maintains good suspense
  • Awesome lighting
  • Interesting story
  • Awesome antagonists
  • Good graphics
  • Terrific score
  • Extensive campaign
  • Tactical, challenging AI


  • Repetitive character models
  • Repetitive level designs
  • Linear campaign
  • Lacks in-depth content

Campaign: It is an extensive campaign consisting of 11 intervals that features an interesting story. The campaign is a single player experience that stretches about ten hour playthrough.  For players who want a diverse campaign won’t find it here as it is linear as hell with no deviation. The campaign has four difficulty levels.  The story follows Point Man, a member of the special forces team, F.E.A.R., who is sent in to eliminate Paxton Fettel, a psychopath who has taken control of an army of clone supersoldiers. However, things go awry when the F.E.A.R. team encounter a vengeful spirit and powerful psychic called Alma Wade. Point Man’s lack of actual dialogue does make him a pretty forgettable character. Sure, the character seems more created for players to feel like they’re in the character’s place, but players have no real influence to make the game more immersive.  Paxton Fettel and Alma Wade are actually pretty memorable antagonists, especially Alma who is  constantly harassing the player.  All-in-all, despite how linear the campaign is, it is pretty entertaining. (4 out of 5)

Gameplay: Set up as a first-person shooters, players take control of Point Man, a super soldier with superhuman reflexes. His superhuman reflexes allow players to enter “slow-mo” in which the game world slows but the player maintains their normal speed, albeit for a limited time, until their energy meter refills.  Combat is solid and the controls are handled pretty well.  AI are complete dicks but they are incredibly challenging, often using  strategies and the environment to get the drop on players.  I found myself practically relying on the “slow-mo” to keep the advantage in the fights.  The weapons are solid and the differences do make them feel unique. (4 out of 5)

Graphics:  There is a pretty good attention to detail when it comes to the overall level designs, especially with the lighting.  Many of the modeling and textures are handled pretty well.  The dark environments help to maintain a suspenseful and claustrophobic atmosphere. The environments are active especially when things get creepy.  Items will be knocked off the shelves, lights will flicker, and shadows will move just out your field of vision.  The cinematics are pretty good with the in-game ones being less impressive.  Some of the scenery can be repetitive and the enemies do feel like carbon copies with few variations. Also, there are some glitches in the game that are here and there.  One playthrough I witnessed Alma just standing near a pool not doing anything until a minute later she just up and floated through the ceiling.  The graphics are pretty good though.  (4 out of 5)

Score: The soundtrack is freaking awesome in this game. When things get weird and Alma is on the prowl the music gets dark and creepy.  The sound is definitely on point adding to the spooky atmosphere.  Whoever thought that Point Man should have no voice majorly sucks. (4 out of 5)

Replay Value:  The game does lack enough hidden content to make multiple playthroughs an option, however the various difficulty levels will appeal to hardcore fans.  There were some little tidbits here and there for players to find as well as the items to increase their “slow-mo” meter.  It would’ve been nice to have seen more detailed information on some of the other characters, projects, and historical documents.  Perhaps additional weapon skins or modifiable game options.  An additional mode is the Instant Action mode that are basically combat scenarios which players are scored by a number of factors including enemies killed and accuracy.  Great for players who want to jump into the action.  The online multiplayer is pretty fun and highly competitive and will appeal to the Call of Duty and Battlefield fans, though it doesn’t introduce anything new.  It would’ve been nice if perhaps Alma would appear across the level attacking players or if she does appear players must avoid her or risk instant death.  Or perhaps have a mode where there are two teams (F.E.A.R. team, ATC forces, or Replica clones) having to deal with enemies and who have the most kills wins. Also, on the Instant Action, it would’ve been nice to actually have Point Man and the F.E.A.R. team engage enemies and not just Point Man.  It would’ve added more strategy and variety to combat.  (3 out of 5)

The Verdict: In the end, F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon is a pretty awesome game though it has its share of problems.  There are elements that feel repetitive, some glitches here and there, a linear campaign, and there could’ve been more modes as well as hidden content to unlock.  Despite this, F.E.A.R. has great atmosphere, an interesting story, awesome AI, great sound, great visuals, solid combat, and an awesome antagonist.  F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon gets 4 out of 5.

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