It's a good game, that makes the difficult transition to a good multiplayer game well, but it's nothing really special. F.E.A.R fans will love it, multiplayer fans will enjoy it, but I don't see it having the same kind of longevity or level of involvement of something like Call of Duty or Counter Strike for example. It is fun to play but it just lacks that extra something that makes a landmark game. I like it, but I can't see myself playing it for any great length of time or really getting into it. It's fun and addictive at the moment (having only just installed and started playing it), but I'm sure this will wear off pretty soon.
One thing that may help to extend its life slightly however is that players are being invited to sign up and try out for the F.E.A.R tournament being held at this year's Digital Life expo on the 12th to the 15th October in New York. The prize is a quite substantial $15,000, and to be in with a shot, you have to register on the Digital Life web site. Registration is a mere $7.50 per player and that includes the admission fee for all four days of the event, dubbed the ultimate consumer and technology event.
When I first heard about Sierra offering the multiplayer version of F.E.A.R completely free of charge, without even requiring ownership of the single-player version, I wondered why they would go to the trouble of essentially producing a complete game for nothing. Then I searched for F.E.A.R 2 on Google and found that a sequel is in the process of being developed for future release on the forthcoming PS3 (and probably PC/Xbox) platform. Developing games for a next generation console is initially going to be a slight gamble, so drumming up interest in anyone that wasn't willing to purchase the original game is an excellent way to generate interest in a wider audience.
The sequel is set to continue the original storyline, which should be interesting, considering that at the end of the original you work out that [SPOILER ALERT] you are the twin brother of the main baddie of the game (whom you neutralize) and born of the same spooky old hag that haunts you throughout the game (which you also defeat). [END SPOILER ALERT]. I'm sure it'll be great, however, as I was a huge fan of the original.
Overall, this is probably the best free game that has ever been released, even if it is the result of a marketing ploy to keep us interested in Sierra and F.E.A.R. Sometimes the maps are just a little bit too dark for the game to be considered a serious first person shooter, when getting a kill can be more down to luck than any real accuracy on your part. It's also pretty easy, but it's better than a lot of multiplayer components of what are more strictly speaking single player games, such as Doom Three. It's definitely worth a download though, which is all you need to own this game.
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