Published on April 14th, 2011 | by Cameron Woolsey
F.E.A.R. 3 Multiplayer Hands-On Preview
Late last month I was able to get my greedy mitts on the multiplayer modes for F.E.A.R. 3. Fans of F.E.A.R. should be pleased to know that Day 1 Studios will be including not just one multiplayer mode, but four plus a two player co-op mode. So without further stalling, check out the official trailer and scroll on down to read my thoughts on F.E.A.R. 3‘s multiplayer modes starting with the appropriately named “F**king Run!”
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The object of F**king Run! is to, well, f**king run! You and three companions must fight through waves of enemy soldiers as a wall of dark gray fog slowly rolls behind and chases you through the city. It’s a simple concept but surprisingly more difficult than you would think. If even one person slacks off, the wall consumes him/her and the game ends.
Players start off in a safe zone where they can exchange weapons and get themselves pumped up for their brisk jog. The runs are segmented between these checkpoints and each have plenty of ammo and allow just enough time for players to stock up before those big metal walls rumble open once again. After they do open, however, you and your team better be ready. Enemy forces will pop in and out of cover taking shots, impeding your progress. Players must choose to try and move forward and trust their skill and teamwork to take out enemies, or stop and grab cover to take more careful shots. The ladder will help you take out enemies with more precision but those who forget about the lumbering wall of death will get a pretty grim reminder fairly soon.
The first section of our run was straightforward. Enemy soldiers took shots at us from the cover of abandoned cars and around corners. We ran through twisting, winding streets and down dark and narrow alleyways to make it to our first safe point just in time. After stocking up, we were told by the Day 1 developer there that the next section is a little trickier. But I felt confident that we could handle anything the game throws at us.
I was wrong.
The second section opened up much like the first. We charged through pathetic soldiers and made our way down the street. But the street ended and the only way to go was up a ladder. I took a little too long trying to climb the ladder because for some reason the game didn’t recognize that I wanted to climb it, not attack it with my face
Lagging behind my teammates who were already charging over the rooftops taking down enemies, I desperately climbed the ladder. Some advice to heed before playing this gametype: as the wall gets closer, your screen begins to fog up and the controller will rumble. The closer the wall, the more obscured your vision becomes and the stronger your controller will shake. My climb became more and more desperate as a foggy veil began to cover my vision and my controller shook harder and harder. The wall itself has writhing faces and after I made my way to the top only to turn around and see a huge gray, eyeless face gaping back at me-let’s just say I got pretty motivated.
After saying “howdy ho” to the Satan wall, I flew over the rooftops, caught up with my team and then ran passed them and the enemies leaving a trail of shame and terror in my wake.
The name is a good choice.
Overall I really enjoyed F**king Run! The gametype is fast and exhilarating and designed to put you and your team’s skill to the test. Just make sure to bring your best-skilled buddies. F**king Run! isn’t for the casual type.
The best way for me to describe Contractions without sparing you needless detail is just by calling it a survival game in the same vein as Nazi Zombies. Of course I’m not going to leave it at just that–there are differences which are worth noting.
But first let’s look at the similarities. In Contractions, you and your team fend off against waves of mindless mutants while defending an outpost. The outpost has windows that players can use currency to board up for protection. As each wave passes, the enemies become stronger and more numerous.
There are several differences that change it up. The first is that you don’t just fight zombies. At first your team will fight against zombie-like minions, but things heat up as soon as gun-toting soldiers hit the ground. Another unique addition is the presence of Alma herself who occasionally appears and will use her power to temporarily freeze a player in place, take over his movements and more.
The backstory to this gametype is that pregnant Alma (I won’t spoil it but yes she is pregnant don’t ask me how and don’t Youtube it–that is all the warning I’ll give) is going through contractions, hence the name. During these contractions her psychic powers work overtime, creating a fog that raises higher through each stage, eventually obscuring all vision.
There will be resting periods between the stages where players can go out and grab weapon boxes to bring back to base. Once a box is brought back, a new weapon type will be available on the wall for purchase. There will be regular and special weapons available.
Contractions is a fairly fun gametype that I’m sure fans of Nazi Zombies and other survival gametypes will enjoy.
Soul King is F.E.A.R. 3‘s different take on multiplayer deathmatch. In this mode, every player starts off as a floating red Spectre. During this mode NPCs are running about fighting one another. As a Spectre, you are physically frail and can be killed easily and the fireballs you can shoot don’t do much damage. However, Spectres have the ability to jump into the unoccupied bodies of AI combatants and use their strengths to take out opposing players doing the same.
The goal is to collect as many souls as you can. With every kill you get souls. If you take out a player, he loses half his souls which you can pick up and add to your own collection. The object of the game is to have the most souls at the end of the game and be named the “Soul King.”
What’s fun about this game mode is your ability to use strategy to work toward your goal. For example, if you see two players duking it out, possess a nearby enemy to take out one, then, after a five second cooldown, possess another enemy far and away as soon as the other player starts taking shots at you.
For another example, as I was playing I noticed two players fighting each other. Now, instead of charging in I noticed an NPC on the catwalk above them. I quickly possessed him, primed a grenade, and took out both players at once. Afterwards all I had to do was hop down and scoop up the souls they dropped.
Of course, it doesn’t get easier as the Soul King. Once you get enough souls to be at the top, you become highlighted in the game and you appear on the map. So as soon as you get to where you want to be, everyone else starts gunning for you. Run to stay at the top or soon you will get dethroned and lose half your souls, forcing you to build up once again.
I really enjoyed Soul King. In fact, though it felt like another deathmatch at times, I left the show convinced it was my favorite game mode. I liked the high-speed on-the-fly strategizing as bullets whiz about while Spectres are constantly flying into new hosts around you. The game mode is a blast to play and I can’t wait to try it out again.
Soul Survivor is another game mode that uses the possessing Spectres. Soul Survivor is a cooperative survival mode with a twist. The game starts with four players including yourself. After a few moments Alma appears and randomly chooses a lucky player to become a Spectre “hero” for her legion of minions.
The remaining three players must work together to fight off waves of enemies while their “taken” ally. The winning side is the one that survives until the end of the time limit. The human players must fend off the constant assaults while the Chosen player must work to separate his old friends and take them out one by one.
Like in Soul King, the Spectre is weak and easily killed. Its main ability is possessing AI combatants and using their strengths and abilities as its own. On the side of Alma, you will be able to pop in and out of one of her many minions assaulting the human players. The minions are also chosen at random. Sometimes they will be mindless zombie-like creatures who only use melee attacks, other times they are combat soldiers with rifles and grenades.
On the human side working as a team is critical for survival. Yours truly thought that was just details, but luckily my teammates didn’t share my rebellious impulses and were happy to pick my sorry, bleeding ass off the ground minutes later. For a team first starting out, it would seem like a good idea just to bunker down in one area and fight the horde until the timer reaches zero. Unfortunately the reality of limited ammunition strikes quickly.
There are ammo boxes and extra weapons scattered throughout the map. Moving cohesively to one ammo location to the next is the right strategy, but it’s important to keep watching your buddies’ backs. A person can fall in combat and a nearby ally can pick the person up. This takes time and when you have bad guys breathing down your neck the rescue attempt can get tricky. But don’t leave a man down for long. The opposing player, as a Spectre, can drop in and can “absorb” the downed player, taking the person out of the game for good. If the downed player takes the Spectre out, however, they are instantly revived.
Soul Survivor was pretty fun to play. I didn’t feel that any side was too overpowered. In the three matches I played, it all came down to how the human team worked together. Two matches were won by the human side, one by the Spectre’s. It all depends on strategy and teamwork.
Now, I didn’t get to play the co-op mode myself but I did get some information on it. Before I continue, yes, two player co-op is through all campaign missions but plays a little differently than it would if you traveled solo.
Each player is given a certain role to play. A player can take the role of Point Man, who is a genetically-enhanced soldier that can manipulate time, or the undead spirit of Paxton Fettel. Fettel has returned from the dead for unknown reasons and his goal is something he keeps close to his chest (or ribcage). As Fettel, players will be given the ability to use telekinesis and can stun or possess enemies.
If you can imagine one person playing as the regular, time-altering soldier from prior F.E.A.R. games and the other a Spectre with the ability to possess AI combatants, you have the right idea. The concept sounds interesting and I look forward to seeing how it plays out.
Day 1 Studios has certainly gone above and beyond by offering not just one or two multiplayer modes, but five including co-op through campaign missions. It’s rare for a game to come out that is so complete. Each game mode described easily caters to gamers of all tastes. There is team-based multiplayer, co-op multiplayer and even a mode for fans of Nazi Zombies. There really is something for everyone. Though a couple felt familiar, the many multiplayer options of F.E.A.R. 3 should be more than enough reason for people to keep playing long after the credits have rolled.
Check out F.E.A.R. 3 when it hits store shelves May 24, 2011.
For more info on F.E.A.R. 3 hit up the official website: F.E.A.R. 3 Official Website