Last summer I started playing “F.E.A.R.” for the PC. This horror first person shooter has an artificial intelligence (A.I.) that wasn’t always too predictable with enemy soldiers surprising me by their reactions and initiatives. When I lured a squad out of hiding one by one to kill with a head shot, the last soldier standing over his fallen comrades shouted out: “He wasted the entire squad!” That cracked me up. On several occasions, I tried to circle around to the other side and ran into a soldier doing the same thing. Or sometimes I catch the soldier trying to circle behind me by surprise. These little moments that made the game enjoyable.
The biggest problem with “F.E.A.R.” was the sagging middle that spread out forever in a long office complex, which got tedious as the tension and horror went slack from time to time. I picked up a bug that shifted my character in and out of god mode (an indication that something got scrambled between loading levels). I was very much relieved to finish playing “F.E.A.R.,” as the boredom between fire fights was killing me.
I started playing “F.E.A.R: Extraction Point”, which appears to have fixed the mistakes made in the original game. The tension and horror get maxed out at the beginning. I hope that continues towards the end. Combat seems is more tactical now. I can use darkness and coverage to systematically clear out a building like soldiers would do in a real life scenario. Special crates are now breakable with items hidden inside that the original game didn’t have; a standard feature in every first person shooter game since “Half-Life” came out in 1998.
Being an expansion pack to the original game, it’s more of the same. The splatter effects are still gruesome as ever. The weird little girl burning to death in a wall of fire is a constant motif. So far I’m not disappointed, but I haven’t reached the middle of the game yet.