FEAR - Xbox 360

No, not a gaming version of the cracking Ian Brown track (though we’re intrigued how that’d work if some developer fancies a pop?) but a spooky first person shooter/thriller with more than a few influences culled from recent Asian horror flicks that made their mark on our side of the globe.

Originally released on the PC last year, FEAR (First Encounter Assault Recon) was one of the brightest shooters of recent years with its sublime action and a supernatural twist that no doubt caused the soiling of many pairs of underpants.

With the 360 still not exactly drowning in a sea of titles almost a year after launch, it’s not too surprising to see one of the PC’s most visually alluring titles making it’s merry way over to Microsoft’s powerful hulk of plastic.

But with Call of Duty 3 and Gears of War making their long awaited appearances, can this year old title truly compete? Will its supernatural leanings give it that extra boost needed to slip into the Xbox 360 upper echelons?

As one of the FEAR operatives, a top secret team created purely to be assigned to outbreak of paranormal situations, you’ll be all set to battle your way through a mass of cloned soldiers in an attempt to quell the spooky goings on.

Just about every other gaming site and magazine has concentrated on the supernatural aspects of FEAR. We’re going to stick to the gunplay – after all, it’s what makes a shooter worth its salt. Plus we don’t want to give the story away.

So how does FEAR fare? Well, the guns are really of an incredibly high standard. You’re packing some serious weaponry here. Bullets tear away at ceilings, explosions cause furniture to fly across rooms and dust and debris colours the air grey.

FEAR’s not just got the guns that every other shooter boasts either. A quick tap of the specified button enters "bullet time" mode. You know, time slows down but your reflexes are beefed up. We've seen it before but it's done well here.

FEAR looks stunning too. Well, when all hell breaks loose it does. When all is calm – a fairly rare occurrence admittedly – and you get a chance to check out your surroundings, you’ll notice that things aren’t anywhere near the high standard that both the PC original and other 360 titles have set.

That said, the sound through a decent system is absolutely incredible, particularly when you’re in the middle of a hectic firefight. Hearing bullets tear away at the wall behind you is enthralling for sure.

The enemy is no slouch either. It’s clear a lot of time has been spent making these tough nuts behave like the real thing. Go on, try it. Take a few pot shots at the opposition and you’ll see them running for cover, ducking behind walls and so on. It’s details like this that make it.

Control wise, things aren’t quite up to the same high standard. We dread to recall the amount of times we wasted a health pack instead of initiating bullet time. Maybe it’s a case of clumsy us, but it’s certainly a drawback for such a hectic game.

Multiplayer wise, FEAR’s right up there with the best. Sixteen players can take part at a time – you want more huh? – and the obscene amount of debris flying around makes this a fantastic experience. It’s not quite a Halo 2/CoD3 beater, but it’s not far off.

Verdict

But as much as we’ve praised FEAR, it’s still a title you can pick up for a tenner on the PC. If you’ve got one, go for the cheaper option as there’s not much to tell between them.