Wednesday, February 4, 2009

F.E.A.R. Extraction Point Review

F.E.A.R. Extraction Point is the first of two expansions for F.E.A.R, sold by itself, as part of the F.E.A.R. Gold Edition, and the F.E.A.R. Platinum edition for PC and as part of F.E.A.R. files for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Unlike the original game, though, Extraction Point was developed by Timegate, since the original developer, Monolith, had already been bought by Time Warner. So, how did Timegate do?

As the kind of expansion that requires the original game, Extraction Point is a short little addendum to the original game, with about four hours or so of play time. The plot picks up where the original game left off. A helicopter crash leaves the F.E.A.R team stuck in Auburn, with the Point Man separated from the rest of the group. The ultimate goal of the game is to get to the titular extraction point for a new ride out of Auburn. Of course, it'd be an awfully boring game if getting to the extraction point was easy. That's when Paxton Fettel shows up. The Replicas reactivate, and the game stops making sense, because Fettel died in the orignal F.E.A.R. At least he has the decency to acknowledge this information in-game. Needless to say, Monolith doesn't consider Extraction Point (or the other expansion, Perseus Mandate) to be a canon part of the F.E.A.R. story.

The plot isn't the only problem. The team at Timegate has no real sense of pacing or subtlety. As a result, they throw lots of stuff at the beginning to try to scare you, but it's so gratuitous that it fails entirely. Extraction Point doesn't really get scary until the last level of the game. Worse, all of the environments are totally recycled from the first game. Even the church at the beginning quickly devolves into an office building reminiscent of the Armacham building. If one of the few complaints I had about the first game is that the environments were kind of bland and the same, recycling them was hardly a bright move.

Oh, and the answering machine messages are back too. Except this time they serve no purpose whatsoever.

Extraction Point is at it's best when you're having a big shoot out with Replica forces. The enemies are as smart as ever, and some of the battles will be quite memorable (I'm looking at you, parking garage). And Timegate solved the weapon-hording problem by simply having you run low on ammo. Whenever you'd fine a cool new weapon, chances are you had one that was low on ammo to dump.

It's hard to really recommend Extraction Point. If you got it with the F.E.A.R. Gold or F.E.A.R. Platinum collections, it's short and there's a few fun fights that might make it worth playing. But to pay full retail for it or F.E.A.R. Files, the game is too short and bland to get your money's worth.

Final Score: C

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