Play as either the Point Man or Paxton Fettel in FEAR 3

FEAR 3 (or F3AR) isn't quite like the other games in the series, featuring a cover system and co-operative play, with the focus shifting from scaring the pants off players to delivering a more action-oriented experience. This doesn't mean that there are no scares at all — FEAR 3 features some genuinely creepy moments which are greatly complemented by its soundtrack, which is chock-full of cliché, but atmospheric nonetheless. It also seems that developer Day 1 Studios has made a key design decision to make FEAR 3 primarily a co-operative experience, and as a result, the game features two playable characters: the Point Man and his telepathic brother Paxton Fettel. Moreover, the developers did not want to deny anybody the pleasure of playing both the protagonist and antagonist of the first game, so we have both online, offline as well as split-screen co-op in FEAR 3's campaign mode. What's more, if you're playing the game solo, you can simply unlock Paxton Fettel after completing a particular level as the Point Man.

The story of FEAR 3 is pretty straightforward, but prior knowledge of the events of the first two games is necessary. As mentioned earlier, the Point Man learns that the very man he was sent out to kill was his brother, and Alma, the psychic super-being responsible for all the gratuitous destruction was their mother during the course of the first two games. However, the Point Man's unwavering commitment to his cause saw him and his team set off a chain of events that seemingly put an end to his sibling and mother's rampage — at a cost. But at the start of FEAR 3, the Point Man finds himself imprisoned by Armachan Security, the evil corporate entity responsible for all the unwarranted experimentation that led to the existence of our dynamic trio, but something strange happens. His brother-cum-nemesis, Fettel comes to his rescue and both of them set out for Fairport City, the setting of the first two games. The core component of co-operative play is a scoring system. As players rack up scores, they ‘level up', unlocking abilities — the same system is in place when the game is played solo as well. Playing as the Point Man will feel all too familiar for gamers who have played the previous games in the series, but the cover mechanic adds a new dimension to the gameplay. The shooting feels solid and has been fine-tuned to the point of perfection, while the slow-mo mechanic returns and is arguably the best it has ever been in the series. Playing as Fettel, on the other hand, is exactly the same and completely different at the same time. The Point Man's cannibalistic brother has several psychic and telekinetic powers, with the ability to move and shoot objects, fire projectiles, sports a powerful melee attack and the best of them all, the power to possess bodies. The game switches to a traditional FPS when this is done, but the evil laugh let out by Fettel when a body is possessed is priceless. Co-op works extremely well, and players will be able to make the most of Fettel and the Point Man's abilities while playing through the game's relatively brief campaign mode. Overall, FEAR 3, while lacking in scares, is undoubtedly the best of the series in terms of gameplay. It's just a shame that a promising multiplayer component that features some interesting game modes is all but accessible thanks to connection issues and ‘unable to join game' messages.

FEAR 3 is available for PC, PS3 and X360.