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F.E.A.R.: Perseus Mandate (PC) artwork

F.E.A.R.: Perseus Mandate (PC) review

"I'll miss you most of all, Scarecrow."

F.E.A.R.: Perseus Mandate (PC) image

FEAR: Extraction Point raised the bar for its brand. Where I found the original campaign to be decent, albeit lacking in terms of variety and scares, Extraction Point was a well-balanced shooter full of action and nightmarish material. Not only did you spend much of the expansion bumping off cloned terrorists called Replicas in a variety of situations, but you occasionally gunned down demonic forces. Extraction Point also cut back on the number of vapid sequences that did little to bolster the game's horror element besides assault you with creepy (but technically benign) imagery and occasional jump scares. Instead, the abysmal horrors were not merely there for show, as they routinely darted from out of shadowy corners of blood-soaked rooms to steal a bit from your flesh.

To put it another way, Extraction Point was a fantastic horror-shooter, albeit its unfortunate lack of a plot.

FEAR: Perseus Mandate seemed to bridge the gap between the original title's excellent narrative and the previous expansion's exciting setup. In its first half, Perseus Mandate does a wonderful job of thrusting you into a multitude of rough gun fights with more than one type of foe to fend off. Besides the Replicas, Armacham security guards and mercenaries called Nightcrawlers join the mix, and even battle each other from time to time. It's a wonderful change of pace to charge into a city street and witness a bloody battle between Replicas and Nightcrawlers and think to yourself, "Do I eliminate them all right now or wait and reward the victors with headshots?"

Although there are a few instances of ghostly phenomena throughout the first three "intervals" (read: stages), the game saves most of its chills for the middle and beyond. Once you're firmly into Interval Four, you'll run afoul of some familiar nasties, and eventually meet a newly invented monstrosity. Now and then you'll spot pitch black portals in the floor, which house the ankle-grabbing, flesh-munching, piranha-headed "Scarecrows." Even though I anticipated being dragged into the depths as I stepped over my first hole, the realization that I was about to witness pure nightmare fuel didn't sufficiently prepare me for the horror I encountered. Let's just say I had to explain to my wife why the pants I was just wearing were in the hamper.

F.E.A.R.: Perseus Mandate (PC) image

I wish that I could report that Perseus Mandate remains solid throughout its campaign. Unfortunately, the latter third or so falls victim to the flaws that plagued the original title. For one thing, the game shifts gears about three or so intervals in by removing two of the three opposing factions. The security guards take a hike, mostly because they weren't a very formidable presence anyway, and the Replicas plant their rumps on the bench for a while. This could have led to an explosive re-entry for that faction, but only resulted in a somewhat dramatic reappearance. Following that, they were rarely utilized for the rest of the campaign. Heck, you don't see them in full force again until the very end of the adventure, where they attempt to prevent you from escaping.

If you've done the math, this leaves the Nightcrawlers. Having to war with them alone isn't the problem, but stumbling into roughly the same firefight ad nauseam is yawn-inducing. Furthermore, there are some added instances in which you traverse empty hallways with moody music, similar to the first game. The only real difference is that Perseus Mandate tosses in a few Scarecrows here and there. However, if you're slightly vigilant and fair at timing, you can easily leap over these guys, rendering them a non-issue.

F.E.A.R.: Perseus Mandate (PC) image

This is also where the game becomes less frightening. Paranormal activity drops to all time lows, and what few scare scenes the latter phases of the game boasts are unimpressive. Mostly, you'll see a lot of Paxton Fettel and intermittent glimpses of skeletons, bloody corpses, or Alma murdering some of your foes--y'know, one-dimensional characters you don't give a crap about.

It's unfortunate, but Perseus Mandate blows its load early, then tries to be a slow-burn horror experience during its second half. It's irritating to get into an intense title, only to have it evolve into a copy and paste affair that's bereft of the bloodshed and nightmare fuel that made its first half enjoyable. If it's any consolation, the game pulls itself together in the closing battles, pitting you against an actual final boss and a few wild shootouts thereafter. Now if only the game would have done that for the last three stages... Toss in some nastier fright scenes and it might have outdone its predecessor.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (October 23, 2014)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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Great battles, interrupted by middling chatter.


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