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Expansion Falls Way Short of Original Offering
Published on June 11, 2007 By iTZKooPA In PC Gaming
I have finally managed to finish F.E.A.R.: Extraction Point after picking it up from target some months ago for $20. I love when I catch those target sales and they have a solid game up for a such a great price. The deal wasn't as good as when I got Titan Quest for $20 since that was a full game and not an expansion but I can't complain. The not-as-badly-named expansion pack was the first FPS I have played since finishing the original when it came out and since I never reviewed it I might as well do a tandem review to save us all some time.

My computer is about 30% better now than it was when the original F.E.A.R came out, sporting a nVidia 7800 instead of my old Radeon 9800 and a Athlon 64 3400+ with 2gig Dual Channel ram instead of a Athlon XP 3200 with 1.5gig Single Channel ram which certainly made things prettier. I was able to run the expansion at a 1600x1200 resolution at a good framerate which couldn't be done on my old system. Under those conditions the thing looked beautiful although the warehouse and boxes aren't all that hard to manage this day in age. The story fits the location but after playing FarCry the closed quarters games become a bit dry and leaves one asking for more. If it wasn't for the amazing horror and solid scares then this may have been another dud like Doom III was for me (so bad to me that I have in fact failed to finish it because I just keep getting annoyed).


Owning some n00b with bullet-time. Notice the amount of headshots.


As noted the story and horror are what made Monolith Studios' title shine. They basically saved the game from being a standard fare shooter with a cool bullet-timesque effect and average weapons. Some complained the the bullet-time made the title too easy, a simple fix to that is to not use it or turn up the difficulty level. On the hardest setting I would be hard-pressed to believe anyone who called it 'too easy'. As for the weapons, they are standard issue, nothing fancy or cool, but they are quite balanced as well. Headshots take skill to pull off (although slow-motion shots are pretty easy) and isn't based on enough random chance to be annoying like Day of Defeat: Source. Now for what the title definitely does deliver on.


Some 1600x1200 explosion running at a good clip.


I don't scare easy, let alone scream or jump during movies like so many others, but playing the F.E.A.R series with the lights off and at night (one of the reason this took so long, thats the only time I would play) was a nerve-wrecking experience. Every corner, every ladder and every long hallway terrified me to a point that I have never been to. On at least four separate occasions between the two titles I jumped and/or screamed due to something on screen. On a fifth occasion my girlfriend walked into the room (she also played the original), noticed what I was playing and then decided to wait for the opportune time to scare the shit out of me, causing me to almost jump out the window to save myself. I have yet to have my manhood returned to me...

The story was interesting although it certainly wasn't as well done as the scares themselves. In the end the likes of Fettel and the little girl played second fiddle to their mindgames although one could easily argue, and I would agree, that the mindgames are all part of the plot as well as being part of the horror. I would definite say that the original title was worth the $40 I paid for it although I am not sure I could say the same for the expansion. Anything over the $20 I paid for it and I would have to say no. There just wasn't too much added to the universe from the expansion. The story aspect was basically you just running away from what happened in the end of F.E.A.R and XP didn't really extend the main story beyond that. Yes, Fettel continues to harass you and you learn a few new things but it was very contrived, offering little new information and closing no lose ends or questions.

Extraction Point felt more like a standard shooter to me than the horror shooter that was F.E.A.R minus one good scare. Sadly there was little added in the shooter aspect as well. The three new weapons more or less suck, with the deployable turret being the most useful in certain situations. The fact that I just finished the game a week ago and aside from one fun boss fight I can't remember anything different between the two titles combat setup can be seen as just how little I felt the changes. Once again you fight most fights in a warehouse or office building area, running between rooms as you try and flush out the Replica forces or spirits from god knows where. The expansion did offer addition large scale battles in large courtyards or warehouse parking lots but again nothing new.


Here is one new feature in the expansion. Ammo/Weapons crates.


Sadly the expansion didn't hold much of a candle to the original. Aside from the Dell product placements (don't worry its tastefully done, although I wish you could destroy them more) there was little to remember from the expansion. If you can't find it for cheap, $20 or less, I wouldn't bother with it. You'll gain about six hours of gameplay, eight maximum, but it will be the same as the original. But for anyone who hasn't played the original it is definitely worth picking up. I would recommend the title to any shooter or horror fan and basically anyone else who can stomach a shooter in the least. The title is just that engrossing and immersive that it really should be played. Hopefully you will also have a much faster computer than when the title was released in late 2005 and hell by now it should be pretty cheap.


This is my favorite addition the expansion made to the F.E.A.R. world, portable, mountable turrets.


Currently Playing:

PC:
Fallout
Dark Messiah of Might & Magic Psychonauts

DS:
Pokemon Diamond

Gamecube:
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

Playstation 2:
Star Ocean Till The End of Time

Wii:
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz

Xbox360:
Dead Rising

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