Co-Op With a Ghost


Point Man and his now-deceased brother, Fettle, are set to take center stage in the newest game in the F.E.A.R. line, but how exactly will the ghost of Fettle fit into the gameplay style of F.E.A.R. 3?

Well, the main change is the heavy co-op nature of the game that gives players control of both Point Man and Fettle. Point Man, of course, comes equipped with his super-soldier nature and ability to slow down time, while Fettle has an arsenal of ghost powers including a ranged attack and possession. This combination of moves looks like they will make an imposing force against their ghost-mother’s onslaught of unnamed creatures.

For reasons as yet unclear, Fettle has decided to put aside the fact that Point Man has killed him and join forces with his brother to stop their mother, Alma Wade, from completing whatever crazy plot she has up her supernatural sleeves this time. While Fettle’s true motives are going to be a major part of the game’s story, the main focus of our demo at E3 was how the two characters’ combat abilities worked together and how much freedom the two players have in clearing out the various rooms of ghosts and military personnel.

In the F.E.A.R. 3 demo, the Point Man and Fettle ran around the small enclosed level tackling everything from gruesome monsters to people with bombs strapped to them. We saw several times when the player controlling Fettle took possession of a human in order to get to hard to reach places (like sniper posts) and start taking out enemies from behind, and when he was done with the possessed, he could kill his host before moving on with Point Man. There was another point where the pair came across mech suits, and while Point Man could simply hop in and control the device, Fettle had to take possession of a guard in order to access them. Hopefully this little detail is going to be a nice recurring mechanic in the game since Fettle’s incorporeal nature is sure to cause a few hiccups like that throughout the game.

One of the aspects I found really interesting was how independent the two players could be and still help each other. There were a couple of times in the demo where Point Man would go off down a hall, while Fettle would take a set of stairs off to one side, but the pair wasn’t separated for very long since these paths would end up meeting sooner rather than later. These divergent routes allowed the areas to be cleared out much more efficiently than if they had just both gone into the same room guns ... or bolts ... blazing. As it was, the enemies ended up having to fight on two fronts.

Another point-of-note here is the fact that Day 1 Studios built in a system that makes the experience different each time. Apparently, each time you play through an area, you can expect a different numbers and types of enemies to take down. This is sure to make the game’s replay value go up, and build on the multiplayer aspects of the game since you can run through it multiple times with different friends and keep getting different experiences.

The developers demoing the game weren’t too forthcoming about how the game will handle single-player. What they did say was that Fettle and Point Man would be together no matter how many players were actually in the game. They also said that the game is designed for a second person to jump in and play the A.I.-controlled character at any point, but when asked about the ability to switch between characters on the fly, they couldn’t say too much. They did, however, assure us that there weren’t any puzzles or enemies that required a specific character to be in control in order to progress.

As a side note, it’s worth mentioning that film director John Carpenter worked with Day 1 Studios to craft the cinematics sequences and horror writer Steve Niles co-wrote F.E.A.R. 3’s story.

Look for the latest installment in the F.E.A.R. franchise on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in October.

F.E.A.R. 3
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment