FEAR is one of the greatest FPS games of all time. Dark, fierce, brutally violent, and with a shotgun that will make your ears explode, its combination of psychological horror, bullet-time gun battles, and bone-crunching body physics is enough to rival Halo, Half-Life 2, and BioShock in the ranking of best ‘00s shooters. And now, FEAR, the game that left us with a crippling phobia of vent shafts and ladders, is available for the price of a pack of gum.
Released in 2005 (though you’d never know to look at it, thanks to Monolith’s masterful textures and lighting) FEAR – or ‘First Encounter Assault Recon,’ for the layperson – is a mind-bending, super-gory journey through the dark night of one American city.
Pursuing a mass murderer and his army of mind-controlled super soldiers (yep) you gradually unravel the mystery of Alma, the terrifying ghost of a little girl who has a penchant for melting people’s entire bodies and jump-scaring you at the worst possible moments.
The guns in FEAR sound fantastic – maybe that’s a base pleasure, but if I’m playing an FPS, I want it loud. Likewise, I love how Monolith eschews typical horror game locations in favor of apartments and office blocks.
As you stalk through the corridors and fluorescent-lit cubicles of the Armacham building, there’s a wonderful, modern-meets-gothic kind of aesthetic. It’s deep shadows, horrible apparitions, and foreboding dread, but against the backdrop of chunky, white-plastic PC monitors and dull, flickering vending machines. There’s nothing else like it.
And now, FEAR can be all yours for less than a couple of bucks. FEAR Premium Edition is $1.49 / £1.19, down 85% from $8.99 / £8.09 here at GOG. As well as the brilliant base game, the Premium Edition gives you two expansion packs, Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate.
And if you’ve never played the sequels, both FEAR 2 and 2011’s FEAR 3, which marked the series’ final outing, are absolutely worth your time as well.