As many of you will be aware, F.E.A.R (or First Encounter Assault & Recon in short) involves a rather mysterious looking girl in a red dress, a man with an unappetizing taste for human flesh and some rather flashy action set pieces áaka The Matrix. All of this is brought together by one of the best game engines around.
F.E.A.R. makes its cinematic pretensions clear from the start. As soon as the credits roll, and the music starts, you are treated to the full works. The camera pans across scores of troops locked 'n' loaded and ready to hunt you down, all seemingly linked to 'Paxton Fettel', a strange kind of guy with extraordinary psychic power capable of controlling battalions of soldiers and a habit of feeding off any poor unfortunate innocents - presumably to aid his powers of concentration. It doesnt end there, after a short briefing at F.E.A.R. HQ you are sent off to hunt down Fettel equipped with reflexes that are 'off the chart'. These reflexes are put to excellent use, with a slow motion effects like that of Max Payne, or the before mentioned Matrix. But here, it is oooohhhh so much more satisfying thanks to the outstanding environmental effects. Sparks fly everywhere, as chunks of masonry are blasted from the walls and blood splatters from your latest victim. The physics are just great, with boxes sent flying, shelves tipped over, and objects hurtling towards your head. And the explosions, well, the explosions just have to be seen, and what's so great about this is you can witness it in all its glory in slow motion.
Let me confirm to you that based on this, F.E.A.R. will have you shaking on the edge of your seat, if not falling off it. The tension is brought to just the right level with key moments that will make your heart leap. Play the demo and you will see what I mean. The key to this, is the girl. Without revealing anything significant, lets just say that she could take on the whole of Mars for creepiness.
Image Quality setting:
4x Anti Aliasing
16x anisotropic filtering
Soft Shadows Disabled
F.E.A.R. has a built in test which we used to measure performance, you should try it yourself, it's actually really fun to look and compare with our results. Yet F.E.A.R. after all this time still is a tough title for the graphics cards; especially when you configure it to maximum image quality. This game is heavily pixel shaded and shows some dark and creepy effects.
Again 4xAA and 16xAF was applied here. All settings to high, no soft shadows though.
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Don't mistake the PC version for being a port of the Xbox 360 game. The PC version has larger and different levels than those featured on the Xbox 360, as well as a different graphics engine and style of gameplay. The game itself looks great and the intricate physics modeling seen in the single-player version is still active in the multiplayer version. In fact, it's so detailed that if you have the Ageia physics card, you'll see sparks bouncing off objects in the environment. There are all sorts of other interactions you'll encounter in multiplayer. For instance, aluminum cans litter the street and stepping on them not only kicks them around, but also creates a loud sound that may betray your presence to the enemy.
Image Quality setting:
Edge Smoothing Anti Aliasing
16x anisotropic filtering
Dynamic shadows HIGH
And here are the results done with the newer GRAW2. Pretty similar performance actually. Below you can observe our image quality settings.
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