So this past week Steam had its Halloween sale, with zombie hordes of creepy games all with their prices cut down to bloody bits.
Okay, I’ll stop with the puns now.
I took advantage of this opportunity to finally get my hands on F.E.A.R. and F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, games which I have been wanting to play for a very long time.
After waiting an eternity for our lazy Internet to finish the download, I wiped my hands in nervous apprehension, started up the first game, and then promptly died.
What I had not been considering was that F.E.A.R. was released back in 2005. Games from that era were really, really difficult. They didn’t hold your hand; they didn’t feed you with a spoon. If you didn’t learn quickly, you were dead.
When was the last time you played a game that doesn’t have a map, compass, or any method of telling you where to go? Even the most linear games on the market today have a huge blinking dot telling you where your objective is, with some even going as far as warning you that you are “leaving the combat area” if you dare stray down an alley.
This is especially annoying if you are as obsessive as I am, and love exploring every nook and cranny.
F.E.A.R. doesn’t give you any indication of where to go. Despite this, it is generally quite easy to figure out where your next objective is, and you are actually rewarded for exploring off the beaten track. I wonder how many modern gamers would cry out in fury if a game was released now without some form of GPS.
Another thing that took me by surprise was the sheer brutality of enemies. One specific battle I reloaded maybe ten times… on the easiest difficulty. The AI in F.E.A.R. flanks you like I’ve never seen before. One would think that modern shooters have advanced to a stage where the AI would be very realistic, but I don’t think so. Not anymore. In modern shooters, the enemies mostly just move around sideways while shooting at you.
There has actually been a lot of talk regarding the fact that games are not difficult anymore. Irrational Games went as far as to add a “1999” difficulty setting in Bioshock Infinite, which was said to be a shout out to the games of that era.
On the other hand I realise that publishers have to satisfy a wider range of gamers than ever before, and not all gamers will appreciate the difficulty of those old games.
Sometimes I do wish that a few devs will take a chance though, and make a shooter where the AI is punishingly difficult, and you aren’t being led around by a shining waypoint all the time.
I’d rather deal with that, than being led around by the hand like a baby all the time.