FEAR Tweak Guide
Author: Koroush Ghazi
Last Modified: March 2007
Just like Far Cry, FEAR is one of those games that's taken everyone by surprise. When the FEAR Demo came out a few months back, I didn't even think about downloading it. It looked like another generic FPS-on-rails which would quickly slot in somewhere between Soldier of Fortune 2 and Doom 3 on the originality meter. But after a few email requests from readers I decided to download the game and give it a try - and boy, I'm glad I did!
Just like Far Cry, there are two things which make FEAR stand out from the crowd - a gimmicky but genuinely fun twist, and amazing graphics. In Far Cry, the gimmick was the tropical location, something which hadn't been used in any major FPS I'd seen up to that point. In FEAR, the gimmick is SlowMo mode - hardly new (bullet time in Max Payne comes to mind), but it is well executed.
As for the graphics, physics and general atmosphere of the game...well they're pretty much perfect. FEAR doesn't fall into the trap of being a Doom 3 clone with lots of pitch black corridors and rushing monsters. The attention to detail in the environments is left nicely visible, and the special effects really blow you away at times. Even though I'm not a big fan of the supernatural FPS genre, I like FEAR. Bottom line is that this game is the real deal, and well worth purchasing.
Now in the interests of not sugar-coating my introductions as much as I used to, let me quickly cover some of the drawbacks and problems with FEAR. Firstly, the game engine is a real PC-slayer. It takes a great deal of work for FEAR to run smoothly on most machines. You really do need to pay attention to what the various settings do, and try some of the suggestions in this guide to make sure you get good performance, otherwise your FEAR will turn into loathing (and not just in Las Vegas).
Secondly, and perhaps my biggest gripe, is the way in which the game's publishers, Vivendi Universal Games, have decided to use the secuROM copy protection system for the game. They've done this knowing full well how problematic secuROM is, and indeed many legitimate purchasers of the game (including me) are now having problems launching the game because of authentication errors on our original CDs/DVDs. Not to mention the debacle in which FEAR was rushed to market only to have its first official patch made available on the same day as the game's release. Not that the first patch has resolved all problems either - most notably audio-based problems.
Regular TweakGuides readers would know that I had a real go at VU Games for this shoddy state of affairs, with both the game's purchasers, and the game's developers given the shaft just to rush this game into the stores. It's a genuine shame that such a beautiful gem of a game is left in the clumsy hands of companies like VU Games.
But enough of my griping, you came here for the guide, and on the following few pages you'll find that I cover most everything you can do to make this game run better on your machine.
Note: This guide refers to the latest version of FEAR, Version 1.08 as well as FEAR Combat and FEAR Extraction Point. Make sure to check back regularly for updates.