Welcome one and all to a new feature we’re running here at TSA called ‘Previously On…’ where we catch you up on the plot of a story-driven franchise that has a new installment coming out. We’re starting today with the F.E.A.R. franchise, which is about to see its third chapter of the main series hit shelves this week. You may be thinking that this franchise is just another mindless shooter with a watered-down story and a creepy little girl following you around, but there’s actually a pretty deep plot surrounding all the chills and thrills you get from playing.
Before we dig in, we want to make very clear that these articles are going to be action-packed with spoilers. If you haven’t played any of the F.E.A.R. games and are planning to do so, you should probably stop reading right now. Once more, spoilers, spoilers and more spoilers are shown below. Read at your own risk.
It all started with the original F.E.A.R. that first launched back in 2005. You assume the role of a player known only as ‘Point-Man’ who works for the First Encounter Assault Recon team, a division of Special Forces soldiers who deal directly with paranormal threats/activities.
As Point Man, your first order of duty is to eliminate a man named Paxton Fettel, with the help of Delta Force. Fettel is in command of an army of cloned super soldiers that are under some kind of mind control. Fettel’s first act after the opening credits is taking over a company called Armacham Technology Corporation (ATC), and killing most of their employees. Fettel then flees the scene and Point Man spends the majority of the game hunting him down.[drop]As if fighting Fettel’s soldiers isn’t a tall enough task, Point Man also has to endure intermittent (and sometimes dangerous) hallucinations of a little girl named Alma. Alma is described later in the game as being a powerful psychic and was a subject of something known as ‘Project Origin,’ a product of ATC. As the game progresses, it’s also noted that Alma has two children, the oldest being Paxton Fettel himself, who is believed to be under the control of his mother.
After realizing the dangers of Project Origin, ATC shuts down the Project Origin facility, leaving Alma inside. Because of this, Fettel is desperately searching for the Origin facility in an effort to free his mother. Before Fettel can accomplish this goal, Point Man is able to kill him but not before having a hallucination that reveals the truth – Point Man is Alma’s first son and was Fettel’s brother.
Killing Fettel stops all of his super soldiers from continuing their campaign to locate Alma, but that doesn’t stop her from getting free. Shortly after the death of Fettel, the leader of Project Origin releases Alma, feeling guilty over ATC’s treatment of her.
In an effort to eliminate Alma and Project Origin’s facility, Point Man goes about his final objective of destroying the facility’s reactor. After successfully completing this task, Point Man is pulled from the devastation by a military chopper, still alive after the blast. Before the chopper can leave the area, Alma makes one last appearance that delivers the first game’s final truth: Alma is still alive.
On we move to F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.
F.E.A.R. 2 begins just before the original game ended and starts at the same place the original came to a close. You’re no longer in control of Point Man but rather a Delta Force soldier named Michael Becket. The story begins with Becket attempting to capture Genevieve Aristide, the President of Armacham Technology Corporation (ATC).
Becket arrives at the Project Origin facility Aristide is residing in just before Point Man can destroy it. Becket succeeds in reaching Aristide in time and upon doing so, Aristide tells Becket of something known as ‘Project Harbinger’ that involves Becket and several other Delta Force soldiers. Before she can elaborate on what it is, the explosion caused by Point Man that brings down the entire facility knocks Becket unconscious.
When he finally comes to, Becket finds himself in a hospital, being operated on by doctors under appointment of Aristide herself. The procedures performed on Becket now cause him to give off some kind of psychic signal that ends up attracting (you guessed it) Alma. Becket escapes the facility but not before being attacked by Alma, ATC soldiers and the army of cloned super soldiers (now referred to as ‘replica soldiers’) from the first game, who have been reactivated for the first time since Paxton Fettel’s death.[drop2]After successfully escaping the facility, Becket and his remaining men infiltrate another nearby ATC facility masquerading as a school. Once inside, Becket discovers the purpose of Project Harbinger – to create more psychic beings similar to that of Paxton Fettel, capable of commanding entire armies. Also inside the facility is an ATC informant that tells Becket that he may be capable of destroying Alma with the psychic implementations given to him by Aristide’s doctors. In order to do so, the informant explains that Becket must travel to a nearby island which houses yet another ATC facility, as well as a psychic amplifier capable of amplifying Becket’s powers to a level that may allow him to finally defeat Alma.
Upon arriving at the facility, entering the amplifying device and attempting to use it, Genevieve Aristide appears one last time and temporarily thwarts his plans. She begins to execute her own plan of sealing both Becket and Alma inside the amplifying device to satisfy her own agenda. Alma then attacks Becket which sends him through another series of hallucinations he’s forced to fight through, while still attempting to activate the amplifying device.
Just before Becket can activate the amplifier, he begins to see images of his body being sexually assaulted by Alma in the real world. When the amplifier finally does kick in, it temporarily stops all of his hallucinations but fails to destroy Alma. The game closes with Becket seeing a vision of Alma, who’s now bearing his child.
F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn
Reborn is a small expansion of F.E.A.R. 2 that puts players in the shoes of a replica soldier being controlled by the spirit of Paxton Fettel. The soldier is forced to turn away from his fellow replicas in an effort to reach the ATC facility where the first game ended. Alma, who apparently doesn’t like this plan, begins controlling the replica soldiers, turning them against the player-controlled solider. She also sends her own ghostly apparitions in an attempt to stop him. Once he finally reaches the destroyed facility, the replica soldier sees Fettel and approaches him. Upon coming in to contact with him, Fettel takes control of the soldier’s body and claims himself to be “Reborn.”
So that just about does it. There are a lot of other small details from the story up until now that we didn’t mention but when looking back to the main story arch from all previous games/expansions and what F.3.A.R. looks to be about, that should be more than enough to get you started on the right foot.
Look for this segment to return just before the launch of other plot-heavy games such as Resistance, Gears of War, Uncharted, Mass Effect and many more.