Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there are many gruesome images in this game: The opening cut scene shows a man feasting on a dead body, complete with sound effects of flesh being torn, and other clips show people burning to death or undergoing a terrible medical experiment, and some scenes involve a young child. Extreme vulgarity abounds, with enemies screaming "f--k" when hit. This game would undoubtedly cause nightmares for many younger players (and maybe adults). It is for mature players only. Kids can play online against other players, which Common Sense Media does not recommend for anyone under 12.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Players take the role of a newbie F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) grunt, sent in to investigate the mysterious take over of a high-tech aerospace compound. Voicemail messages and wounded personnel left in the facility reveal a government-sponsored military program gone horribly wrong. Cloned soldiers under the control of cannibal Paxton Fettel have locked down the entire plant, killing anyone who enters. Meanwhile, players experience sudden and random visions: horrible medical experiments, tortured and bloodied victims, flooded rooms, fires, and a mysterious little girl in a red dress.
Is it any good?
Borrowing from horror films including The Ring and Hannibal, F.E.A.R. mixes first-person-shooter action with terrifying and disturbing imagery. This game is thoroughly terrifying. It's well done, but it's for mature players only -- it is not for anyone under 17.
The plot isn't anything new, nor are the weapons. Mood is everything -- and as players battle their way through the levels, they can't help but feel unsettled. It's worth noting that the artificial intelligence in this game adds complexity to FPS gaming. Even on easy, players shouldn't expect to rush through the levels, guns blazing, and hope to make it out alive.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the horror genre of films and games. Does a lot of blood and gore make the game/movie scarier or not? Where would you draw the line? Is gameplay more intense because you control part of the action? Are frightening games less appropriate for teens and kids?
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.