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 F.E.A.R. 3 is a game that fuses first-person action with "survival horror" elements. That is, while you're running and gunning from the main character's point of view (or unleashing paranormal attacks), the dark visuals, mutant creatures, and creepy music are meant to scare you. Along with ample blood and gore -- including body dismemberment and decapitation -- the game has strong profanity and partial nudity. Gamers who play online can also chat via headset microphone, a feature Common Sense Media does not recommend for preteens.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
F.E.A.R. 3, a paranormal first-person shooter, reintroduces a genetically-enhanced and skilled sharpshooter named Point Man, who teams up with his deceased brother, Paxton Fettel. Both have supernatural powers. The siblings -- who have a rocky relationship -- face off against an evil presence from their past through eight main levels. Every level you complete as Point Man can be replayed as Paxton, with a different set of skills. The story isn't terrific, but it puts the action into context and helps tie up some loose ends introduced in previous games. As with its predecessors, horror masters John Carpenter and Steve Niles were involved in the direction of F.E.A.R. 3.
Is it any good?
For those old enough and who like horror games, it's fun; but be aware the game leans more toward a shooter than it does a paranormal thriller. Depending on what kind of experience you're after, F.E.A.R. 3 may or may not be the ideal game for you. There are a few scary moments in dark corridors, on rooftops, and city streets, but the bloody and gory first-person action, which is set in memorable locations, is where the game excels.
The controls feel good, regardless of whether you're using traditional or paranormal weapons. Decent A.I. ("Artificial Intelligence" -- where the computer controls non-playable characters) makes playing the solo campaign worthwhile, but it can also be tackled in co-op mode (though it shouldn't prove too challenging with two players). There are also a few multiplayer modes to keep the action fresh for a while. F.E.A.R. 3 might not be the best -- or best-looking -- shooter on the market but it shouldn't disappoint fans of action or survival horror. Note: all three versions of the game are the same.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether first-person shooters still have the same appeal in 2011 as they did back in the mid-to-late 1990s. Military shooters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 are very popular, but have they evolved much? F.E.A.R. 3 adds a horror element, like Valve's Left 4 Dead 2. Does this help innovate the genre?
Families can also discuss violence in games. How do you monitor the games your kids are playing? What are the markers you look for to determine whether they are too violent? How do you explain to them that a game might not be appropriate for kids their age without frustrating them?
For kids who love action
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.