I was under the impression that I have a pretty decent gaming PC. It's not cutting edge, but it's certainly above average. I have a Geforce 6600 GT and a 64-bit Athlon 3000+. But F.E.A.R. (or First Encounter Assault Recon: Random Acronym (you've no doubt heard that gag already)) just made my computer cry like a baby, in a way that Half Life 2 never managed.
It is a game with stunning visuals, if you can afford a £400 graphics card. If not, it is a game with decent visuals, which jerks when you try to look left or right. And for something trying to build up an atmosphere of, well, fear, this is a rather large setback. Every time a paranormal event occurs the jumpiness causes annoyance and frustration, obliterating the mood the game tries to build. And of course we all know that small girls wearing blood-red dresses are really scary don't we?
So my first impression is that F.E.A.R. is just another in the long string of PC FPS games – prettier than most (if you can afford it), but following that same old familiar Dark Warehouse setting of which these types of game seem overly fond. Its redeeming feature, and the reason I will keep playing regardless of its otherwise generic nature is the much talked about bullet-time. It's been done before in Max Payne, a game I loved with a sequel whose only let-down was that it lacked the freshness of the idea.
So bullet-time in first person? Sign me up, for now at least.