Cold Fear - PlayStation 2
Platform: PlayStation 2Change
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2005
Cold Fear has been touted as the PS2's "filler" until the arrival of Resident Evil 4, but is it worth playing? Well, it is, but it's not always fun.

Cold Fear is basically "Resident Evil" set on a boat, with a sprinkling of "The Thing". You play as lifeguard Tom Hanson, who boards the ship after a mysterious disaster has befallen the crew, only to find the place overrun with mutated victims and weird creatures. It has great graphics and boasts a range of cool weapons and monsters, but there are some drawbacks, which I will get to shortly.

When I picked up a copy of this game I was intrigued by the idea of being on a storm lashed boat, and this aspect has certainly been well implemented. The stormy weather and raging sea effects look brilliant, and you can almost feel the wind throwing you off your feet as the boat rocks widly from side to side. Each time you are out on an open deck, this game really shines, and you'll need to be very careful not to get knocked off your feet, or worse still, overboard! As for action below deck, you'll still find that the scenery tilts constantly from side to side, although to a far lesser degree, so you'll never forget you are on a boat. The scenery of the whaler itself looks pretty realistic, which unfortunately makes for rather ugly backgrounds, as there is no let up from grimy cabins and corridors, with metal rivetts and girders everywhere. The action takes place in third person view from fixed viewpoints, but you can switch to an over the shoulder perspective at any time, which makes manouvering around far easier, as well as combat (you can engage in combat in the third person view if you want to, but I never did). This shoulder viewpoint (as in RE4) is one of the best aspects of the game, and you'll be switching to it frequently, especially when entering a new room, as you'll more than likely want to put Tom into a ready position for any enemies that may be leaping out at you. And they really do come at you in this game, the human "zombies" (not really zombies, but you can play the game to find out what they are) are not shuffling moaners, but aggressive foes that can run headlong towards you waving hatchets and knives! You'll need great reflexes to come through unscathed, as aiming has to be done manually, and only a headshot will put these guys down for good. Plus, remember that the boat is constantly rocking... It's tough, but also a great challenge for gamers who want to feel that they are actually able to use some skill in defeating foes, rather than be hand-held by the auto-aim of other games.

There are also other enemies of various shape and form, plus some unfriendly human opponents who all train their guns on you, so there's plenty to look out for. Luckily you'll find an impressive arsenal of weapons (although once I had the shotgun, I didn't want to use anything else!), and there are plenty of interactive objects in the environment that you can use to your advantage like fire extinguishers, steam valves and oil barrels which cause damage to any nearby enemies when shot. So combat is varied and challenging, and yes it's also fairly hard, especially in some rooms that are chock-full 'o monsters (remembering the rig showers - shudder). This wouldn't be so bad if you could use a healing item if things got tough - but you can't. In a warped change from the norm, healing items can't be picked up and carried around for use when needed - if you come across one on a shelf or bench, you either have to use it right there and then, or leave it where it is. Which is really mean. You might come across one when you don't need it, so you just leave it, and later, when you are limpingly close to death, you'll have to make it all the way back to where it sits to actually heal yourself. I can't really understand this idea - if Tom can carry around 10 heavy dury firearms, surely he can slip the odd medical kit in a pocket somewhere. Right that's my first complaint, might as well offload all the others while I'm at it....next comes loading.

Loading, loading, loading. You'd think in 2005 games could have this minimised this a bit, but not this one. Most opening of doors or re-starting from a save will frustrate you with an excrutiating amount of dead time, which really kills the atmosphere. If you feel your progress is going badly and wish to re-start from your last save, the process to actually do it is soooo slow. Booting the game up from scratch also takes a fair old time, and you can almost feel the disc straining to keep up with your impatient fingers (even the intro music judders and skips on my PS2 during opening loading selections!). So that may destroy the experience for an impatient gamer - be warned. Also at fault is the save system. You can't save at specific locations or anywhere or anytime, but only when you are told to. All saving is done at checkpoints which just crop up arbitrarily after certain objectives are reached. It's not really fair, as you may wish to backtrack first to mop up extra ammo or pick up items if you know where the save point is, but they come without warning, and if you say no to saving when prompted, that's it - you don't get asked a second time, and you have to carry on unsaved until the next one. Mean! It makes the game unnecessarily harder still, and on a few occasions I felt like discarding the whole thing. But I didn't, and even though at times the progress was gruelling, I felt a certain relief in arriving at save points with full clips of bullets and full health and sometimes, I even predicted them and prepared myself (eventually you can kind of pre guess when a save is likely to be coming up - usually when you leave a room after an important event - but it takes a lot of practise, and thats not really where you should be concentrating your efforts during a game!).

So those are the drawbacks I would bear in mind if you like the look of this game. It's a shame, because it's otherwise an effective and slickly produced horror adventure. However it's not that long and has no puzzles and only two locations - the ship and an offshore rig - which don't make for attractive scenery. Plus - there's no map!! You get a serviceable layout of the ship in the manual, so don't lose this, but there's nothing at all for the rig, and I got lost loads of times. The general story and mode of play are also nothing new - survival horror veterans will have seen it all before. The treacherous sea-bound locations are the novelty here, and they just about make up for the other shortcomings. I never tired of those crashing waves and driving rain - but this may not be enough to make you forget the faults that lie elsewhere.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2006
One dark & stormy night, a mysterious and seemingly abandonded Russian frigate sends out a distress signal from the middle of the ocean and is picked up by the US Coast Guard. You play as Tom Hansen, a very sarcastic and colorful member of the Coast Guard, and you with some teammates go in to investigate. You & your squad seperate, but over your COM headset you hear your team being slaughtered. Eventually you uncover what killed them - an inhumane & unethical experiment gone wrong that has taken over the ship. You must now fight for survival, but to stop the spread of this... thing... at the core of it's creation.

Although most of the game & story is on the ship, dont think this is the only place you will be fighting on. You'll wind up on an oil rig where the entire story comes together.

Cold Fear utilizes a lot of the same game play mechanics that Resident Evil 4 used. You collect a small armory of weapons including a flame thrower, shotgun, MP5, etc. The aiming is works with the camera allowing you to see over your shoulder, so you can have the full effect on the aim. Although there is no jumping, you can run - and oh boy will you be running.

What seperates Cold Fear from Capcom's top selling game is that Cold Fear has a lot of enviromental hazards. Since you are on a ship in a very bad storm, the boat rocks which makes aiming hard. And adding to the whole ship rocking thing, waves can hit the boat and in turn hit you which will hurt you over even knock you off the frigate. On the oil rig you must watch for trip lasers, explosive barrels, and since it IS an oil rig - falling off the edge and into a watery grave.

There are a lot of enemies to fight ranging from armed paranoid Russians, Mutants/Zombies, parasites, and these monsters with big arms. There are more, but I don't want to really ruin it too much for you.

The music is pretty good, I mean it builds tension in dark hallways, adds suspense & helps pump the blood in intense battles, etc. For the most part the sound effects are good, like the zombies and stuff screaming and whatever, but the gun shots for the handgun sounds SOOO weak... but it's just the handgun so I guess I can overlook it. The voice acting is good, whoever played Hansen did a great job adding some personality to his character.

I hate to admit, but the graphics feel pretty outdated. Some things are blocky, others are grainy...the cutscenes don't look much better. What IS good is the fact that the stages are really big and interactive, and the character models look cool - both human and monster, but more on the monster side.

Having said that, I will add that although I had a great time playing it I think the game was FAR too short and pretty easy for the most part. The hardest thing was learning your way around the ship & rig. What really ticked me off was you could save only after you have done a certain amount of things to progress the storyline, and on top of that, the ending was...very....VERY! weak and I felt a bit ripped off.

Even with it's problems however, Cold Fear provided me with a lot of fun and quite a few scares, not to mention a nice low price tag. I suggest if you want some thrills with easy gaming then go for this title.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2006
Fun game overall. Save points are kind of weird but do not detract from gameplay. Interesting setting with lots of atmosphere and enough claustrophobia to make one antsy just watching someone else play. I recommend giving it a try... especially if you can find it for $20 or less.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2007
I am a big fan of survival horror games and have played pretty much most of them.

Cold Fear is a very good game, it is fun, scary at times but also frustrating at others but I have not played one that was not frustrating at one time or another (yep, all RE, Fatal Frame, Silent Hill, Clock Tower, Siren, etc have provided some frustrating moments). Still, isn't a bit of frustration also good for this kind of games, I do think so, why not? after all, you are playing a survival horror title where suspense, un-easiness, frustration, tension, etc, make it a better experience.

The controls are not the best but not the worst. Yes the game has no map and that was the main reason for frustration but you get used to after a while and learn to be more aware of the places you go, so after all, it is not that bad. Graphics and atmosphere are good. I cannot comment on sound cause I played it at EA during breaks while developing other video games and, event though you are allowed to do this (I mean play other video games while at work), I could not crank up the volume to really enjoy it so I decided to play it in complete silence.

Unfortunately the game was a bit short now that I think of it thought I didn't notice when I played it because I did over at least 3 weeks (did I mentioned I was at work?).

I gave it 4 stars cause it actually was fun for me. I was definitely not expecting to find the best survival horror game or a quantum leap in concept so I could not be very picky to start with.

If you are a fan of these type of games I definitely recomend it. Just don't expect to find the holly grail and take it for what it is: another fun game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2011
My first experience with this game was great.

I rented it about the time it came out, in search of a good survival/horror. I managed to get through most of the game before becoming too frustrated by the final boss battle that I ended up abandoning it. Despite this, Cold Fear lived on in my memories as a good, frightening, Zombie, over-the-shoulder shooter.

Now, let's skip ahead six years.

I had been wanting to play Cold Fear again for quite a while, but it wasn't on any of the lists that said it worked on a 360. I had sold my original X-Box. I finally got my hands on a functional one and decided to try Cold Fear once more, intent on beating it this time around, as well as reliving great, old memories.

They were best left as memories.

I got the game for cheap and set to work.

Now, while I already had a pretty good idea of what to do, and my ability to play video games had vastly improved over the past six years, I killed my way through the game in about five hours on regular difficulty. The game starts out great, and the graphics, for the time, are pretty stunning. Especially in the cut scenes. The gameplay was still pretty fluid and I had fun.

But then I began to realize something: the story sucked. What starts out as mystery quickly turns into lazy writing. One of the main examples being the fact that the entire reason you're in this situation is because a CIA agent ordered you to do so. You keep in contact with him throughout the game, but ultimately he just kind of fades away and it's never actually explained who he really is, what his interest is in the situation or how he even got hold of this data.

The BIGGEST problem I had is a huge Spoiler Alert.

There are different kinds of Zombies in the game, and they're all basically people being controlled by a little monsters called Exocels that come from the ocean. It's possible to become infected by an Exocel, although usually they just take control of already dead bodies.

At one point in the game, you do get infected, but you get it taken care of. Then you get infected again. You and the only other living person with you, a woman named Anna. Basically, at one point near the end of the game, you've got one Cure between the two of you. Obviously, you use it on her.

And then they just FORGET that the main character is infected. It's never mentioned again, even as the end credits start to roll. The ending of this game was just terrible.

I'd say if you've got a thing for survival/horror and an original X-box, and you can find this thing for under ten bucks, go for it. Otherwise, don't bother.
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on September 12, 2009
Overall I'll give this game 3 out of 5 stars. Why just 3? The graphics are very good for PS2 and although the story isn't quite original they did a good job adding some new twists and turns to the basic lone hero fighting off the horde of mutant/zombie/alien monsters trying to kill him and spread their infection/disease all over the world etc, etc. Placing the game on a boat in the middle of very bad weather was a nice twist. Not only do you have to fight off monsters but you have to do so while tossing and turning and having to be carefull about not being thrown overboard while you are moving through the game. And to me having to navigate through an abandoned ship with all of the stairs, cabins, latrines, storage rooms, and other obstacles seems to be even more creepy and spooky then running through an old house, factory, or some other large building on land. The only major issue I had with the entire game was the control setup, it is absolutely AWFULL!! As you navigate your character through the ship it is not exactly from a 1st or 3rd person point of view more like a 4th person perspective, it's kind of tricky to explain but moving your guy around will take quite some getting used to if you are a fan of normal FPS types of games. This does not make the game impossible to play or take away from any of the fun it justs gets a little frustrating after awhile when you have several bad guys coming at you and you are trying to take evasive action and move your guy around quickly to avoid being killed. Aside from that one aspect the game is pretty fun and challanging. I don't remember much hoopla about this game when it was first released it sort of just came in under the radar. After playing it for the first I'm glad I bought the game used because I would have been a little irritated about the controls if I had gotten the game when it was first released and paid full price.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2006
I don't see why this game got bad reviews. To me it's great, except for its short length, the absence of interesting unlockables and the very quick ending after the final fight. Also the game involves quite a bit of backtracking.

But the atmosphere, action and ZOMBIES!! are top-notch. A few trigger-happy Russians are also added in the mix to spice things up. How can you go wrong when you can make zombie BBQ with your flamethrower, or simply blow their heads clean off with your shotgun, and then watch their headless bodies still trying to hit you with their meat cleaver?? The weapons really pack a punch! The graphics and sound are great. You character is easy to control, not the crazy controls of RE4 (see note below). Also the game is very balanced, if you are a decent gamer, you should not get frustrated,unless you get lost, which can happen (there is no map), but in this case the net can provide all the directions you need. Finally, you can choose the language in which you want to play, which is a nice touch!

p.s. I haven't play RE4 except for one or two levels. The controls are so stupid in that game I can't believe it. Aiming with left analog stick? Be rooted in the ground whenever you draw your gun? Be asked "Do you want the ammo?" whenever you find ammo? No thanks, I'm in a woods full of zombies, why should I need ammo? How lame!
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on August 21, 2014
Cold Fear is a great survival horror game warranting 5 stars (not that it is without flaws, but total gaming experience is excellent). It's intense, and the graphics are top notch for PS2. The effects of the waves and weather aboard the whaler can be disorienting, but the game is really good and intense, with a great bio warfare experiment/zombie gone awry feel to it. In the vein of the Thing or other games like it.

Sometimes these games can be tough to play, so what I have done to save a bit of time and not have to play the same levels over and over is purchased an Action Max Replay code card which has a bunch of codes for thousands of games like Cold Fear, giving you more ammo, health, etc... makes the game really enjoyable and flow better, although the game is still difficult. Here is the link in case you want to try it. The codes all worked for me with no glitches, so I heartily recommend it. Hope this adds to your gaming experience.

 Datel Max Playstation 2 Action Replay
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on April 12, 2010
After many serious attempts to play this game and give it a chance to suck me in, I ended up selling this game. It was OK... not terrible and not great, just OK. There are too many great games out there to justify spending any more time with Cold Fear. Maybe it was just not my cup of tea, maybe others enjoyed it much more than I did. Meh.
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on October 19, 2014
This game has good atmosphere, good action, and adequate level design for the majority of the game.The end parts however feel rushed and not thought through well enough, with many opportunities not used.The end boss is also piss easy, anticlimactic, and simple. With an underwhelming story direction to boot.
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