This game made me seriously question the nature of game narrative. Many developers, Monolith included, tend to take what I think of as a moving film stance, playing out the game story through a series of in engine cutscenes. Your character is the camera, and you watch all of the game action. FEAR plays out the same way, and while it does present a really good and satisfying horror story (with a few missteps near the end, granted), it reminded me of how most games fail to present good dramatic pacing. I loved FEAR's terrifying story, but a moment of pause, to build the tension, might made it even scarier. Pay attention to the beginning of the game, it has the meat of the truly frightening moments, including one classic moment on a ladder.
Gameplay, consider FEAR to be Max Payne's bigger, meaner brother. You'll get 'reflexes' that let you slow down time, and they give you a tremendous advantage in battle just like Max's bullet time. Once you get over how cool you are, however, you'll be daunted by a series of increasingly difficult enemy soldiers. They don't get that much tougher as you go through the game, they tend to be better armed and incredibly intelligent. It ends up being really fun to fight an opponent who is good at outthinking you.
My one complaint, unfortunately, was the weaponry. I'm a big fan of games that feature really aggressively visceral weapons, and I just didn't get that from FEAR. The weapons were effective, but all too often they felt similar, and perhaps too realistic in their effects. However, that is not to say that they didn't have character. My favorite weapon was the Penetrator, which could staple an enemy to a wall with a killing blow, an impressive feat.
Graphically, this game looks pretty good. It has really nice lighting effects, and the refraction through glass-like-surfaces looks really, really nice if you can get the game to run well with those effects. Plus, great graphics and supernatural psychic horror ends up being pretty freaky looking.
FEAR is an unqualified success in my opinion, as it creates a good, stressful, horrific environment that doesn't quite jump you out of your seat as creep you out. With only a few drawbacks, this is a great title.