Cry of Fear is simply the best Half-Life mod I have ever played, with the exception of Counter-Strike back in the day. This game shouldn't even be classified as a mod in my opinion. The engine has been utilized so well that there is little resemblence to the look of Half-Life.
The story of Cry of Fear is worth experiencing for sure. I like the mystery aspects to the story and your character's journey in figuring out what's going on. There are many WTF moments, which I like in survival horror games. Plus, there are mutliple endings, so the replay value is decent. I don't want to give anything away, so you willl have to check it out yourself. Definitely plays with the mind and is more of a psychological horror thriller than a straight up jump scare horror game, which in my opinion makes for a much more interesting experience.
This game truly is survival horror and the designers understand how to make the player feel like every resource is valuable. Similar to games like the early Bioharzard (Resident Evil) or Silent Hill games, items like firearms, ammunition, light sources, health, etc. all become scarce quickly if not rationed correctly and you always feel relieved to find more. There are times where I decided to sprint past enemies instead of trying to take them out since I didn't have enough ammunition or they were heavy in numbers. Speaking of enemies, there is a decent variety to them and they are creepy as hell. The animations make them very disturbing, and the sound effects that belong to each of them unnerve your senses. As for the objectives, they are usually pretty simple for the most part. There is a lot of back tracking, but it does make sense within the story, so it didn't really become annoying. There were some areas where I got confused on where to go, but to me, this helps the experience more than hindering it. I don't always want to be told where to go or what to do so directly. Survival horror games should make you think for yourself. Most games lack this aspect. The firearms feel much more realistic than most games. They have some serious recoil and the accuracy is fairly similar to the real thing, at least from my limited experience.
The game is very well polished for being built on such an old engine compared to the new ones. There are many details on the characters and enemies that bring out their personalities or lack thereof. Since this is a FPS with third person cutscenes mostly, the hands and weapons look very realistic. Very good details, especially on the firearms. The animations are done very well and the designers really didn't try to shortcut anything. Lighting, color, post processing, water, textures, etc. were all done very well, especially for a free game. The only gripe I feel anyone can make is only because of how old the engine is for the game, so obviously the polygon count isn't nearly as high as modern games. The settings are very detailed and make you feel like you are there in Sweden, which is where the game takes place. You are mostly in an urban environment, cautiously going through the streets, alleys, sewers, parks, buildings, etc. However, there are some other settings such as the forest and suburban areas.
This game has accomplished everything it set out to do in my opinion. The sound design and music compliment the harsh disturbing atmosphere and really creeps you out, especially when you don't know what's around the next corner. The graphics are great for the resources used, the gameplay is true survival horror, and it's FREE!!! So, sit back, turn the lights off, turn up the volume, have a weapon near you along with a change of pants if need be, and enjoy this game. I would pay money to play this game, let's leave it at that.
My review is based on playing the single player only. I did not play through any other game mode. There is a co-op mode and a survivor mode as well, adding some more replay value.