People like you and I who like Monolith's games for their characters and humor find little of that to like in F.E.A.R. However, we are obviously in the vast minority who think Monolith "screwed up" the game.
Riley, I don't know you & have seen many posts suggesting that you're a troll over a long period of time. However, your post here is entirely good & quite useful.
I think that you're right about NOLF. There was a scene in NOLF where you could listen to an entire 5 min conversation between two terrorists and it was well-done & so entertaining that most people would choose to listen to it & really enjoy it. The scene with the of the failed sale of the monkey in NOLF was also well done & quite funny. Only one other game in history had me laughing so hard & that was Thief2 when the guards are talking smack to eachother on the rooftops.
So yeah, NOLF was humorous. FEAR was intended to be serious. There are some conversations in there such as when the big black dude is hitting on your love interest, but that's really about all. And to be honest, we never really care about any character in FEAR at all. None of them, except perhaps Alma which would have worked far better if she wasn't a little "RINGU" ripoff.
FEAR really failed on engaging the player & I think the reason is that they were going for a certain sound & unfortunately that certain sound just didn't work well. I never had the sense that the game was speaking to my subconscious or whatever they intended, but I did have the feeling that I couldn't hear cut-scene material very well at all. Maybe they weren't concerned about 5.1 spatial environments. Who knows. All I know is that it plain sucked.
But overall, FEAR just plain OWNED Quake4. In fact, Quake3 plain OWNS Quake4. And for the single player experience, Quake1&2 OWNED Quake4.
Plain & simple, Quake4 had bad graphics, bad levels, bad weapons (*nothing new), bad cut-scenes, and a bad plot. Why am I fighting for? Just nuke this planet. It's stupid. Also, wtf about that dumbfuck from Fargo? It was the only good movie he ever did! Now we got this dumbass trying to sound russian & some other guy named Ortez in the game trying to sound mexican & both of them sound like they can't act & that's true & it fails UTTERLY!
FEAR is not perfect, but QUake4 sucked so bad that I could not even finish it on no_clip/god mode it was so stupid. Doom3 & QUake4 were the worst gaming failures in terms of actually playing the game in all computer history. They're hype machines showing off a tech engine. Id stopped being a real gaming developer when they started censoring violent content after Quake1. You remember Quake1 with that chainsaw fatass crazy fucker with blood covering him from face to foot. That guy was creepy the fuck out! Also that jumping demon that could eviserate you with one fucking swipe, also covered with blood. Doom2 had tortured people tied up with chains upside down with a huge pike spear right through their entire body & all kinds of twisted shit like just a leg somewhere, still twitching because it was still ALIVE. In hell, you never stop feeling the pain. It was horrific, but its reality was the purest. Now everything ID does is so censored that even my 5yr old nephew laughs when a demon comes along. Only a very few scenes, and always cut-scenes, ever let you past the censorship. It's pathetic. I don't know if they do that on purpose or because they're just getting older but it sucks. ID can't make a good game. Quake4 sucks. End of story. Hope you liked it.