This channel is pretty underwhelming but this video essay is alright and encompasses quite a bit. Play the first game and its first expansion, Extraction Point, and you can safely ignore the rest.
For me F.E.A.R. is as close to essential first-person shooters have gotten since id’s 90s run, aside from HALO nailing how to make them engaging, distinct and effortlessly playable on consoles, and I say this as someone who has made their peace with being a shooter player. How do you build the design beyond Quake? Dynamic lighting, abstract level design but emulating recognisable locations this time to really sell the ambience of a nightmare, combat that hinges on mobility and adapting to a reactive, expressive force and yes, a further grounded player avatar. It also helps if both your action and horror influences explore outside of Western staples, and if the horror is also foundational to the pacing and tone of the game rather than just being an aesthetic.
If only it had become the template for military-themed shooters rather than Call of Duty. Where are the modding tools so I can make a Frozen Synapse theme?