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F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin Review

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Developer: Monolith Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Release Date: February 10, 2009 Available On: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

The 2005 hit F.E.A.R. is not a game that won as widespread appeal as it could have. It started off as a PC exclusive in a gaming industry that is increasingly more focused on consoles. Then when the first F.E.A.R. finally did make it to the Xbox 360 and PS3, it suffered the same fate of many PC-to-console ports. Now that the publishers (this time it is Warner Brothers Interactive instead of Sierra) have released its sequel on PC and consoles at the same time, the problems are not nearly as bad.

One of the first things that I noticed when playing F.E.A.R. 2 was how much it felt to me like Condemned. The shooting, the lighting effects and character models, as well as the storytelling. That’s because the creators of Condemned, Monolith Productions, also created F.E.A.R. Instead of having a CSI-like forensic aspect to the game F.E.A.R. instead offers a paranormal take on the FPS genre.

The game takes place in the fictional city of Auburn where a supernatural explosion gets caused by a girl named Alma. If you played the first game then you know who I am talking about. Alma is a girl that will often appear as an apparition throughout the game attacking the main character. Alma has immense psychic powers and it is your squad’s job to make sure that they put a stop to it before it is too late. A lot of the story is told through cut-scenes and audio transmission during gameplay, although some key plot elements are discovered by picking up documents throughout the game.

F.E.A.R. 2 plays a little bit like Condemned and definitely has the unsettling atmosphere that is present in that game. Most of the game takes place inside of office buildings, schools and various other facilities, but there is a certain amount of urban combat as well. To shake things up a bit Monolith threw in some mounted gun moments throughout the game where you just mow down waves of enemies. They also have a couple of parts where you can actually get inside what amounts to a mech. Both of these gameplay elements do a good job of changing the pace of the game.

The core shooting in F.E.A.R. 2 is fairly standard, although it requires a good amount of cover. To that extent you can knock over any number of objects, from tables to desks, employing them as a means of defense from enemy fire. You can also employ a slow time feature that was popularized in games like Enter the Matrix. This can be used relatively liberally as you get deeper into the game making it much easier to get head shots as well as taking out multiple enemies at one time.

One of the things that you will immediately have to get used to in F.E.A.R. 2 are the controls. They feel natural after you play for a little while, but they really are not standard shooting fare. R2 is used to fire on the PS3 version of the game (instead of R1 in most shooters) and L2 to aim/zoom. The L1 button will help you cycle between the four weapons and four grenades that you can have equipped at any given time. Like most games you have the option of swapping out weapons that enemies leave behind or that are available throughout the environments.

As with seemingly every game these days, F.E.A.R. 2 has a multi-player element to it that allows you to connect to people over PSN or Xbox Live. You have your standard Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and so on. There are both ranked and unranked matches and you can select whether to host or join a previously created match. Obviously you can not slow time in the online matches, although most of the weapons are available. Some pre-selected load outs exist but these can be customized and new weapons can be purchased. The multi-player is a solid effort although I can’t say that it stands out with such heavy competition.

If you came for the single-player then I have to say that F.E.A.R. is worth the price of admission. This is definitely a solid rental. Monolith took some of the best horror movie elements and put them into a First Person Shooter with high-end graphics, lighting and sound. The multi-player elements works fine yet does not stand out against its contemporaries. Also, while the story is solid, I found the ending to be quite a disappointment. Overall though this is a fantastic sequel to the first. For such an early release in the year, F.E.A.R. 2 is able to prove that good things can come in February.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 7.5
Final: 8.5
Written by Kyle Write a User Review