F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin Review
- Posted February 17th, 2009 at 12:09 EDT by Eric Blattberg
- 32 Comments
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F.E.A.R. 2 is a somewhat scary blend of action and horror, and although it relies too heavily on old ideas, it still offers an enjoyable experience.
- The combination of horror and action
- The advanced enemy AI
- The surprisingly strong online multiplayer
- F.E.A.R. 2’s unyielding linearity
- The utilization of outdated mechanics
- The difficulty entering a multiplayer match
A great American president once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Now let’s amend FDR’s famous quote for the 21st century. “The only thing we have to fear is F.E.A.R. itself.”
Monolith Productions’ F.E.A.R., or First Encounter Assault Recon, burst onto the gaming scene in 2005 and made waves with its intense gameplay and groundbreaking visuals. After numerous expansions, ports, and spin-offs, the true sequel is finally here. Let’s get right to it: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin plays better than its predecessor, but standards have changed drastically in the last four years. Since the original F.E.A.R. launched, we’ve played gems like Resistance: Fall of Man and Call of Duty 4. What does F.E.A.R. 2 offer that those games don’t?
Horror. Pure, unadulterated horror. F.E.A.R. 2 picks up 30 minutes before the conclusion of the first game. You’re Michael Becket, a member of a Delta Force team tasked with taking Armacham president Genevieve Aristide into protective custody. As it turns out, the mission doesn’t go according to plan (what a surprise, right?). As you approach Aristide, the psychotic and powerful Alma unleashes her wrath upon the city of Auburn, which culminates in a massive explosion that the Manhattan Project scientists could have never imagined. After waking up in an underground “hospital,” you’re left to pick up the pieces.
Be warned: F.E.A.R. 2’s tale isn’t very accessible to newcomers. Even with various Intel documents scattered liberally throughout each of the game’s 14 levels, you’ll be left in the dark most of the time – and not in the frightening way. That’s not to say you can’t still appreciate the horror aspect of the title. Although only a few of the horror “episodes” are genuinely frightening, they’re all fairly unsettling. When you’re walking along a corridor and the action drops off, you’re either walking into an ambush or it’s time for a supernatural ride. Through clever visual techniques and eerie audio effects, Monolith skillfully displays an Alma-altered reality where chaos and death reign. The issue with these events is that, as expertly crafted as they are, they inevitably become predictable. When events are foreseeable, they are significantly less frightening. And honestly, the name of the game is F.E.A.R. – it doesn’t get any clearer than that. As you saunter down an empty hallway, it becomes routine to expect some sort of paranormal occurrence. Still, if you play with the lights low and the sound high, F.E.A.R. 2 can be quite the thrill.
What’s not thrilling is how ordinary the rest of the game is. Not bad, but merely ordinary. In the end, all that matters is a game’s fun factor. If you can deal with some of F.E.A.R. 2’s outdated design decisions, you’ll undoubtedly have a blast. Here’s why you might not, however.
Some of today’s widely accepted first person shooter mechanics aren’t present in F.E.A.R. 2. Now, we don’t dislike that is it’s different – in fact, we encourage change and new ideas. But that’s just it: F.E.A.R. 2 doesn’t innovate; it falls back on last-generation play styles. Health, for example, is not rechargeable or regenerative. Instead, you can carry up to three Medpacks that you can use to recharge your health at any point. It’s not broken or overly unwieldy, it’s just unnecessary. Also, aiming and shooting are mapped to L2 and R2 respectively (rather than the generally preferred L1 and R1 combination), and controls are not customizable whatsoever. Still, the biggest problem with F.E.A.R. 2 is in the game’s actual environmental layout.
F.E.A.R. 2 is linear. Yes, most first person shooters are linear. F.E.A.R. 2, however, outdoes its competition. This is particularly evident during the game’s earlier chapters, where you’ll be driven along a single, tiny, unyielding path for what seems like eons on end. Monolith designed the environments to look like genuine places, and they are wonderfully detailed and gritty, but attentive gamers will immediately notice how restrictive the various settings really are. The explosion that occurred at the outset of the game apparently knocked debris and objects in front of or behind every potential path, except the one you’re intended to travel on, of course. When that one path is through a knocked-out pane ... (continued on next page)
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- 2:30am EST - February 17th, 2009
Looks like there are too many little broken bits to have any fun, I don't go for frustrating games.
- 2:33am EST - February 17th, 2009
Probably a rental for me. The L2 & R2 setup is a big frustration to me. It's a far less comfortable way to play.
- 2:48am EST - February 17th, 2009
Another quality game in the series.
- 2:49am EST - February 17th, 2009
Well in the still images the graphics seem good but when playing the demo they seemd outdated it was really painful to go through the demo. I dont think I even rent it I havent even had the chance on getting my hands on games like prince of persia, dead space because of the games I have bought XD and now with SFIV, RE5 and KZ2 i think they will have to wait. I agree with the review this game isn worth more than 7.5.
- 4:26am EST - February 17th, 2009
so, all the publicity and stuff around the page and you gave the game 7.5, AMAZING, this just show that this site is not biased, congratulations :)
- 4:48am EST - February 17th, 2009
Pfft. Was more of an 8.5 to me. What games isnt linear these days? CoD4 when it first came out had so many onine problems compared to this yet it still got great scores all around?
- 5:17am EST - February 17th, 2009
the games more like a 6.5, with the online it deserves a 5 for wasting disc space
- 5:26am EST - February 17th, 2009
Online? HA! I couldn't get online after trying to connect for an hour.
Though, I enjoy the single player. Heck it's the reason I bought it.
- 6:07am EST - February 17th, 2009
I like the L2/R2 Aim/Shoot controls MUCH better. Doesn't it make sense to pull the trigger in real life to pull the trigger in the game world?
- 6:18am EST - February 17th, 2009
as Ive not played the game yet just the demo I can only complain abot one issue in the review. Why are you worried about not having regenerating health? Thats one of the ideas I thought was cool at first but now I just find it to take away a LARGE portion of challenge. Games are getting way too easy now, I have to start everything on hard (if the games even let you do that :S). Screw casual and young gamers whining about difficult games. I WANT A CHALLENGE THAT WILL TAKE ME WEEKS. I havent had that since Devil May Cry 3.
- 7:29am EST - February 17th, 2009
it looks awesome i might get it
- 8:19am EST - February 17th, 2009
This is meant to be played on a computer, it's a typical PC-game! :) And I think it's worth more than 7.5.. it's one of the best so far, just stunning.
@4: OUTDATED graphics?? :S You're mad man.. did you even find the "advanced settings"?? :S
- 9:50am EST - February 17th, 2009
I loved it, definite 8/10.
- 10:08am EST - February 17th, 2009
I bought the PC version like I said I was going to and It's worth more then 7.5. Like others have menetioned, this game is ment to be played on the PC.
- 10:20am EST - February 17th, 2009
Gonna get this one pretty soon.
- 11:10am EST - February 17th, 2009
I don't know what you guys mean buy "hard to join a multiplayer game"
Maybe it is just the PS3 version ? Because for the PC I have no problem. It takes me seconds.
- 11:25am EST - February 17th, 2009
well, I am pretty sure it's safe to say that Killzone 2 has spoiled some gamers. I guess the bar is finally set for FPS games.
- 1:26pm EST - February 17th, 2009
To those gamiliar with Monolith's prior work, I think this was just a little disappointing. Monolith has made some amazing, groundbreaking titles like the No One Lives Forever series, Blood, Shogo, and the Condemned games. While I liked some of the aspects of FEAR 2, a lot of what this reviewer said seems to fit with my general feelings of the game. Monolith is a pretty awesome studio overall, but it seems like they just slightly missed the mark with this one. That being said, I do hope Monolith eventually goes back to the NOLF series soon, and I am definitely looking forward to the next Condemned.
- 1:37pm EST - February 17th, 2009
i tried it w/ cod4 and i cant get rid of it. I LOVEZ it!
- 1:56pm EST - February 17th, 2009
I have the game for the pc and havent had any issues at all. Im having a great time with this game. It will def. keep me busy till Kill Zone 2 comes out.
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