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

By Stuart Andrews

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

I think there are also some issues with the structure. F.E.A.R. 2 offers a surprisingly long single-player campaign, but it's a bit of a slow burner. The early levels plod a bit too much, and it's a while before we get interesting new enemies, impressive set-piece moments or access to the most destructive weaponry. Then suddenly you get a whole lot of goodies clumped in at once. Compared to F.E.A.R.'s skilful and steadily escalating introduction of new ideas, new arms and new enemies, you get the idea that the sequel holds too much back for too long in reserve.

Nor does it help that F.E.A.R. 2 doesn't exactly look cutting-edge. Sure, there have been improvements to the lighting and we get a new raft of post-processing and particle effects in the slowmo combat and nightmare sequences, but this is still a game full of bland textures, boxy environments and less than photo realistic character models. Two years ago this might not have been a problem, but having played Killzone 2, Gears of War 2, Resistance 2 and Crysis: Warhead in the last six months, F.E.A.R. 2 again feels like yesterday's game. It's F.E.A.R. with an extra layer of polish, not F.E.A.R. taken to a whole new level.

With limited experience of the multiplayer portion of the game under my belt, I wouldn't like to make too many sweeping comments about it now, but again I come away feeling a mixture of admiration and disappointment. Admiration, because the team at Monolith has innovated and made some some smart design decisions. For example, it has transformed old game modes like Capture the Flag just by swapping the flag for a tank of dripping green glue that leaves everyone a nice trail to follow. Meanwhile, a new customisable class system where you can effectively roll your own load-out is to be commended. All the same, the games I've played have yet to convince me that there's anything here that I've never seen before, and I suspect that a lot of players will give F.E.A.R. 2 multiplayer a go then return to Call of Duty 4, Resistance 2, Halo 3, Crysis or whatever their current favourite happens to be.

Taken as a whole, I've found F.E.A.R. 2 a very difficult game to judge. Like any critic, I try to take various technical and visual factors into consideration, but in the end I'm always guided by my personal feelings and my experience of playing the game. With F.E.A.R. 2 I've had some high points and some moments of real excitement, but also a lot of 'is this it?' and 'do they really think this is good enough?' F.E.A.R. 2 will still have a strong enough appeal to two groups of people: those who bought and loved the original will be reasonably happy to just have more of the same but slightly better, while hardcore FPS fans will know it and appreciate it for the high-class corridor shooter that it is. If you're not in those groups, however, then there's no reason to rush out and buy F.E.A.R. 2 right now. It's a perfectly decent shooter, but with a property as exciting as F.E.A.R. decent isn't really good enough.

Verdict

F.E.A.R. 2 is good enough to grab fans of the original game, but not great enough to take its Asian horror/Hong Kong action movie mix to a whole new level. Enjoyable, but mildly disappointing.

Overall Score

7

noTHINGface

February 16, 2009, 3:01 pm

Good review. I've been playing this over the weekend, I loved the first FEAR, not so much the expansion packs and I'm really enjoying this one too. I'm nearing the end of the single player campaign and it's been a great ride. The thing is, I'm enjoying it (and I'm talking single player only, I never bother with multiplayer) for the reasons submitted as negatives; linear game play, FEAR 1.5. In this day and age where all shooters have to have something new to bring to the FPS party I find it refreshing to have a well presented game with half decent production values which I can just pick up and have some fun shooting some bad guys without having to worry about in-depth mechanics. This is what makes FEAR 2 fun (for me).





I think it looks pretty sharp on the graphics front too (PC version). The textures are pretty high resolution, this is hinted at by the ca. 12Gb install size and you can tell the difference in game.





Minus points from me; An inability to map additional mouse buttons (mouse 4, mouse 5) and the fixed aspect ratio (16:9). This on the PC version.





Anyway - obviously procrastinating at work a little more than usual, good review guys.

Ian Yates

February 16, 2009, 3:45 pm

I completely agree with the review, with one exception: this is exactly the game I wanted.





FEAR is by-far the best executed FPS I know, helped along massively by the clever use of horror aspects; like things darting about in the dark or appearing as you turn around.





The System Shock style of making the story available through notes and phone messages is always fun, as you get the reward for that little bit extra exploration, and the FEAR storyline was great.





FEAR2 might not take that quite as much to the next level as the devs made it sound, but who wasn't expecting their constant chatter to be a lot of hyperbole?





Extraction Point was a massive dissapointment for me, and Project Origin is exactly what I was looking for after 1.


I agree it dragged and the levels were a little claustrophobic; but the level designers play well with those tools by using the nightmare/paranormal aspects and ambushes to keep you guessing.

StuAndrews

February 16, 2009, 5:48 pm

I'm glad you're enjoying the game, and your points are completely valid. All the same, I think you both fit into the group that I talked about in the last paragraph: those who were happy with FEAR 1 and simply want the same experience with a few enhancements. There's no question in my mind that FEAR 2 delivers on this, but - personally - it didn't hit me with the same tension or adrenaline as, say, Killzone 2 or Gears of War 2 in recent months. It's a good game; I just think it should have been a great one.

simon jackson

February 16, 2009, 8:25 pm

Fair review, imo. FEAR was a great game, and i'm definately enjoying FEAR 2 so far, but i think its improvements are matched by its deficiencies. I find the experience a less visceral/raw than the original game - seems a little more tailored to the arm-chair console gamer rather than hardcore fps fans who perhaps came originally from the pc. I think that's a popular trend in a lot of modern fps's though; they seem to lack some of the depth of years gone by. It's rare even to get a "use" button in fps's these days, or at least it feels that way to me. Often things like doors just open for you, and if they don't, you just presume you can't go through them. Even fear 2 feels rare in offering collectable med-kits which can be used as and when needed. A popular alternative - perhaps since halo - is regerating health. Not a bad paradigm per se, but it's good to have variety - it's the spice of life after all!

noTHINGface

February 16, 2009, 11:16 pm

I agree with the above post - this game is most definitely affected by its console pedigree, not being able to use a mouse wheel to scroll through the PDA text?! The menus, including the aforementioned PDA screens are bloody awful from a PC perspective, very console orientated.





Anyway - I'm still shooting replica dudes with a smile on my face... It got that part right for sure.

grouse

February 20, 2009, 3:20 am

Got this game a couple of days ago and i have to say i agree with the review somewhat. Does feel a bit oldschool graphics and gameplay wise.


Not that its rubbish though. there are some really heart pounding moments. A game to play at night with the lights off.

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