F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

As a first person shooter this game is great but as a follow up to the excellent F.E.A.R its hard not to be slightly disappointed. The emphasis is on all out action with only a few spooky bits thrown in here and there. As long as you don’t expect the same experience as the original game you will have fun, but there are definitely less thrills and chills.

Gameplay: The scares have been replaced by action which is somewhat disappointing.

Graphics: Nice but maybe a bit too cartoony for its own good at times.

Sound: Very good but could have benefited from a bit more oomph from the weapons

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

Developer: Monolith | Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment | Release Date: 2009 | Genre: First Person Shooter / Horror | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Just a mention of the name ‘Alma’ is enough to send a shiver up the spines of many gamers. If you are in the dark as to who she is and why she is such a source of creepiness then I recommend you check out the original F.E.A.R. It has since spawned two expansions as well but due to internal politics you don’t have to know anything about them as this sequel completely ignores their existence.

The game opens shortly before the ending of the original game with you taking control of a brand new character, Michael Becket. He is part of a Delta Force squad ordered to take Genevieve Aristide into (a character featured prominently in the original game) into protective custody. Things go a bit pear shaped when an enormous explosion rocks the city (the same blast at the end of the first game) and Becket wakes up in hospital. From there you have to figure out what is going on, what has been done to you and how to stop it. The people behind the whole mess are also eager to cover their tracks and eliminate loose ends so you pretty much end up at the top of everyone’s “to-kill” list.

The biggest question obviously is of course, is it as scary as the first game? It is certainly creepy and very, very disturbing but scary? Well not as much I’m afraid. I have to admit there was more than one occasion where I jumped when something unexpected happened but overall the scares were less than in the first game. This is due to a number of reasons and was sadly the price to pay for some cool new elements.

The first game had groundbreaking graphics but in the meantime games like Farcry 2 and Crysis has arrived to really push the boundaries. F.E.A.R 2 in comparison doesn’t look quite as next-gen but what is on offer is still pretty good. Moving away from the pitch dark warehouses and buildings of the original this game actually has some outdoor areas set in bright daylight. You can expect a trip to a very creepy school as well as some secret underground labs as well. The enemies consist of the usual hostile soldiers and security forces but there are some more paranormal foes to deal with as well. Alma is also every present and you have to engage in some rapid button mashing to get rid of her when she pops up and grabs you. The first time it happened I nearly had a heart attack but the scare factor soon wears off. The locations constantly shift between the real and surreal with a spooky blur effect that heightens the tension and makes even normal scenery appear eerie. The paranormal activity that crops up from time to time is also extremely freaky as is the disturbing hallucinations your character suffers.

F.E.A.R is at its best in the dimly lit hallways as you notice movement just at the edge of your vision and realize you only have one bullet left but such moments have been scaled back in favor of all out action. Your character retains the time slowing ability that the original was famous for but you can now flip over objects and furniture for extra cover. Ad to that weapons like a rocket-launcher, flame thrower and multiple grenades and suddenly a ghost or two rattling lockers and causing lights to flicker is not so scary anymore. You even get to strap into the seat of an enormous armored robot on a few occasions and lay waste to everything in sight with a barrage of bullets and rockets. Loads of fun to be sure but it feels out of place in a game that’s supposed to be fear inducing.

F.E.A.R 2 is out on Xbox360 as well as Playstation 3 which might account for the more action oriented approach. Another carry over from the consoles is the complete lack of manual saving. The game auto-saves at certain checkpoints which is sure to irk some players used to the freedom of saving anywhere. The game isn’t overly difficult and there are multiple difficulty settings which can be altered on the fly so I had no grumbles with that. The “achievements” are also still unlockable but unlike the console versions serve no real purpose. The hand-to-hand combat of the original is back and has been expanded to include some grappling as well, no doubt to please console players using gamepads. With a huge assortment of weaponry available (it’s pick and choose though as you can’t carry all at the same time) you rarely have to resort to such tactics though.

I loved the audio in this game and it makes good use of surround sound to keep you on your toes in the darker sections. There’s also some good voice acting from the whole cast but with quite a bit of mature dialogue thrown in the mix. Even if it wasn’t for that this is definitely not a game for children as there are copious amounts of blood and gore not to mention a very shocking ending.

F.E.A.R 2 is by all accounts a great game but it had maybe a bit too much to live up to. It is an excellent follow up to the first game story wise but I can’t help, but feel that it should have been scarier. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by the terrifically terrifying Deadspace but nevertheless this is a must have game for F.E.A.R fans.

*Review originally published 2009.

System Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows® XP SP2/Vista SP1
  • Processor: P4 2.8GHz (3.2GHz Vista)/Athlon® 64 3000+ (3200+ Vista)
  • Memory: 1GB (1.5GB Vista)
  • Hard Disk Space: 12GB Available Hard Disk Space
  • Video Card: Fully DX9-compliant graphics card with 256MB (SM 2.0b). NVIDIA 6800 or ATI X700
  • DirectX® Version: 9.0c
  • Sound: DX9.0c compliant
  • Internet Connection: Broadband
  • Operating System: Windows® XP SP3/Vista SP1
  • Processor: Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz processor family/Athlon 64 X2 4400+ (required for MP host)
  • Memory: 1.5GB
  • Hard Disk Space: 12GB Available Hard Disk Space
  • Video Card: Fully DX9-compliant graphics card with 512MB (SM 3.0). NVidia® 8600 GTS or ATI® HD 2900 XT
  • DirectX® Version: 9.0c
  • Sound: DX9.0c compliant
  • Internet Connection: Broadband (768kbit/sec upstream required to host 16 players)

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