Genre: First Person Shooter Developer: Monolith Productions Publisher: Warner Brothers Classification: MA15+ Release Date: 5th Feb 2009 Platforms:XBOX360
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The Good bits
Decent special effects.
Gore porn enthusiasts are catered for.
Slow-mo or Bullet Time or whatever you want to call it is still cool.
The Bad stuff
Not very scary.
Graphics are dated.
Just a really silly story.
Things get a little tense at the start of F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin- when you're still just getting back into the swing of the F.E.A.R. formula - because the visual effects and the fast-paced action keeps your heart racing. Eventually though the scares develop a pattern - half naked monster dude attacks you in a cramped corridor, you tap the Y button (slow-mo) and blast him with a shotgun - and the game reverts back to being any other shooter.
The gore porn style of spraying everything in a room with shiny red appears to take precedence over "real" horror, however fans of the previous title and its subsequent expansions will know exactly what they're getting themselves into. The gore effects are possibly the game's strongest point, which means if you're a fan of that style of horror you'll probably get more out of FEAR 2 than I did.
Torrents of blood combined with some fantastic ragdoll and disintegration effects definitely imply that Monolith know their target audience pretty well, but the use of low-res textures on a lot of weapons and environment details gives me the sense that they got a little lazy about the execution. The graphics overall - beyond the bullet time shenanigans and exploding dead people - leave quite a bit to be desired.
The story develops the sense of fear you'd expect from an action horror game, but not to the level you'd expect. Monolith Productions' current M.O. seems to be taking a fairly graphic first person shooter, throwing in some supernatural elements and running with it until the entire thing is silly beyond reason. FEAR 2 is no exception, beginning with a mission to rescue a scientist which eventually turns into a fight for survival against a psychic teenager before it culminates in a final fight which is - without spoiling anything - just ridiculous.
The gameplay isn't very solid either. The movement is sluggish; at first it's an immersive feeling, as you stumble around hospital corridors bumping into desks, but before long the corridors narrow (to increase the claustrophobic effect) and you find yourself getting stuck on things, unable to pass. Instead of sticking to walls and peering around corners you'll give both walls and corners a wide berth lest you get stuck and killed. Eventually the game opens up and this problem subsides, but the memory remains.
Movement doesn't encompass all gameplay however - just a large part. The guns are satisfying thanks to the bullet time and explosive gore detail combo - you can only hold four guns at once but if you're like me you'll keep an assault rifle/shotgun combo on hand at all times - the other slots left open for the game's quirkier weapons like the napalm launcher and plasma cannon thing. FEAR 2 is also the second game this year to throw me into mechanised walkers - by the time you get into one you know the survival horror theme has truly left the building. Nevertheless they're fun to pilot - almost guaranteed when you're talking about a Mech - despite eliminating all tension while you stomp around in a giant robot.
The graphics in FEAR 2 are possibly the game's weakest point - I remember installing F.E.A.R. onto my brand new PC back in 2005 and being blown away by the graphics. The bullet time effects were phenomenal and the destruction of everything was fantastic. FEAR 2 is using the same engine as FEAR however, and unlike some engines the Lithtech Jupiter engine has not stood the test of time. The textures are low-res, the lighting is embarrassing and the entire game looks dated. Still, like I mentioned earlier the special effects are still quite mesmerising - although not enough to forgive the other issues.
Online the game is once again a step back into 2005 and playing F.E.A.R. online -
the modes are the same standard series of Deathmatch variants with the new FEAR 2 weapons. Finding a game is easy enough for now, but with the overall quality of the game being so average - the movement issues carry across to MP - it's hard to see the online numbers staying high.
I can't help but feel that this game might have been better served with a title like A. V.A.G.U.E. S.E.N.S.E. O.F. U.N.E.A.S.E.: Project Origin instead of its current moniker - F.E.A.R. 2 just isn't scary. The graphics are dated and the gameplay approaches frustrating with gusto - it's not a bad game, it just isn't very good. The more I played it the less I wanted to as the story got sillier and the horror theme phased in and out. I wouldn't recommend F.E.A.R. 2 to anyone except the ultra hardcore fans of Monolith Productions - even then you'd be better off playing Condemned 2.
hey guy this reveiw was spot on and I play the PC version. The game was being pushed as fear but with 'open areas' and more scares, but I was disappointed that the 'open areas' were no larger than Perseus's (actually more like wide corridors). Like the reviewer said the tension was never allowed to build, I also stuck to walls and the mech while fun was just to powerfull and removed a sense of challenge even against other mechs, also the monorail never ran out it waited for the player to hit a switch before unleashing a new wave of enemies or to arrive at its destination (I let it run after the first wave just for laughs and it ran for ten minutes before I stopped it out of boredom) so boo to the Dev team great that they kept the storie and added a layer but even that was thin, boo to the Art dept not enough effort put in, the code was buggy and it wasnt fear 2 more like perseus 1.5.