F.E.A.R. 2 was met with a mixed response – some gamers thought it combined strong core gameplay with high octane FPS action while others felt it was just riding on the coat tails of the original game which was a huge seller when it was released. Me? I thought it was entertaining enough, even if it didn’t reinvent the wheel.
Let’s be honest F.E.A.R. was never meant to be an original take on first person shooters, almost everything that you could class as being overused and worn out was included in F.E.A.R. 2. You had the usual array of weaponry, you had the stereotypical bad guy goons with a limited repertoire and you had zillions of corridors and box shaped rooms – this was certainly not going to be challenging FarCry for enthralling outdoor environments. All of this I didn’t mind however as I am a bit of a sucker for a solid first person shooter with loads of things to erm shoot. The only issue I have with today’s review is do we really need an expansion pack for a game which is already basically a copy of the original?
The Reborn DLC, available on the console store and via Steam for the PC is basically a few more hours of running through corridors while slaughtering more faceless bad guys. It is a compressed F.E.A.R. experience which will win no new followers to the franchise.
The twist this time is that you play as a soldier in one of the games numerous armed forces. After the annihilation of the city of Auburn you have been sent down in a Mech Warrior unit from an orbital drop with the intention of causing as much destruction as possible. You crash land on the top of a skyscraper and make your way through partially built constructions while taking out any enemy in your path.
If you make your way through the carnage of the first level then you meet up with your allies (who all look identical) and then things take a turn for the worse. You are telepathically contacted by an unknown force who bends your mind to his desires. Thankfully he is a bloodthirsty mind controller and this gives you the excuse to kill and maim anyone you meet. Your mission objectives are planted in your head by simple commands such as “OBEY” and then the sh*t hits the fan as everyone is out to get you, even your own faceless cloned army allies. You then head in the direction of a crater in the middle of the town.
If all this seems rather bizarre so far, well it is – quite often I couldn’t follow what was going on, which in fairness isn’t that important as you simply just shoot anything on the screen that moves and if you fancy it, even things that don’t move.
Environmentally the game is more interesting than before because you see a plethor of destroyed buildings, sniper laden streets and manky sewers. One of the highlights of the game is getting inside a semi destroyed building which is lying on its side because your orientation is completely thrown off guard as you try to work out your bearings. Moving through the internal office cubes is a mind bending experience and many times you will lose the direction you should be heading in.
Reborn to be fair is slightly more creative than before and there are times the AI shines through with enemies flanking and tracking you to get the quick kill while you ascertain how to proceed further into the level.
The enemy unfortunately are just the same as before with a few newly designed character models thrown into the mix. The Invisible bounding men are here, the mechanical bot which can’t use the stairs and the freaky puppeteer warriors all make an appearance and the feeling of deja vu is high.
It wouldn’t be F.E.A.R. without hideous horror child Alma and just like all the other games, she makes more than one appearance in this storyline. The difference is that you aren’t her primary focus as she is more interested in the main character from F.E.A.R. 2 – this expansion is one of those back to the future moments as it is intended to be a concurrent adventure as the pre-expansion pack unfolded.
The game is selling on STEAM for around $10 (or £5.99 to our UK’ers) and for around 800 points on the Microsoft store. There is really nothing new to report in regards to graphics or sound, it is all just the same as before. The engine while a little dated is still quite attractive and more than adequate enough to deliver the goods, it is just unfortunate that the developers didn’t try and push the envelope a little more with this expansion pack. Certainly it is a nice idea to be playing the F.E.A.R. 2 game from another perspective, but a faceless and weak willed ‘run of the mill’ soldier is not really going to set the world alight.
F.E.A.R. 2 Reborn is a decent purchase if you were a fan of the original sequel (erm) but it certainly will not win over F.E.A.R. haters and nothing is really that original to cause a huge interest in the franchise. It is a solid shooter, it looks pretty, runs well and will keep people occupied for a few hours. It is rather shortlived but its a fun enough ride for as long as it lasts.
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