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F.E.A.R. 2 : Project Origin (PC)

F.E.A.R. 2 : Project Origin (PC)

Regular readers of Gamingheaven will be aware of our F.E.A.R. 2 preview recently and today we have a final release version of the game for our review. F.E.A.R. 2 is a new experience yet features, once again, Alma, the evil childlike dealer of death.

Developer Monolith created F.E.A.R. in 2005 and it presented a great combination of a horror setting with some brilliant gun fights and frenetic online action which appealed to many PC gamers. The horror elements are very reminiscent of movie The Ring and there was more than one occasion when I jumped from my chair during a cutscene or particularly unsettling game section. You played as the mysterious lead character and had to deal with waif child Alma, a rogue commander and an army of clone soldiers. The game made a swift journey to a brilliant ending which caught many people by surprise and with F.E.A.R. 2 the plot is radically different.

F.E.A.R. 2 picks up shortly before the prequel ends and it offers a different viewpoint as you play as the member of another military squad tasked with an apparent routine mission – taking a corporate executive into custody. Your character is called Michael Becket and you are planted in a situation against a force of mysterious enemies.

This time around many of the supernatural questions are answered and a key moment inside a tram is spent in getting the gamer up to speed on events which before might have been rather confusing. It is clear the development team decided to tighten up the focus on making a little more sense. The storyline is actually one of the games strong points and it has elements of a horror movie combined with almost mythical overtones which give it a rather dramatic appeal. I was addicted with the progression and I can honestly say that not many games recently grabbed my interest in the same manner.

It is also paced well to keep the player on their toes, there are chaotic firefights interspersed with slower, dramatic sequences. Your character has the ability to initiate a bullet time burst of superfast reflexes to take out the enemy. After some practice and experience it is possible to enter almost every fight with just enough in reserve to deal with combat in slow motion. To many this will make the combat more approachable, however it is not necessary to be successful – the option to use it is firmly in the individuals hands.

The environment is used frequently for protection however it pales somewhat in comparison to the Gears Of Wars mechanic as you can not hug the cover to get the maximum effect. Equally so, the interactive environmental touches such as throwing a table to the floor is often useless as you can just spend that time nailing the bad guys. Thankfully there are health packs and armor sprinkled throughout the levels, so running low on health or ammo is rarely a cause for concern.

So how does the game feel compared to the original? Well clearly when compared to the original, the appearances of Alma arent so shocking as they are somewhat expected, but this is always going to be the case with a followup game in this genre. I will never forget the first time she suddenly appeared and my heart almost jumped into my mouth. That is going to be a moment I remember for the rest of my gaming life.

To be subjective however, these are complaints which are a little unfair as there are moments when your heart will still pound. The specimen enemies for instance are very unsettling as they move at lightning speeds across the walls with their multiple legs. The spectral enemies also deserve special mention as their graphical touches are startling to see in the darkness.

Monolith have clearly listened to feedback as F.E.A.R. 2 is most certainly faster paced with much less repetitive design throughout. This time around there is greater variety in the level design and you even get the chance to pilot a few vehicles as well as mount turrets for stationary mass carnage. The gore levels are high and some of the environment is also destructible which adds a nice twist to the proceedings.

There is also a greater variety of enemy: the clones are still around as well as the super ninjas but there are now also mercenaries and a huge plethora of supernatural creatures to deal with. The necromancer Remnant is a particular favourite as he can bring back corpses to reenter the fray – this brings with it a wonderful style of play as you have to try and get past the reanimated corpses to take out the leader.

The AI is quite impressive in F.E.A.R. 2 and is a definite improvement – the soldiers move quickly to avoid fire and attempt to flank you when the environment allows it. They also duck for cover and jump between positions knocking over objects to create temporary cover when needed.

The multiplayer has been competently handled however it brings nothing really new to the table for fanatics wanting something fresh. That said, old favourites such as deathmatch and capture point are fun to play with a group of online players. 16 player Armored front mode for instance is a blast and features two suits of power armor. It has also been well play tested as it is balanced and provides a good platform for competitive matches. I am not sure there is enough diversity and originality however to perhaps build a strong online community, especially with such strong opposition lately.

Although I am focusing on the PC version today, I have completed the game on both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 and they compare well. There arent any real differences between the next gen machines and they do a good job of delivering a high octane and exciting gaming experience. The PC version is obviously the best with the right hardware at hand. Anyone with a modern day gaming system and mid level graphics card will be able to max this out at high resolution. The PC version is sharper, has a higher level of texture detail and has improved lighting effects, it is also more intuitive to play and is the version to own if you are fortunate enough to be in possession of a relatively powerful gaming machine. The horror atmosphere is better portrayed with the enhanced environmental detail and it is one of those titles which really benefits from the small touches within the setting.

The audio side of the game is impressive and the ambient sounds really enhance the mood and atmosphere. I noticed quite a lot going on with my high end 7:1 creative speakers and you can really pinpoint various locations in the spacial environment by being the center-point in the soundfield. Playing at night in a dark room is how to get the most from the experience!

F.E.A.R. 2 is a great production from Monolith and it is a strong followup to the well received original. It is a strong shooter with more variety in the design and although it wont have the same impact the original had it is a worthy follow up. The game succeeds at unsettling the player while bombarding them with various creatures and soldiers with different AI algorithms. The mysterious little girl once again steals the show, and everytime she appears I still get a chill down my spine. Highly recommended.


A great combination of shooting and horror which will appeal to many older gamers.
Impressive but certainly not cutting edge. The benefits of this will be that more people can play it with everything maxed.
Amazing ambient effects which really enhance the atmosphere.
I am not sure the multiplayer is quite as good as the original, but perhaps time has made me a little more jaded. Still, it is solid.

Highly recommended and a good followup to the classic original.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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