F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin Review [PS3] - PodcastvsPlayer.com

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Thursday, 12 February 2009

F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin Review [PS3]

Firing up thirty minutes before its predecessor's explosive finale, F.E.A.R. 2 takes the same masterfully-paced mixture of teeth-gritting balls-out action and insidious horror that made the original such a great game in 2006. It's a combination that theoretically shouldn't go together, but hell, it works so damn beautifully. 


Even though it might not have the same impact as it’s predecessor, F.E.A.R. 2 betters it in every way. The most obvious is the colour palette it chooses; leaving the drab grey office block horror behind, F.E.A.R.2 has some beautiful environments, that although are scary as hell, look brilliant, and make the ten-hour campaign a joy to look at (providing  you haven’t hid behind the sofa).
Alma Was Always Getting A's

Gameplay wise, F.E.A.R.’s much approved fighting mechanics return, with the stella A.I. bringing genuinely smart and challenging opponents to the field, from standard military fare to gross scientific abominations, all add to the story and gameplay with their own personality convincing intelligence. 

Soldiers will expertly use environments for cover, knocking things down to hide behind, flanking you out into the open. Once you loose your guard, it’s oh so easy to find you have a gun poking at the back of your head as the A.I works together as a unit.
With a little brainwork, you can figure out how to escape a situation, enemies who aren’t aware of your presence can be taken out swiftly, followed by their team who rush to help.

But it’s the games less human foes that bring the reality home. Horrid creatures that crawl along walls will then just bolt at you, attaching themselves to your torso and scratching at you, which sounds OK in theory, but it ruins the intelligence the rest of the game carries, as you almost instantly know how to tackle another situation with the critters.
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Luckily, F.E.A.R.2 brings lots of meaty weapons for you to dispose of your enemies with, ensuring FPS fans are satisfied. They’re well balanced, so strategy plays a big part in what weapons you choose to optimise you’re limited inventory slots.
Melee combat is not as frequent as the predecessor and the new cover system is clunky at best. But all is forgiven with the introduction of the new Mech sequences, which allow you to enter giant tank like Mech robots, ensuring your trip across the enemy heaving streets is both fun and pro-active. 

But there’s more to F.E.A.R.2 than just all out shooting, the quiet, atmospheric moments are undoubtedly it’s strong suit. It may not be as shocking as F.E.A.R. but it certainly gives you a fright.
Along with the updated graphics engine, your newly overhauled HUD system lets you know when something eerie is coming. As Alma's abilities grow, your HUD reacts to strange interference in increasingly intrusive ways – from minor unsettling interference to balls-out hallucinations – 
the minute your HUD goes, you start to feel unnerved. 
And that’s the key there, the tension is brilliant, for sometimes nothing happens, and just as you settle, some weird ghost pops up, or a train falls through the roof.

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Although the mix of frantic action and tension building atmosphere seem at odds with each other, it works dramatically well, and the omnipresent feeling of Alma or her minions, really takes it’s toll on whether or not you really want to go down that corridor…

Multiplayer ditches the scares and quick reaction time of the campaign, and instead relies on the likes of a standard fare of death match inspired outings and team based games. The inclusion of the Mech suits is the standout mode, Armoured Front being the most fun.
As it is, much like  the single-player game, Project Origin's multiplayer mode is solidly-produced, and fantastically enjoyable but plagued with the feeling of over-familiarity.

F.E.A.R. 2 is a brilliant and polished title, that delivers everything it sets out to promise, but certain problems prevent it being a much better game.
The enemy soldier A.I are brilliant and scarily intelligent, but the games in-human fodder are quite disappointing.
Yes, there’s over familiarity and text book horror locations (hospital, science lab, subway station), but it doesn’t stop F.E.A.R. 2 being enjoyable. And that’s what it is through out - consistently enjoyable and incredibly competent.


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