Review: F.E.A.R. 2
More generic FPS bollocks with some girl in it freaking you out occasionally.
Sequel to the 2005 PC game (later converted to Xbox 360 and PS3) F.E.A.R: First Encounter Assault Recon (I wonder which part they came up with firstâ€¦), F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin (FEAR 2 from here on) continues straight on from the very end of the original FEAR, but from a new character’s perspective. The original FEAR was very enjoyable with excellent fire fights, even if it wasn’t scary in the slightest, so can FEAR 2 take that and build upon it?
You play as Michael Becket, a member of Delta Force who, luckily, has similar abilities to Point Man in the original. Your team has been sent in to bring Genevieve Aristide into protective custody just before the original FEAR ends, and as is always the case things don’t go as planned.
As mentioned all the abilities are back from the original game except you can no longer lean left and right. You still have a range of powerful melee attacks incase your opponents get too close and the ability to use slo-mo for a limited time. You can now only carry 3 medpacks at a time though, and the controls have taken a Call of Duty turn, with the the left trigger pulling up the iron sights for more accurate aiming, the ability to ‘cook’ grenades and pushing in the left stick makes your character sprint for a short while. Other than a few Mech sections the game plays exactly as you’d expect if you’ve played the first.
There is one other feature that wasn’t in the first, but it didn’t affect the way I played the game at all. You can now knock over tables, pot plants, or slide desks and other objects into new positions in order to make cover on the fly. Nice idea but due to the lack of an actual cover system where you stick to objects I found it easier just to hide around a corner or just kill whoever is attacking me straight away rather than spend those few seconds knocking something over which wouldn’t even fully protect me. It’s quite impressive to see the enemies doing it, but it leaves them vulnerable as well and assuming you’re not fighting anyone else they’ll be dead before they can duck behind it.
Speaking of which, the AI in this can vary in effectiveness. Sometimes the enemies will be incredibly hard to hit as they hide behind pillars or desks only popping out to take a few shots at you and unless you cook a grenade before throwing it they aren’t going to be that effective as the enemies scatter. Then at other times they’ll happily just run towards you and if they’re not dead before they reach you a quick press of the B button kills them instantly with a melee attack. It’s a shame as the original won awards for its AI and here it just doesn’t seem as impressive.
As I mentioned in the opening FEAR lacked genuine scares, which with a name like FEAR is a real oversight, and they’ve not remedied the situation for the sequel. Unlike Condemned (also made by Monolith) which really shit me up for the first few levels this struggles to even make you jump. Your character is so badass that you have no reason to feel that tense at any moment, you can carry upto four weapons plus grenades and add onto that the slo-mo and there is little the game can throw at you to truly scare you.
F.E.A.R 2 is a mixed bag, it’s a more competent shooter than its predecessor with less time spent meandering through dull hallways and more time spent beating down fast, lethal enemies. The single player game is shorter, but much better paced than the original and you won’t get that odd feeling of dÃ©jÃ vu anymore, that F.E.A.R always had, as you crept though various offices, feeling like you had seen it all before.
Having said that, there are still a lot of improvements to make. You can knock over tables and drink machines to provide yourself cover, but since the game has no real cover system to speak of, you’re just ducking down in front of a tiny piece of scenery, praying the grunts on the other side won’t just shoot you in the head, like you’ve done to them on so many occasions.
The introduction of mechs is a nice touch, and brings a big element of mindless destruction to the game, but the fights you’re involved in, don’t feel like anything you couldn’t have handled without it, and leaves you feeling a tad underwhelmed
F.E.A.R isn’t as frightening or atmospheric as Dead Space which kept your mind wandering with loud noises all around you. What F.E.A.R 2 does differently here is keep you on your toes by flinging fast, creepy enemies at you that will kick your ass if you let your guard down for even a second, which can be pretty intense at times, but isn’t very frightening.
The multiplayer is average and feels a bit CoD-like, it’s fun for ten minutes or so, but with a handful of games dominating the 360’s online domain, you have to wonder if time would have been better spent making the main story more memorable.
Definitely better than the original, but still needs a lot of work to leave a lasting impression.Secondary Score: 6/10
On a similar note, this game is very easy. I played through on Normal and I was running past medpacks as I couldn’t carry them because I hadn’t used the ones I already had. Chris played through on Hard and he rarely had trouble either. It helps to keep the flow of the game going, which is greatly improved over the original, but I’m not a person who’s afraid of a challenge, and FEAR 2 didn’t give me any. Not that I didn’t die, there were just never any moments where I was really struggling and had to improve as a player, and that was with me barely touching the slo-mo.
As far as multiplayer goes, it’s enjoyable, but unlike COD4 or Halo 3, FEAR 2 isn’t going to be remembered for it’s Deathmatching. There’s the usual range of match types, from regular and Team Deathmatch to a Capture the Flag type and Capture the points type as well as others. There is no slow-mo in multiplayer, although the Mechs from the single player make an appearance in certain game modes. It’s a shame as if slo-mo was implemented well it could have made FEAR 2 really stand out.
One addition that is interesting though is the loadout feature, which assigns the player a certain amount of points with which to select certain armour and weapon setups. You can have a light armour which will make you more vulnerable but will allow you to carry the better weapons, grenades or even medpacks, or the heavier armour which will allow you to take more damage but will limit you to the less effective weapons. It’s an excellent feature and an interesting take on the perk system which allows you to customise your loadout to compliment your playing style.
I hope I don’t sound too harsh on FEAR 2 as it’s a very enjoyable experience that keeps you playing and the gunplay is as fun as in the first. The multiplayer is solid and the loadout selection has you considering your options, but it does nothing special, and that’s the biggest negative about FEAR 2. It does nothing badly, but neither does it do anything fantastic. If you’re a fan of the first consider picking this up on the cheap later on, for everyone else try the original and see how you feel after that.