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F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin Review
publisher: Warner Bros. Entertainment
PIV 2800, 1GB RAM, 12GB HDD, 256MB video card
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Feb 10, 09 (released)
|» All About F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin on ActionTrip|
Monolith Productions is a developer we've come to respect and admire over the years. With games like N.O.L.F. and F.E.A.R. under their belt, I guess you could say they need no introduction. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin marks the developer's latest entry in the shooter genre. It's a title that's been in production for about two years and one that generated more than enough hype, as I'm sure most of you are aware of.
The story continues where the first F.E.A.R. ended. Players are cast into the role of a Delta Force operative named Michael Beckett. Your team is sent to Armacham HQ and tasked with extracting company president Genevieve Aristide. Things don't exactly go according to plan. Apart from experiencing bizarre and unexplained hallucinations, Becket must survive against a highly trained black ops team dispatched by Armacham's Board of Directors. Before you know it, the city is struck by a devastating nuclear explosion. However, Becket and a few members of the team manage to survive the blast. Struggling to stay alive and regroup with other members of your team, you continue to fight your way through constant enemy attacks. Our hero is also troubled by a horrifying presence - someone known as Alma.
Don't know how many of you actually played the original, but Alma is creepier than ever. Her new grown-up form looks disturbing and spine-tingling to say the least. In short, those who want to play this game hoping to be scared out of their boots need not worry. This game provides a satisfying horror experience in the same way F.E.A.R. did. Monolith once again proved it has a knack for creating a bone-chilling atmosphere. Certain scenes were directed flawlessly. During my first venture into eerie classrooms and corridors of Wade Elementary School, I've been frightened on more than one occasion.
Gameplay wise, one of the most notable improvements in F.E.A.R. 2 is the level design. The developers made an effort to vary the environments as much as possible. Mind you, there are still more than enough dark, claustrophobic corridors and creepy hallways to go through; except this time, you can also expect a greater amount of outdoor areas. This provides a welcomed change from all the confined spaces of dark office buildings and abandoned infirmaries we've seen many times before. The addition of the Elite Powered Armor is another commendable breath of fresh air. The satisfaction one gets from annihilating a host of soldiers by launching several missiles simultaneously should make any shooter fan hungry for more and more action.
The bad news is that although Monolith improved many aspects of the game, it doesn't quite feel like they've really pushed things forward. There's still a lot they could've done. For instance, the dynamic cover mechanics (tipping over chairs, tables, etc.), which enemies use quite often, seem nearly pointless from the player's perspective. I've completed the entire single-player campaign without using this. In all honesty, it's almost unnecessary since there's enough static cover to choose from - not to mention, the slow-mo shooting, which allows you to take out targets with ease. Don't misunderstand. The game is still a challenge, particularly when you consider the AI's unpredictable movement, it's resilience and persistence.
When it comes to performance, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is one of the most satisfying PC games we've played in a long time. Granted, judging from a few e-mails we've received, as well as numerous reports across several forums, the game can treat you to a few minor sound bugs and an occasional visual glitch. None of this happened during our time with the game. What really pleased us was finding that F.E.A.R. 2 actually works on modest rigs, so I'm sure many of you will regard that as an advantage. Visually there isn't enough to compete with games like Crysis or Gears of War. Regardless, each scene was skillfully created to guarantee the right kind of atmosphere you'd hope to experience in a solid horror game. Also, you don't need to worry about the eye-candy. If nothing else, you're bound to enjoy the kick-ass explosions, excellent character animation, detailed environments and over-the-top gore.
Audio design is a work of art. Every sound effect is going to send shivers down your spine, from Alma's ghostly voice, to the strange screams echoing through murky corridors. The music goes very well with the game's horror-style ambience and it corresponds beautifully with the intense shootouts.
8.2 Very Good
Alma still gives me the creeps, chilling ambiance indeed, kick-ass sound effects and music, well-polished altogether, well-balanced AI, the EPA rocks;
Other than a few new elements it's not much of an improvement over F.E.A.R., multiplayer still lacks punch.