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22 Reviews

F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin

Review: M.I.L.D.L.Y U.N.N.E.R.V.I.N.G

Are you looking forward to when the missus goes to bed? So you can turn out the lights and sit in your pants, on your own in a dark room ready to be scared silly by F.E.A.R. 2? If you are, you're in for a bit of a letdown. We've been spooked more by a kitten.

To be honest they should have called it M.I.L.D.L.Y U.N.N.E.R.V.I.N.G 2 because it's just not scary. It tries to position itself as a horror game but it's a crime to put this in the same category as pant-fillers like Dead Space or Siren.

Dive into F.E.A.R. 2 expecting to be freaked out and you'll be sorely disappointed. Don't expect much of a storyline either.

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Did we understand, care for or even remember what happened in F.E.A.R 2? Not really, but we were left with a taste of psychic powers, some ghosts, and a nuclear bomb that wipes out an entire city in our mouths. Remember Alma? The demonic-looking woman/girl. She again appears here and there to trip you out but it never makes you feel uncomfortable.

So it's not a horror game, or a captivating narrative experience. But Project Origin IS worth playing. Because, despite all the exterior horror-themed guff that marketing people have attached to it, F.E.A.R. 2 is a bloody satisfying FPS.

For what it lacks in intrigue and scares, it makes up for in raw, shooting joy. It's like it achieves what EA's Black did - fun with guns. When you pull the trigger, your speakers let out an earthy rumble and your enemies get ruined. We like that.

The sound and accuracy of the guns, the ridiculously excessive gushing blood and the physics behind the enemies' reactions to your bullets combine with the game's slow-mo mechanic to form FUN. If someone gets too close when you're holding a shotgun, one blast transforms them into bloody chunks.

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There's an emphasis on using grenades too. The normal Frag grenade is always a favourite, but incinerator grenades torch everyone around, making enemies prance about as the flames burn through flesh. Not a pretty way to go.

Stun grenades explode into bolts of electricity that paralyse - not so needed against normal drones, but when the game starts throwing giant mechs with ridiculously large gun turrets at you, a stun grenade (or five) is a godsend.

Fours hours in and you'll still be shouting "EAT IT" out of sheer satisfaction as one of your slow-mo shotgun blasts just obliterates an enemy soldier.

The environments have a say too. You can flip tables and vending machines to create cover, and each room is full of objects that go flying when grenades go bang.

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Now, the first game was a pretty satisfying shooter in that sense too, but it was hindered by an almost relentlessly repetitive grey office-block setting. This sequel is far more varied in its choice of environments.

There are sinister-looking laboratories, a wrecked, post nuclear city environment with ashes raining from the sky and char-grilled civilians littering the streets, futuristic scientific installations with strange machinery - and that's just the opening few levels.

What's great about F.E.A.R. 2, as with the original, is that the enemy AI is able to make use of the environment as effectively as you do.

You'll often see them moving scenery about themselves, ducking into cover and spreading out as they work in co-operation with each other.

It's not long either until you encounter the game's more threatening foes. There's this little goblin-like thing that scurries along walls with such agility and ferocity that it's tough to shoot without slow-mo powers. And there are deadlier beasties later - we won't ruin it for you.

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