Xbox 360 Review: F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin

February 23, 2009 by  

To quote Lily Allen’s Number 1 song “I’m being taken over by the F.E.A.R…”

The first F.E.A.R was terrifying; it made you feel claustrophobic in your own room. You kept looking over your shoulder and always anticipated something creepy to happen. But it did have its fair share of problems like enemies and locations being too similar. Monolith returns with a true sequel to the first game, although with a different team and a new main character that is being pursued by Alma. Can the sequel improve over the original or will it disappoint fans who have been waiting a long time for the next instalment?
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Project Origin takes place just before the end of the original game and you take over the character known as Becket. The story will make obviously make more sense to those who played the original F.E.A.R. but it isn’t essential to playing the game, although veterans will recognise many of the same things like Slow-Mo and the paranormal moments of the game.

As far as an FPS goes, the game does suffer from many clichés of the genre, and many will criticize it for that. But it still has a charm to it that is hard to deny, it has the same scare factor that the original had and is un-deniably scary at times. Sure, it’s not original…but it still keeps you on your toes, which many FPS’ fail to deliver now.

The game handles almost identically to the original, yet it includes new things like flipping over objects to make cover and new parts of the game in an armored power suit, which changes the gameplay to an almost arcade-style blaster. If you thought you were outnumbered before you get in, then is the chance for revenge…think that enemy is safe hiding behind that pillar? Think again, missile time! The controls for the power suit are fairly simple, although it does feel a little misplaced when compared with the dark, atmospheric moments that the game offers. It’s a nice addition, but it might have worked better in another game instead of a horror FPS.
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Alma is back and creepier than ever. I remember seeing her in the first level after trying to backtrack and she kept following me till a certain point, I would keep turning around and there she was. She didn’t do anything and she couldn’t die, but it was still quite eerie to see that. Then there are the moments where the screen goes all funny and weird things happen like enemies jumping at you from nowhere and so on. It adds to the tension which Project Origin offers a lot of, it’s impossible to deny the atmosphere that the game creates and Monolith should be proud that they can still deliver that level of fear.

The campaign is quite short, but it felt about the right length to me. For it to be longer would have been disappointing as they would have had to drag the story out more, which would have hurt it overall. I’m not saying that F.E.A.R. 2 has the most original plot, but it’s best to keep it as fresh as possible. It’s hard to tell if the series will continue, but I for one hope that it does. Perhaps just one more game to tie up any loose ends and bring it all to a conclusion would be nice, so let’s wait and see.
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Some might say that F.E.A.R. 2 is a disappointment, but I disagree. Sure it’s not innovative or original, but it’s still a fun game to play from start to finish. The thing that lets it down for me is multiplayer, but then again the original game’s multiplayer wasn’t that great either. It seems like an after-thought with deathmatch and power armor battles, sadly there’s a lot of emphasis on it in terms of achievements, so you may have to grin and bear it if you are an achievement-whore.

The visuals are pretty impressive, but it does look a little generic at times. Lighting and visual effects look good as do all the blood and gore, but it’s nothing groundbreaking. Voice-acting is fairly good, but the game’s audio is where it shines with some great tunes to add some great tension to the claustrophobic nature of the game. Also, Halo fans might recognise the voice of Cortana in the squad…

The Verdict

F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin is a great sequel to the original game, yet it feels like the game hasn’t evolved that much…which is a shame. What the game offers though is a good campaign full of scares and plenty of action that any FPS fan will enjoy.

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