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First Person Shooters (Games) Games

Review: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin 217

Posted by Soulskill
from the revenge-of-the-punctuation dept.
First-person shooters comprise one of the most well-developed video game genres in existence. The number of high-quality games and franchises practically demands that any new entry must have an interesting concept and a rock-solid engine. Otherwise, it will quickly get buried under an avalanche of award-winning titles. When the original F.E.A.R. came out in 2005, a well-crafted horror theme, the AI, and a few gameplay innovations allowed it to succeed despite direct competition from established franchises, such as Quake 4 and Call of Duty 2, among others. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin draws on the strengths of its predecessor and adds a few improvements. The question that now remains is whether or not the additions make up for the fact that the game's concept is no longer new and unique. Read on for the rest of my thoughts.
  • Title: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
  • Developer: Monolith Productions
  • Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • System: Windows, PS3, Xbox 360
  • Reviewer: Soulskill
  • Score: 7/10

The game starts out with a bang; the first act is extremely well designed. You begin in much the same manner as the first game, given little information and left to wonder what, exactly, is going on. You start in a military transport headed to pick up the president of Armachan Technology Corporation — the typical big, evil corporation developing things they really shouldn't. You're introduced to your squad-mates and then quickly separated from them while being taught some of the gameplay basics. The first serious firefight in the game is located within a room filled with antiques, ceramics, and vases stored in huge glass display cases. It's a brilliant choice in setting — priceless decorations shatter and glass flies everywhere. It's almost theatrical; like being a part of a high-budget action flick. As you shoot your way through the increasingly porous living quarters, hallucinations are induced by Alma, the deranged, telepathic, and telekinetic girl from the first game. The act ends when you witness a nuclear explosion far closer than is healthy, and shortly thereafter struggle to remain conscious as the corporation's doctors do something to you.

It's worth saying again — the first level is incredibly cool. Unfortunately, subsequent levels aren't able to match it. I suppose that's to be expected; after all, it's a horror-themed shooter rather than an epic adventure shooter, but the first level does tend to set expectations. For the next few acts, F.E.A.R. 2 treads mostly on familiar ground. You spend a great deal of time escaping an underground hospital/science facility, and wander your way through broken streets with crumbling buildings. That's not to say it's bad, or even unenjoyable ; the settings are still polished and full of detail, and the plot is continually prodded along in an interesting manner. It's just been done before, and often. If you've played a wide variety of first-person shooters, these levels will probably bring a sense of deja vu . Things pick back up after a while, though. You'll navigate your way through a school that was the site of much violence and destruction, go down into the subway, and even further into a high-tech underground tram. The less you know about any given setting, the more easily it lends itself to creepiness, so the more unique environments in F.E.A.R. 2 keep you focused on the horror aspect much better than the stereotypical science labs.

The visual effects that contribute to the horror theme are integrated quite well into the gameplay. The transition from your normal perception to hallucination is often gradual and seamless. Other times, it's sharp and distinct, using the shock of the immediate change to add an ominous vibe. Sometimes your flashlight will start to flicker in a dark area, and you'll begin to hear your character's panicked breathing and rapid heart rate. I'm on the fence about that; it's used to great effect in a few situations, but since fear in the character isn't mirrored by fear in the player, it also tends to serve as an indicator that something surprising is going to happen — thus negating the surprise. Other horror standards come in to play too. Every so often, Alma will flash into existence somewhere near you, and then disappear. Almost too often... but they find ways of keeping it interesting. The music and sound effects are very well done, laying the foundation for tense scenes, the foreshadowing of a terrible discovery, or giving your fight-or-flight reflexes a little boost.

The art team doesn't hesitate to try and scare you with gore, either. The scene I mentioned earlier where you see portions of a medical procedure being performed on yourself is interspersed with hallucinations of zombie doctors tearing out your insides, with gouts of blood flying in every direction. At one point, you sneak up behind a couple of enemy soldiers trying to decipher a huge section of wall that is covered with random words, symbols, and obscenities — all painted with blood. It really does look like something drawn by a psychotic killer, such that I wondered if they contracted the design from a local loony bin. (And presumably, your character feels no cognitive dissonance from gunning down those soldiers, which itself is kind of surreal.) Bloodstains are used liberally, as are all manner of brutal killings. This is definitely not a game for kids or people who faint at the sight of blood. Even aside from the violence and gore, the other artwork is also well done. The attention to detail is refreshing; rooms and objects are correctly proportioned to a greater extent than most shooters. A malfunctioning X-ray machine with throw a series of disjointed X-ray photographs onto a nearby computer monitor. You'll even see T.P.S. reports scattered about an office desk. Everything looks like a real environment, not just an approximation pasted onto an abstract level design.

One of the signature gameplay elements of F.E.A.R. 2 is "reflex time," an ability carried over from the first game. Press a button and, for a short duration, time slows down, giving you a massive advantage over your opponents in a fight. The intention is to make the player feel like an action hero, able to dodge and aim with supernatural speed, and it works. It also makes most fights very easy; I'd recommend going through the game on Normal if it's your first FPS, and on Hard if you have any significant experience. The weapons are another area where F.E.A.R. 2 sets itself apart. There really aren't any bad weapons. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but you won't spend much time wishing you had a different gun. Even the basic pistol and your melee attack are powerful enough to be interesting. There are definitely some weapons that are more fun, like the missile launcher, the napalm gun, and the laser, but in the end you just wind up switching weapons fairly often as ammo runs out, which does a lot to keep the fights from getting boring.

Another instrument they use to keep the fights interesting is the AI, which, as with the first game, is better than average. Enemies are constantly shifting position, finding new cover, and ducking out from behind an obstacle to shoot at you. It forces you to remain active; camping out behind a barrel will get you killed as enemies advance on you. That's not to say it's without flaws; sometimes a soldier will decide to crawl underneath some hanging metal — a very slow maneuver — while you stand five feet away holding a machine gun. The effectiveness of the AI also varies depending on the type of enemy you fight. There are quite a few different kinds, but you wind up fighting the standard soldiers a disproportionate amount of the time, and they handle the AI better than any others. Other enemies tend to be used for dramatic effect. You'll encounter zombie-like creatures that scuttle quickly on all fours, though they are much less scary when you can slow down time. Another type is almost invisible until they attack hand-to-hand. One of the tougher creatures reanimates dead soldiers, and then finds something to hide behind. They take quite a bit of firepower to kill, so you can expect to deal with the revived grunts repeatedly.

Scattered throughout the game are a few situations where you interact with the environment, and a few QTEs. Both are underutilized to the point where they don't really add anything to the gameplay. The QTEs just involve hammering on a button until you win; it's very simple and doesn't really require any effort or brainpower. Granted, most QTEs are added as a way to keep the player connected to a few mini-cutscenes, but the end result isn't very satisfying. The times when you interact with objects are also very shallow; hold down a single button to move an obstacle out of the way, or to close a valve, or to open a set of elevator doors. The added seconds don't really have any affect on what happens to you, so why take the extra time when you can open a regular door with a single click? I'm going to lump the new part of the cover system in with this as well. You can now flip over tables and crouch behind them to shield yourself from enemy fire. It's neat, but there's really no advantage to doing that instead of hiding behind a crate or the corner of a wall. Existing cover is plentiful.

F.E.A.R. 2 infrequently offers a few different ways of fighting. The vast majority of the time, you're on foot holding a weapon of some sort, but you occasionally get to control a turret or a mech. Turrets are very much an upgrade in firepower. Far more enemies swarm than you could normally handle, but the turret cuts them down with ease. Controlling the turret is very easy; some games put silly restrictions like very slow rotation or poor accuracy, but F.E.A.R. 2 gets it right. It's quite fun, and my only complaint is that there aren't more opportunities to use them. The mechs, or "Powered Armor" units are even more powerful, but still very fun and easy to control. You get a couple of mini-guns and a set of rocket launchers, as well as a thermal imaging mode (think Predator). Aside from those two scenarios, there aren't a lot of variations in gameplay. At one point, you're riding on a speeding tram, but you're just walking around on top of it while enemies come to you. There isn't much scenery, and you wouldn't have much time to watch it anyway. The sequence is still fun, but it doesn't hold a candle to similar situations in, say, Gears of War 2.

The game's multiplayer falls into the same trap as the early single-player campaign. It's good, it's fun, and it's interesting, but there's nothing to set it apart from the multiplayer mode of half a dozen other good, fun, interesting shooters. The horror aspect is, of course, completely gone, and the signature time-slowing ability doesn't work because it'd be impossible to code. It has all the standard FPS modes of play (deathmatch, team deathmatch, CTF), and a few other team games that focus on controlling particular points of the map. Armored Front has five such points aligned in a linear manner such that only one is in conflict at a time. You either push the enemy back through successive points or get pushed back yourself. You can use turrets andmechs as well. As I mentioned earlier, all the weapons are relatively powerful in F.E.A.R. 2, and this becomes quite evident in multiplayer games. Players die very quickly without studious use of cover. It may be the case that all the weapons are tuned to be more powerful than they should be. The fights aren't always decided by the first shot, but it happens often enough to be a problem. The maps themselves are, for the most part, very good. There are perhaps a few too many intersections, and a few to many directions you need to watch for enemies, but otherwise they flow quite nicely.

F.E.A.R. 2 is an entertaining game. It's almost exactly what you'd expect out of a triple-A first-person shooter — no more, no less. If you're looking for a quality game and have no problem putting yourself in a state of mind to be creeped out, it will do the job nicely. If you're looking for a title that will push the boundaries of the genre, you're probably better off waiting for another game. There are some great parts to F.E.A.R. 2, and Monolith deserves a lot of credit for making them work as well as they did. This game had the misfortune of coming out after a wave of other, equally compelling titles. It doesn't fall behind, but it doesn't really stand out, either. The bottom line is that if you enjoy horror and first-person shooters, you'll enjoy this game. If your tastes run elsewhere.. well, there's plenty more to pick from.

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

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  • No More - No Less (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wild_quinine (998562) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @12:14PM (#26902787) Homepage

    It's almost exactly what you'd expect out of a triple-A first-person shooter -- no more, no less.

    File under mediocre. I love my consoles, and I love the vast audience that have been introduced to gaming through their living room charms. But I've hated, hated, hated the way that, somehow, games like Halo have come to be seen as groundbreaking.

    People - we have been here before. We have done it before. I do not wish to do it again, only this time prettier. That is not a game. That is a tech demo.

    I am quite simply astounded that MOST games have not yet equalled the functionality or interactivity of Duke Nukem 3D, let alone surpassed it. The game is THIRTEEN YEARS OLD. It has been out for a number of years approaching half of my life, and we still don't see our reflections in the mirror in most games. And we still don't get blood dribbling down walls in most games. And we still don't get bloody, or slimy footprints, or shrink rays, or jet packs, or aliens sitting on fucking toilets.

    It's been thirteen years and every time a new game does ONE of these things it's hailed as a goddamn miracle.

    I know that, with the switch to true 3D, a lot of these things got harder to do. But it has been THIRTEEN YEARS. We've come far enough to tackle some of them.

    • THANK YOU (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @12:24PM (#26902901)
      "...hated the way that, somehow, games like Halo have come to be seen as groundbreaking."

      I love you. I've been saying this for ages. There is absolutely no single aspect of Halo - absolutely none - that hasn't been implemented better in games that have come out years beforehand. Story, graphics, gameplay (both single player and multiplayer). Halo is 100% average in every regard.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by A. B3ttik (1344591)
        Yes, but Halo gave people a reason to own X-Boxes. I remember those days... everyone bought an X-Box because it had the best specs (better than PS2 or Gamecube) but no one made games for it.

        Suddenly, Halo comes out, it's not only the _only_ FPS at the time for X-Box, it's one of the only GAMES. So everyone who has an X-Box _has_ to play it, and they like it by default.
      • I'm glad I'm not the only one.

        I've noticed that console games in general seem to be held to very different standards from PC games. I only rarely play a supposedly-great console game that would qualify as anything other than mediocre in the PC world.

        Halo's a biggie. Talk about average--hell, maybe even a bit below average. Metroid Prime? Playable. An average-at-best retreading of already-covered ground. Reminded me more of The Gunman Chronicles than anything else, which would be AWESOME if it had come

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wild_quinine (998562)

          I've noticed that console games in general seem to be held to very different standards from PC games. I only rarely play a supposedly-great console game that would qualify as anything other than mediocre in the PC world.

          The ones that are exceptional are the ones that have given us something new. Shadow of the Colossus - wow.

          • I'm very excited to try that one. Actually bought it used a few months ago, but my wife played it, hated it, and sold it back, thinking that I'd told her I'd already played it and hadn't liked it either (I'd been talking about a different game--Metroid Prime or REIV, I can't remember). Grrrr...

            She didn't like Sands of Time, either. Some times I wonder what's wrong with her. Oh well, at least she likes Left 4 Dead :)

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Halo's a biggie. Talk about average--hell, maybe even a bit below average.

          I actually played Halo on PC (being allergic to joypad FPS, although I do play SW:BF2 on my Xbox) and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It had a good setting, epic feel (although some of the later parts DID have a repetitive "this level needs to be bigger so I'll just copy these other parts" feel that everyone else and their mom has already noted) and pretty tolerable voice acting. I haven't exposed myself to the sequels so I can't comment on them. I am thinking about getting an Xbox 360, but I think I'll wait for r

        • by grumbel (592662)

          God of War? Good? It's a boring version of Painkiller with a slightly better theme.

          What has God of War to do with Painkiller? Those are some very different games you try to compare there.

          • God of War [productappeal.com]
            Painkiller [nvnews.net]

            Why, I have no idea how the two could have become linked in my mind as being similar :)

            Though I did remember Painkiller as being a 3rd-person-perspective game, and it appears that it wasn't. Hm, Weird.

            Anyway, they're both games where you slash your way through hordes of generic enemies and fight huge battles against gigantic gods (or demons). in Painkiller you hold down the left mouse button for long periods of time, in GoW you bash X (or whatever the plain "attack" button was) a bunch

        • by Talgrath (1061686)

          While I generally agree with you, comparing God of War and Painkiller is a mistake. Painkiller is a first person shooter and God of War is an action game; exactly how God of War can be a "boring version of Painkiller" I'm not exactly sure. God of War is a third-person action game and a hell of a lot of fun; the storyline isn't really that deep, though it is a lot deeper and less ridiculous than most action games. What makes God of War (and its sequels) fun is the brutality and violence that you can infli

          • I like mindless smash-the-minions games. My friends and I played the hell out of Guantlet: Legends on the N64. Fighting Force? Great. Those old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle arcade games? Wonderful. NARC? Loved it.

            God of War didn't do it for me. I thought for a while that I should give it another try, but a couple of my friends who actually finished the game told me not to bother as it doesn't get any better. I'll probably try one of the sequels eventually.

      • "...hated the way that, somehow, games like Halo have come to be seen as groundbreaking."

        I love you. I've been saying this for ages. There is absolutely no single aspect of Halo - absolutely none - that hasn't been implemented better in games that have come out years beforehand. Story, graphics, gameplay (both single player and multiplayer). Halo is 100% average in every regard.

        It's the Quentin Tarantino effect. Us PC gamers represent a narrow slice of the gamer pie, especially when looking back all those years. Most people who game are doing so on consoles and so most gamers did not see a shooter until Doom was ported to the PSX. They were amazed by Goldeneye on the N64 while I had no idea what the fuss was. I wasn't particularly impressed by Halo but it was a revelation to all the console gamers.

        This is no different than a QT film. He scarfs up all the foreign cinema he can lay

        • by elrous0 (869638) *
          The Beastie Boys ripping a Zepplin off?!?! WTF? I think you managed to simultaneously insult them both with that bizarre statement. Very few bands ripped off Zepplin even back in the day (and Zepplin themselves shamelessly ripped a number of their predecessors, so it would be hard to even tell). The only band I would call a "Led Zepplin ripoff" would be Kingdom Come [wikipedia.org].
      • by rm999 (775449)

        I kind of hate Halo, but there is one aspect of the original game that I consider extremely innovative, and which was ripped off in one of my favorite PC games of all time, Unreal Tournament 2004: actual vehicle integration with a first person shooter (and I don't mean every other level is a "vehicle level"). This innovation should not be ignored, because it entirely changed the design of levels and gameplay.

      • by grumbel (592662)

        You could say the same thing about every FPS that followed MIDI Maze. That still doesn't change the fact that Halo pretty much defined the console FPS as we know it today and that it had plenty of original elements that differed from your average PC FPS. Rechargeable shields, one-button grenades, only two carryable weapons, decent AI, vehicles and stuff were maybe not 100% new, but in days where most FPS followed the Doom formula and gave you a dozen carryable weapons, healthpacks and a grenade that you had

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by shadowrat (1069614)
      So you think every game should take >13 years to develop? Cause that's how long it's taking 3d realms to give us more aliens on toilets.
    • I couldn't agree more. How long has it been since a game like Duke 3D (the multiplayer never gets credit for being damn smart), System Shock 1 and 2 and Deus Ex came out? We may have smarter physics and prettier graphics these days (enemy AI is still debatable), but gameplay mechanics are almost regressive.

      • by Fallingcow (213461) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:58PM (#26905057) Homepage

        From your post, I'm inclined to think we'd like the same sorts of games. Here are a couple that have impressed the hell out of me since Deus Ex (heh, funny, I'm replaying that one for the dozenth or so time):

        STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl

        Within 30 minutes of firing this one up it had convinced me that an FPS-style Fallout game could work--before actually playing Fallout 3 un-convinced me. It's got problems, but it's a damn good game, and unlike anything I've seen. Some of the mods out there make it even better. Morrowind meets Fallout meets the old Delta Force FPS games. Haven't played the sequel yet, so I can't comment on it.

        Max Payne 2

        A film-noir novella in shooter form. Infinitely better than the not-terrible first game. Best played on the highest difficulty setting--trust me, you'll find yourself playing it so differently on that setting that it's like a whole new game. Some complained about its short play time, but in this case I'd call it "quitting while you're ahead" or perhaps "not wearing out your welcome". Damn-near flawless in its execution, IMO. If you don't mind slogging through the (again, not terrible) first game, doing so will improve your understanding of the story (or, more precisely, some of the characters) in the second.

        I think HL2 is pretty great, too. That series, IMO, continues to be the perfect specimen of the pure, single-player FPS.

        Oh, and Portal. Duh.

        • by Cederic (9623)

          I really liked the original Max Payne. Very few games have drawn me into their story so effectively.

          • Oh, I liked it too, but the "dream" levels did get a bit annoying after a while and I was sort of sick of the game play by about 3/4 of the way through (though I wanted to see the rest of the story play out). The level design was also pretty weak in many places, IMO (especially the parking garage, which was the only section of the game that I'd call 100% bad).

            Also, the first one came with a really nice, thick mouse pad--like the kind you'd pay money for, not the usual thin, plastic-covered freebie kind--in

    • by Chyeld (713439)

      So, boiled down to it's essentials, your beef is that despite all the actual advances, evolvements, and improvements games have made in the past 13 years, you can't be truly innovative unless you cut and paste from a schlocky game that's almost a decade an a half old?

      "I agree, this goes for movies too, I never hear anyone murmmer "Rosebud" as they die anymore, and WTF is with all this CGI crap. Claymotion was good enough for Rudolph, it should have been good enough for Shrek. Now that's innovation mother fu

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wild_quinine (998562)

        So, boiled down to it's essentials, your beef is that despite all the actual advances, evolvements, and improvements games have made in the past 13 years, you can't be truly innovative unless you cut and paste from a schlocky game that's almost a decade an a half old?

        You have missed the point so completely that it must either be deliberate, or you're one of the developers of a current gen FPS.

        I don't want the same again, same again, same again. That should be obvious. I don't even want the same, but better! I want NEW. I want FUN. I want the answer to the question 'Can I play with that thing?' to be 'Yes, and HOW!', not "No, it's scenery. No, it's detritus. No, it would have been hard to program'.

        I want to be AMAZED by something other than graphics. I want to be ama

        • by Talgrath (1061686)

          I want to be AMAZED by something other than graphics. I want to be amazed by the implications of a gameplay action, again. I want to be amazed by the details - not just the details of the pixels, but the details of how one action affects another. I want a game to do something I haven't seen before, and better still, didn't even think a game could do.

          Might I suggest, then that you try a puzzle game? Most of the most innovative games today are games like Echochrome; and you won't find any other genre where one action can affect another so clearly. Overall, to me, it just sounds like you're complaining; "games aren't what they used to be when I was younger", that's called nostalgia, you're wearing rose-tinted glasses when looking back at the past.

          Look, I thought it was amazing when the first shooters came out too; but I also play the more modern shooter

        • You need to play Killzone 2. Its not perfect by any means, but it goes a lot further down the 'wow that's a nice side-effect' alley.

          My personal beef is that story-based games no longer include alternate plot arcs. The old Wing Commander series is a great example, several other games bothered too. The problem seems obvious: you have a chunk of the game that each player probably won't see due to their play style, but that's the interesting bit -- when my play style affects the outcome in a real way.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @12:53PM (#26903313)
      In Halo's defense it WAS groundbreaking in some respects. Halo 1 looked and played better than any other FPS that had been released on a console at that time. Halo 2 had one of the best online multiplayer systems ever done on a console. And Halo 3 introduced the "Theater" feature, a feature which was never been seen before (or since) on a console (I still have a bunch of great kills and funny happenings in both single and multiplayer that I treasure, preserved forever and shareable thanks to Theater). So, while not entirely original by a long-shot (PC's did most of this stuff first, it's true), it certainly did break a lot of ground for console gaming.
      • by grumbel (592662)

        And Halo 3 introduced the "Theater" feature,

        Some of us have been recording replays of interesting events back in 1991 in Indianapolis 500 on the Amiga, not exactly a new thing. Going trough the history of gaming shows up tons of cool things have seem to have been lost and forgotten.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mako1138 (837520)

        No one will dispute that Halo brought a lot to the console arena. To a PC gamer, though, it was underwhelming.

    • I am quite simply astounded that MOST games have not yet equalled the functionality or interactivity of Duke Nukem 3D, let alone surpassed it. The game is THIRTEEN YEARS OLD. It has been out for a number of years approaching half of my life, and we still don't see our reflections in the mirror in most games. And we still don't get blood dribbling down walls in most games. And we still don't get bloody, or slimy footprints, or shrink rays, or jet packs, or aliens sitting on fucking toilets.

      You have very weird expectations for video games. I can probably think of about 100 things that I'd rather see in games before I'd want some gory blood effects or the ability to see my reflection.

      It's been thirteen years and every time a new game does ONE of these things it's hailed as a goddamn miracle.

      You've got to be fucking kidding me. The Half-Life series makes Duke Nukem seem like a joke, and it has none of the silly little gimmicks that you mention. Call me crazy, but I want a game thats fun. Shrink rays, jet packs, or aliens sitting on "fucking toilets" do nothing to guarantee that a game will be fun.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Duke Nukem 3D was the last blockbuster game made by hacker who knew their ASM code well. Since then, it became an industry...
    • Bless you sir. I'm glad to see there are other people out there who feel the same way I do.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by capebretonsux (758684)
      While I agree with you on most points you bring up, I have to ask the question of just what groundbreaking innovation can be brought about at this point? Duke Nukem 3d was groundbreaking because it WAS 3d, and one of the few/first(?) at the time that came about. I can't think of another paradigm-shifting change in video games that has come along since. I saw nothing special in Halo, GOW or many of the games which have come along recently. Sure, some were fun and enjoyable, but nothing groundbreaking. I
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      aliens sitting on fucking toilets.

      I think that would be a bit uncomfortable for the alien.

      "Well, Timmy, when a toilet and a urinal really like each other...."

    • F.E.A.R. 2 has some pretty good story and horror effects. They do a good job of drawing you in, its not your typical FPS fare. In fact, the shooting is not the main experience for me when playing F.E.A.R. 2.

  • The question that now remains is whether or not the additions make up for the fact that the game's concept is no longer new and unique. Read on for the rest of my thoughts.

    If the story line holds true and they continued with it; and they didn't butcher the engine, then this game will be great. The concept is still unique to this particular title. Take a look at Half-Life/2/EP1/EP2: They stuck with the story line, made some new additions as they continued with it, and were extreamly sucessful with the franchise. I for one know that the first time I played F.E.A.R., it was by far one of the only games that actually made be jump at different times throughout the gameplay. Can't

    • by lymond01 (314120) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @12:21PM (#26902867)

      True...FEAR had great effects, really put you in the middle of a firefight with dust flying, bullets sparking off metal (debunked by MythBusters I believe...), strong soldier AI. But what separated FEAR from most FPSes was the story. Still creeps me out just thinking about what happened to that girl. Almost makes me want to help her.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Almost makes me want to help her.

        The way I remember it, the weakest part of the storyline of the first game was the way you didn't even get the option to try to help her.

        The background gradually became clear as you progressed through the game - the girl had been imprisoned, impregnated, had her children ripped away from her etc etc. and finally, understandably insane, had managed to strike back at the company that had done this to her. Having found all this out, you track down some guy who had been instrumental in these atrocities and who

    • They butchered the engine. Low resolution textures, DirectX 9, and no dynamic shadows. A lot of what made the original game unique is missing from the sequel, and has been replaced with horror cliches featuring grungy film effects. It's a very console-feeling game and it disappointed me greatly.
    • by billcopc (196330)

      Sadly, I won't bother with Fear 2 because it looks like a half-assed console port. The graphics look worse than the first, I'd say 2004-era polygons and jerky unrefined animation.

      Part of what made the original Fear so great is the level of immersion and rather tastefully done "superhero effects". You really could get into character and feel your nerves tense up as you turned the next corner in slo-mo, hoping to catch your enemy by surprise.

      This new game looks corny, repetitive and just plain cheap, feels

  • by AlmondMan (1163229) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @12:22PM (#26902877)
    I reviewed it and gave it a 6/10. The game is simply not worth more, there's nothing new brought to the table from the first in the series. Indeed they take away from it. The difficulty, even on Hard, is bottom rung due to the excessively fast recharge and duration of the slow-motion ability. In the first game you had to figure out some of the encounters, save the slowmo ability and use it and grenades to great effect. In this version I've hardly ever anything but full HP/armor, full all grenades (cause I never need them) and full ammo for most weapons. The scary effects are ALL OVER the place, it's like the developers thought "Oh, hey, this worked in small amounts, let's use HUGE amounts in the sequel, cause more of a good thing is better, right?". Sometimes it is, granted, but not in this case. It desensitises you to the scares, and the oppressive expectant mood of the first game is gone. What it feels like is a console shooter. The pace is slow and the difficulty suitably low for people to play it with gamepads. Using the mouse and keyboard you just plow right through everything like a breeze. Should you fumble the entire place is riddled with healthpickups and armor anyway. It'll still score 9/10 and so on on major gaming sites no doubt. I wouldn't recommend it unless you're a diehard shooter fan. If you're on a tighter budget, don't bother.
  • I would LOVE another no one lives forever and another SHOGO!!!!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AlmondMan (1163229)
      Speaking of SHOGO, there's a researcher guy in FEAR2 that you meet underneath the Wade Elementary who is wearing a SHOGO 2 tshirt! Silly easteregg, devs teasing, or an early announcement? :D Let's hope for the latter!
    • by Ostracus (1354233)

      "I would LOVE another no one lives forever and another SHOGO!!!!"

      I suspect the mech level was a nod towards SHOGO.

  • by Cathoderoytube (1088737) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @12:28PM (#26902953)
    The problem is Monolith made Blood, which is the greatest first person shooter ever made. So any subsequent first person shooters they make are going to be compared to that. Unfortunately their latest foray into the horror FPS genre doesn't even come close to the genius of Blood.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by A. B3ttik (1344591)
      Except that:

      Blood wasn't scary, it was much more action-oriented. (YOU were the dead guy)

      Nobody really knows about Blood, and as such, nobody is comparing FEAR or FEAR2 to it.

      FEAR came out so much later than Blood that they are incomparable. Yes, Blood was a great fun game, with great environments, weapons, powerups, and cutscenes... but FEAR came out after Halo, and damn near HL2. AI at the time of Blood was limited to "Shoot in the player's direction." Controls were choppy and you could barely us
      • Blood does a better job with the horror genre. Doesn't matter that it's not scary. They pulled off the atmosphere beautifully.
        I mean spooky carnival? C'mon.

        You can compare anything to anything, regardless of the time in which they were released. It just depends entirely what criteria you're judging them on. A good example is the Star Wars movies, and their atrocious prequals.

        The AI in blood worked just fine. It's true it doesn't have any complex AI, but that doesn't detract from the gameplay. It is also tru

    • Cate Archer, man! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by antdude (79039) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:10PM (#26903561) Homepage Journal

      For me, it was No One Lives Forever games (not Contract JACK).

  • Demo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@sp[ ]co.uk ['ad.' in gap]> on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @12:29PM (#26902975) Homepage

    I played the demo on Steam a few weeks ago and from that it seems that they've Deus Ex'd it - that is, butchered it for the benefit of Consoles.

    Unreasonable large install - Check
    Implausably shiny textures, especially on enemies - Check
    Weapon "quick menu" - Check
    Dumbed down HUD - Check

    I blame Halo really - pre-Halo FPS games were generally devloped purely for the PC and benefitted greatly from it. Now, almost every FPS has to be designed for a simultaneous release on PC & console and thus suffers from having to cater to lower resolutions, lack of a keyboard and the rather strange desire to have everything looking shiny.

    • Implausably shiny textures, especially on enemies - Check

      I wouldn't know, my graphics card can't handle it.

      Weapon "quick menu" - Check

      What do you mean? Selecting the weapons via numbers? That's been done in every FPS since Wolfenstein 3D. The scrollwheel select? That's been done since HL1. I'm not sure what you mean here.

      Dumbed down HUD - Check

      I really like this HUD. It looks like a mask and has just the information that you need. It offers health, armor, stamina, and slowmo bars, weapon ammo and total ammo. What more are you looking for?

      I blame Halo really - pre-Halo FPS games were generally devloped purely for the PC and benefitted greatly from it. Now, almost every FPS has to be designed for a simultaneous release on PC & console and thus suffers from having to cater to lower resolutions, lack of a keyboard and the rather strange desire to have everything looking shiny.

      I'm going to receive flak for this, but I also blame Piracy. The console ma

    • by revlayle (964221)
      Dumbed-down hud? It is almost identical in information to the first game... the first game didn't have much of a hud either.

      Shiny textures? Only in slow-mo, I think it was to simmulate "sense enhancement" while in slow mo. Slow mo is pretty implausible already.

      Large install? Like every other recent game with a large amount of art assets for current gen graphics?

      Quick menu? Who cares? Just another interface top access weapons, it does not get in the way at all.



      I mean, yeah this game is no
    • by westlake (615356)

      they've Deus Ex'd it - that is, butchered it for the benefit of Consoles.

      and any PC gamer with a 40 to 70 inch HDTV?

      I'd be quite content with HDMI and 1080p -

      a quiet - cool running - affordable - video card for media play and PC gaming that powers down gracefully for less demanding tasks.

  • I've tried the PC demo and it's not as good as the first parts. They've been messing with the UI in bad ways (some say it's consolitis, it may be true).

  • First-person shooters comprise one of the most well-developed video game genres in existence.

    Fix: First-person shooters comprise one of the most cliche ridden and boring video game genres in existence.

    Well, at least it doesn't take place during World War II.

    I didn't get that far in the advertis^H^H^H^H^H^H review. Does it have a multiplayer mode so I can play along with 13 year old racist homophobes with gamer tags like "BeeyotchMaster69"?

  • To me, the original F.E.A.R. feels like the last "PC" FPS built from the ground up, and THEN ported to consoles. The sales of the PC versions and Console versions reflect this. I wish more developers would hire a "pc gamer" to come in before the game ships in order test out their UI and HUD on multiplatform games. This "pc guy" would tell the developers that alot of pc gamers like being able to select weapons with a number key. Also, he would check all menus and get rid of all messages saying "press start
  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:03PM (#26908147)
    FEAR 1 had slo-mo so TFA is wrong/misinformed, it's not impossible to code.

    Then again it is patently clear the reviewer had not really played the original at all.

    It took on the form that once activated, the other team, or all other players would have lower fire rate, and movement speed. It would feel like being stuck in treacle. Overall physics of the game was slowed down too, so the slo-mo holder would have improved aim.

    The necessary drawback is while you are in possession of slow-mo you'd have a position marker (and glow brightly, and make a booming noise), and everyone would hunt you down in the 20-25 seconds for it to charge up. If you could run long enough to charge it up, you could then deliver serious pwnage for a few seconds. A very interesting gameplay dynamic and it worked well enough in deathmatch.

    It worked best in team deathmatch however, and was a hell of a lot of fun - the slo-mo worked on your whole team. Only one person holding the slo-mo would be marked, so the other players could defend. For a few seconds your team could rampage and completely own (turn gore/particle settings right up for maximum results). This had the necessary effect of forcing players to work together and strategise otherwise you'd have your ass handed to you by a bunch of noobs should they have some form of organized play. It was definatley quite fun, provided your not a set-in-your ways FPS gamer like the reviewer implies he is.

    Otherwise the game was mediocre when played online. Often, overpowered weapons in small maps with too many players and many choke points meant the game was just messy carnage if players treated it like run-and-gun shooters. Although it meant that you could drop your weapon and go chuck norris with unarmed attacks. Fun.

    Mutliplayer made F.E.A.R. worthwhile because the SP, while good, didn't have much replay value. If F.E.A.R 2 doesn't have slo-mo in multiplayer I'm not going to buy it, because this really does sound like more of the same with a graphics upgrade and a console port. F.E.A.R. Combat is a free download and will just do fine for now.

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