F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin – Warner Bros. Interactive – Monolith – PC/Xbox 360/PS3
HCF takes a look at the second game in the F.E.A.R. series, Project Origin. The supernatural suspense continues as Alma, the creepy ghost child from the first game, is back, and angrier than ever. The game picks up with the protagonist having a hallucination, walking through a devastated city, haunted by apparitions. Suddenly coming to, you find you are Beckett, part of a Delta Force squad, on the way to take Genevieve Aristide into protective custody. Aristide is linked with the events of the previous game (of which the latter part takes place in conjunction with the beginning of this one) and the Armacham Technology Corporation behind it all wants her dead. Unfortunately the corporation’s mercenaries have stormed the apartment block she lives in. Working your way through, you are still haunted by apparitions of the ghostly Alma, and start to hallucinate again with split second images of the barren, destroyed city, as well as a now more grown up looking Alma. Once Aristide has been accounted for, things take a turn for the worst.Almasets off a massive nuclear explosion, devastating the city and starting off the chain of events that lead you through her gory, supernatural world. As well as dealing with the mercenaries out to stop you and Aristide.
Taking a leaf out of Resident Evil’s book, dossiers and files are left around for you to find, filling in the gaps of the plot as well as giving you a hint of what you may encounter along the way and how to overcome certain adversaries. These come in quite handy, because of what little plot information there is, it is not easily parted with during the cut scenes.
One thing is apparent when starting this game. It is many times better than the original. The look, the feel and sound all surpass F.E.A.R. from the outset, with a much more intuitive control system as well. A lot of the features remain, such as the slow-motion combat and the health pack system, although this time round you are limited to carrying 3 health packs rather than 10. Also, you have the torch again, only this time it is not limited to how long you can use it.
The weapons are more varied as well, with more than one type of each weapon at your disposal, as well as an arsenal of grenades and mines. You will find each type of grenade will work better on different types of enemy. The enemies themselves come in more of a variety this time, breaking up a lot of the monotony that marred the first game. The mercenaries return, trying to stop you, but also in your way is a genetically enhanced army of ‘super soldiers’. Though Captain America they aren’t, as they take as much fire power to put down as the other soldiers. There are also some creepy, fast, half mutant type creatures trying to make things harder. As well as those, there are certain parts of the game where Alma is on the rampage with what could only be described as an army of spectres. They can hurt you, but trying to do damage to them is futile and a waste of ammo. The AI is still as good as the first game, meaning you can’t sit around for too long if you have a few enemies on to you. They will create cover for themselves out of objects like tables and cabinets, and will try and out flank your every move. Still some of the best AI I’ve encountered in a game. You will also have the occasional QTE, which is usually just when confronted by Alma or an enemy, they will grab you and you just have to repeatedly bash the melee button to knock them back.
Another new feature is the Mech Suit. These are used by the corporation’s mercenaries to patrol the streets. They may be a pain to take down, but you actually get to commandeer one yourself, making for a very fun section. Using the attached missiles and gattling guns, you blast your way through the streets reducing your targets to a bloody mush.
The ghostly apparitions are a lot more effective in this game. Although they are almost as frequent, they add more of scare and build up the tension, something which the original, not through lack of trying, was devoid of. The gore is taken up a notch as well. With the game being more detailed, it seems to be a little more creative with the blood baths. And just like the original, you can reduce an enemy to a pulp at point blank range with the shotgun. That’s always good fun!
The level design seems a lot more varied this time round. Where as the last game saw you traipsing around industrial facilities/sewers, this one adds something different. As well as blasting your way through an apartment building, there’s a hospital/lab, a school and the battle worn streets, giving things a little more variety rather than the dull, grey industrialisation of the first game.
F.E.A.R. 2 is an overall more polished game, with better handling, better scares and much more exciting action. It improves on the original in every way and is actually fun to play.
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin receives 7 out of 10. Superb in contrast to the original, but not the greatest horror game by a long stretch.