The lights are on
Fans of the original FEAR remember the chilling and tense story involving Point Man and Alma. They also remember the vanilla set pieces that bogged down the intensity of the gameplay as well, along with the expansions which made the series take a most laughable turn for the absurd and ridiculous. FEAR 2 however, brings the action, thrilling suspense, and story back to its rightful place, although the fear is sometimes sacrificed despite the game's wondrously varied environments.
FEAR 2's greatest leap forward lies in its implementation of varied set pieces, unlike its predecessor, which had the player battling in rooms that might as well have been inspired by The Office. Instead, Project Origin has you assuming the role of Beckett, who travels through anything from high-end skyscrapers to derelict hospitals and the remains of ground zero itself. This game draws on a variety of different scenarios to evoke tension and offers the gamer lots of challenges with its improved AI system, and the opportunity for the player to take advantage of the environment around them. Perhaps this, in tandem with the game's emphasis on Alma's growing interest in Beckett, is what bogs down the fear factor the original possessed.
The nostalgia generated by playing this game, rife with its creepy moments, including the introduction of some new and particularly strange enemies just doesn't in my opinion manage to replicate the abject terror the first did, although several encounters come awfully close. The inclusion of a long segment involving a mech that you use to wreak havoc also makes the "fear" moniker seem like a leftover catchphrase from B-movie history. Just try to ignore the atrocious dialogue that codename "Snake Fist" executes equally horribly, as any semblances to attempts at humor will have you cringing. If anything, Project Origin is most certainly action-oriented, and this influx of combat and progression is often uneven, although certainly entertaining, given the sporadic cinematic sequences which will catch you off-guard. The collectibles, such as intel pieces that provide some backstory on the events taking place, offer the story a much more subtle sense of development, and the twists that come will intrigue you, aside from the feeling that some of what you learn seems to be thrown in. Yet, the score, minus a few missteps later on the game, is evocative and thrilling.
In terms of formal presentation, some might find FEAR 2's ending to be a little high-brow and ridiculous; the final boss battle is especially unsatisfying. However, Project Origin offers fans of action more than enough chances to test their mettle against Alma's supernatural hybrids and Armacham's mindless soldiers, mechs, and mutant rejects. With the sleek, although finnicky combat system - you can't change the controller schematic, - and the time-tested ability to slow down time, the player will definitely have a blast exploring the rich levels in their adventures and misadventures. One would think that the multiplayer would also have something to offer, but it doesn't offer anything original, with its plethora of bland ranking and combat scenarios.
Overall, FEAR 2 is an impressive comeback for the series, with few missteps and more variety to boot, offering the gamer an expedition through the macabre.
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