F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origins Review

2 04 2009

FEAR 2 Box Art

The recently released multi-platform title F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origins is a follow up from Monolith to their successful survival horror shooter F.E.A.R. or First Encounter Assault and Recon that was released in 2005. F.E.A.R. 2 picks up directly where the original left off. You take control of Michael Becket a Delta Force Operator that Alma has a special attraction to and who is obviously upset after the events that previously occurred. Despite not playing the original I decided to pick up this title given the high praise the previous installment received.

So the question remains, how does this game stack up to the ground breaking elements that were in F.E.A.R. and can it maintain that delicate balance between survival horror and shooter? Continue reading to find out.

Single Player

Like I previously stated this game takes place directly after the previous installment unfortunately it appears as if that is the only thing that progresses over the prequel. To start off the graphics looked eerie similar to the original and looked as if I was playing a PlayStation 2 title. I admit this may be due to the fact that I had just finished playing arguably one of the best looking shooters of this generation, Killzone 2. (check out that review here) Also in a game that relies so heavily on atmospheric effects most of those aspects like audio and environment seriously lacked in my opinion. While all of that can be over looked if the main function of the game excels which is horror or more importantly fear. Although again I feel this game falls short in the scare factor as well. While playing I just didn’t get that feeling of supernatural beings or imminent danger throughout. Even when F.E.A.R. 2 did try to be scary it was minimal and mostly done with visual effects and lighting and not with the overall tone or mood which would have had a better outcome.

Fear 2 screenshot 1

The story when I actually understood it was interesting but the majority of the time it was a complete mystery to me. Along the way there are plenty of plot twists but the lack of presentation left me not caring too much about the plot after the first few chapters. Throughout the campaign you pick up intel that does nothing else but divulge more of the story and even after collecting a majority of the pieces I still didn’t read them. However this can be a positive considering the story can be as in-depth as you choose. For instance you can decide to run and gun ignoring the intel and story or if you prefer pick up and read as much as you want. Whichever route you choose the ending is still rather abrupt and confusing.

Fear 2 Screenshot 2
On the other hand some of the bright spots were the cover system as well as enemy AI. The cover system was different and gave you the ability to toss over items and use them as cover. But due to the non-existent difficulty I never felt the need to actually use that cover. The enemy AI while playing on hard difficulty actually performed like a real person would constantly flanking your position and taking cover themselves. The levels while they did start out very linear and generic actually ramped up in the later levels. Eventually leading to what I think was one of the best and most interesting levels in the game, the elementary school. The disparity of colors and mood proved to be a great setting. Also the contrast of what you would traditionally expect to see in a school and the horror that resides. The levels continued to improve and easily flowed through each mission objective and firefight.

Fear 2 Screenshot 3

The game is fairly short, about 10 hours, but as a typical shooter which is what this stripped down game has become it actually performs quite well and is enjoyable. The reason it’s enjoyable is because while shooting it’s just plain fun and satisfying. The game has a decent array of weapons for use and the controls and inventory system are easy to use. While I did ultimately enjoy the single player experience I was expecting much more. When all of the elements come together it truly shines however those moments were few and far between.


The game just didn’t seem polished at all and while that doesn’t render the game unplayable it does damper the overall feeling and effect of the game. Due to the success of its predecessor the game had huge potential but didn’t seem to live up to those standards. If you are expecting something more and an improvement over F.E.A.R. then you will be disappointed as there is no progression in the series. Now granted I say this admitting I have not played the original and have never been a big fan of the survival horror series. While this game obviously has its flaws the shooter aspect without a doubt is what saves this game. For that reason alone I would recommend at least renting this game and playing through it. However if you are a fan of the series I would expect you would be disappointed. But it still remains, rent this game for a weekend play through its worth at least that.

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One response

3 05 2009
Month in Review: April « Beyond The D-Pad

[…] I recently had a question posed to me from a non gamer that on the surface appeared easy. But after some thought I found myself asking the same question. What was it might you ask, simple, Why do you play video games? My first reaction was effortless, hey why don’t you play games? But decided against […] F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origins Review […]

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