After playing a bit of the first F.E.A.R. you would have to forgive me for not having the highest of expectations for Alma and her evil wrath in F.E.A.R. 2. Sure F.E.A.R. 1 gameplay was solid but the environments were bland and the game started to feel extremely repetitive after a while. So what have Monolith Productions changed for Project Origin? Not enough. Basically, not much to matter to be honest. The game is simply not more improved than the previous title, but it is still a good scare from time to time.
The game kicks off just before the end of F.E.A.R. as the players command Sgt. Becket with his squadron that is sent to find Genevieve Aristade: a scientist who seems to know a lot of important information about Alma, a girl who possesses supernatural power and is hellbent on the destruction of the apparently beautiful city Auburn. Boom. A big bang is heard and you realize the sheer power that Alma has when the city is destroyed by what seems to have been a nuclear bomb, when it is Alma unleashing her wrath. Prepare yourself. As you progress through the game, more of the story is told through Intel documents that are found scattered about and the alternate reality that Sgt. Becket sees when Alma is in the vicinity.
This is partly where the problem comes in. We love BioShock a lot for the pure atmosphere it presented, but by the subtle balance it had between documents to further the story but to create a bit of intrigue as well. It is here where F.EA.R. 2 kind of takes a bad turn. The storyline is told through Intel documents with zero energy, or PC portals when really none of that fits in with the overall plot of the city being blasted to death, and yet the electricity is perfectly seamless for the PC network. Call me didactic, but the storyline is where a key part of the game is at least for F.E.A.R. 2, which takes a scary turn.
As a first person shooter, the core gameplay is dreaming to be a more complete experience for formal justification of the fact that this is a first person shooter after all. F.E.A.R. 2 certainly offers some of the best shooting mechanics I have played in a while. The guns put weight into the combat while not being overly powerful and there is a good variety of weapons from the pistol, to submachine guns, assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles, missile launchers and napalm guns. The snap-on aiming option is a welcome addition in any game and it is especially pleasing here as the A.I. constantly has your enemies leaping from cover to cover, which is nice to see when we have gone through so many years of static A.I.
Unfortunately, the blood splattered achromatic peppery walls and seemingly endless corridors start to crop up once too often and feel like your pacing the same area over and over again and the lack of a map is infuriating when the direction of the next objective is not so clear, which is usually not the case. There are also far too many areas where there are no enemies and nothing to do apart from move to the next firefight which feels like a cheap way to lengthen the game. There are also vehicle sections where you are strapped into a robotic suit which are fun but are wildly unnecessary, much like the ability to slow time which really did not need to be added and acts more as a gimmick rather than a battle changing feature, as it always has been.
The multiplayer is primarily an afterthought and it is clear to see that as soon as your into a game. It is not an awful experience by any means and a multiplayer component is always good to have but only when it serves some purpose. Simple basic modes do not particularly follow the single-player experience either, which just ends up being quite ridiculous. Capture the Flag is called Blitz, and flags are called ‘Phlags.’ It seems about as bad as a 80’s sitcom.
F.EA.R. 2 was to say the least…not completely terrible. It is definitely a case of a game that could have been great with a lot of improved elements that have been sorely needed since the first title. The little peeves that continue to annoy throughout the course of the game need to be rectified for any future titles and if they are, Monolith can look forward to F.E.A.R. 3 as a great title. We just will not hold our breath.