F.E.A.R.2 Review - Solid Gunplay. but Nothing to be Afraid Of.
Last night I put the wraps on F.E.A.R. 2's single player campaign. I'm having a difficult time however putting together my thoughts on the game. It's not bad by any means, but it didn't leave me with any sort of distinct impression good or bad after I put my controller down. F.E.A.R. 2 was fun, and certainly not a chore to play like Condemned 2 but I feel at almost a total lost for how to describe the experience.
For the record, I never played the first F.E.A.R., so Project Origin was entirely new territory for me. I checked out the demo on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and the mix of gunplay, creepy spook-out situations and a armored mech sold me on the game. At first glance the F.E.A.R. 2 hit me as a FPS focused Condemned. It's very much a linear, 'point A to B, kill everything in your way' type of FPS with plenty of heavily armed soldiers and random batches of frightening imagery. It teeters back and forth between typical FPS combat and bizarre, spectral enemies but never strays too far in one direction or the other. The gun play is very solid and satisfying with plenty of bullets to fire and enemies to fire them at.
The game looks fantastic, and really shines at times even if it uses the typical FPS Crayola box of grey & brown colors. Environments cover all sorts of ground although most of the time you'll find yourself wandering random corridors and office-esque complexes. Destructible elements are found here and there, and add a nice 'crumble' to the settings during firefights. Sound design is also very much up to par alongside other current-gen shooters.
I shot myself in the foot when it comes to the story of F.E.A.R. 2, as a good bulk of it is told through intel items scattered around the level. These items built the back story but I was in it for the action are rarely read the details. This ended dampening my enjoyment of the game, as I found myself understanding less and less the more I played. There is some spoken dialogue that moves the story on, but I suppose it would make a lot more sense had I paid attention to those intel items. I admit that it is my own fault for being confused, but I was much more interested in keeping the bullets flying than reading any random trivial bits. Taking the time to put down my gun and pick up story elements just doesn't fit in for me in this case.
Speaking of weapons, there is the usual assortment of assault rifles & shotguns in F.E.A.R. 2, but there are also a few unique (and gruesomely fun) weapons in the mix. The Napalm Canon fires a blast of, well, napalm I suppose that will ignite and stick to any enemies in it's range. It's not necessarily a one shot kill, but as they fight the flames on their backs you can easily pick them off. There is also the Hammerhead which fires hardened 14 mm depleted uranium flechettes (found that info on http://fear.wikia.com/wiki/Armacham_HV_Hammerhead ). You can use these flechettes to pin enemies to a wall, and doing so ten times will earn yourself an achievement. I have to also give props to the sniper rifle as I found it to be quite capable at obliterating enemies from a distance, and it turned out to be one of my favorite weapons in the game.
Your character has the ability to slow down the action in the game, and this is your ticket out of some highly volatile situations. Enemies have a distinct glow during slow-mo, and the bullet and concussion effects are really cool. You can upgrade this ability throughout the game, and it will definitely increase your chances of staying alive if you use it. Another little touch in F.E.A.R. 2 is the ability to topple cover such as tables and vending machines. You can run up to several objects in the game, hit the X button and create some cover to hide behind. While it's a nice feature, I found it to be entirely unnecessary, and only did it to earn myself the achievement (Use 50 pieces of interactable cover). Enemies have the same ability to create their own cover, and while they might not have always used it effectively, it was nice to see them at least try.
While the mech suit might not fit in the game, it is a great diversion in the gunplay. The cockpit effects are really cool, and the mech offers thermal vision for those times when it's tough to pick out the enemies. It does feel somewhat just thrown into the mix, but I had no problem jumping into the suit and obliterating all the enemies that came my way.
On to the enemies, the AI was a mixed bag throughout the game. Only a few of the enemies I encountered in the game seemed to have a working brain, as most charged right at me and were easily put down. In packs of 2 - 3 they aren't going to offer you much opposition, but when the game sends them out in droves it'll be worth your while to keep your head down. Like I said earlier, when the ghostly-apparitions appear, those were the most terrifying enemies as they appear out of nowhere and then make a mad dash for your face. It makes for a few frantic moments as you spin around trying to guess where they will come at you from. It only takes a single shot to put them down, but when they appear in numbers you have to be quick.
With a name like F.E.A.R I expected to come away much more freaked out than I did. There was all this talk about Alma and how she was after you, but your encounters with her only amount to some brief button mashing, and never fully escalate beyond that. In the end I didn't find anything to truly fear in the game and I suppose that is my biggest disappointment. Don't let that keep you away from it though - the game is solid, looks & sounds great and offers a shooter that can be very unique and creepy at times.
(for those intimidated by the wall of text)
F.E.A.R. 2 is competent in all aspects (looks, sound, gameplay) and will give you a good run for your money. While I enjoyed playing the game - at the end of the day (end of the game that is) it failed to leave much of a lasting impression.
On the money scale, I'd say if you can pick up a copy for $35 - 40 F.E.A.R. 2 is money well spent. It makes a good rental as it will only take a few days to complete the campaign. I'd recommend giving it a go on 'hard' mode. It's not very difficult, but it will give you more bang for your buck.
|Comments (Total Comments: 6)|
|snakelda - 02-25-2009, 02:17 PM|
|kewlrabbit - 02-25-2009, 02:27 PM|
|phear3d - 02-25-2009, 02:27 PM|
|Tengaport - 02-25-2009, 02:36 PM|
|zenprime - 02-25-2009, 05:59 PM|
|NutForest - 02-26-2009, 02:21 AM|
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