F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin continues the story of a pissed off ghost girl with great psychic powers. But does the sequel top the predecessor?
|Console||PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3|
|Publisher||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
|Genre||First-person shooter, survival horror|
|Purchase (PC)||Purchase from Humble Store.|
|Purchase (Xbox 360)||Purchase from Amazon.|
|Purchase (PlayStation 3)||Purchase from Amazon.|
Following up from the first F.E.A.R., Monolith released a second game that continues the tale of military forces fighting against a clone army and an undead psychic girl who could most definitely annihilate the world. It should be noted that this was the last game in the series that Monolith worked on since Day 1 Studios developed F.E.A.R. 3. So from here on out, we can most likely detect a shift in the series.
But does F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin top its predecessor? Well, let’s see.
Fist of the Snake
You are Michael Becket, a sergeant in a Delta Force unit codenamed “Dark Signal.” You are part of an elite psychic strike team set to arrest Genevieve Aristide, president of Armacham Technology Corporation and one of the main figures responsible for the terrible events that occurred throughout the the series.
Unknowingly, you and other members of Dark Signal have participated in Armacham’s Project Harbinger, a secret project meant to produce more psychic commanders for the Replica Forces. Through this, Becket gains enhanced reflexes and sensitivity to dark visions from Alma Wade.
However, Dark Signal must face off against the aggressive clean-up crews of Armacham Technology Corporation, led by Colonel Richard Vanek. To make matters worse, Project Harbinger reactivated the Replica Forces, who have gone rogue and serve Alma.
But as a result of Project Harbinger, much of the unit becomes a target for Alma Wade’s sexual aggression.
You read that. Alma, this nihilistic and unfeeling undead psychic girl, is looking for a hot stud to mate with. As in-game character Snake Fist puts it:
You’re like free pizza at an anime convention. She can smell you. And she wants to consume you.
Ugh. I have to admit, that is a pretty disturbing image. And just so you know, there’s nothing attractive about Alma Wade. She’s a monster who also looks the part.
So as you can probably tell, F.E.A.R. 2 doesn’t directly continue the story of the original F.E.A.R. Rather, it introduces a new scenario that happens shortly after the events of F.E.A.R. Not that this is a bad thing, but it does make that game’s cliffhanger ending even more annoying.
The gameplay of F.E.A.R. 2 is fundamentally the same as its predecessor: a typical first-person shooter with all your standard military fare. The one element that sets these games apart is the Slow-Mo ability, which makes it much easier for you to dodge bullets and increase weapon accuracy against overwhelming numbers. Pretty simple.
Sadly, there is not much variety this time around. The enemies are mostly identical to the ones in the original F.E.A.R., but are easier to kill and have less intelligent A.I. Even the usually difficult Heavy Armors and Powered Armors are easier to kill in F.E.A.R. 2. Unlike in the first game where you can carry up to 10 health kits, you can only carry 3 in this game. However, I didn’t die that many times. Combined with the short length of the game, you can probably blow through everything (including the DLC campaign) in a single all-day sitting.
Rarely, you come across Reflex Boosters like in the original game. But there is a noticeable lack of Health Boosters (though given the game’s already easy difficulty, they’re not necessary). So there’s not much to do aside from the main campaign. Not much exploring alternate routes and finding collectibles. Kind of disappointing.
But the main highlight for me regarding the gameplay is being able to take over a Powered Armor for yourself and annihilate every enemy that stands in your path. Your machine guns shred enemies into pieces, you can launch multiple missiles to take down enemy Powered Armors, and you can use heat vision to search for hidden enemies. What can I say? We love giant robots.
While the horror elements are certainly there, they’re not as shocking or creepy as in the original game. As a matter of fact, I’d say they’re pretty weak overall. There are some jump scares from Alma herself, but that’s about it.
But there are a couple of good highlights for the horror.
The Wade Elementary School section is definitely the creepiest part of F.E.A.R. 2. It has an oppressive atmosphere in a supposedly kid-friendly environment, plus there is one well-done segment filled with paranormal activity, intense background music and quick-moving enemies that can pop up in front of you instantly. This is the part where I felt most anxious, because it felt like the nightmares are going to overwhelm you.
Then there is Alma Wade herself. She doesn’t really scare me in this game, but she’s certainly more disturbing. She doesn’t appear in her child form that often in F.E.A.R. 2, but mostly as a naked woman. Definitely not an attractive one either—doesn’t help that her hair sometimes clips through her face, making her look more like a stereotypical witch. And of course, her emaciated appearance. The above image is NOT her true form either. She’s even uglier and more ghoulish.
And the idea of a sociopath ghost woman wanting to rape you is… spooky, to say the least. When it comes to the body and psychological horror, the game does strike those chords.
The monsters themselves are okay, but there are only three varieties in the whole game. And they’re nothing we haven’t seen before: ghostly apparitions, mutant humans and puppet master mutant humans. Original, right?
Well, the puppet masters are a bit original, I guess. They literally control corpses using red energy strings, keeping you on your toes. But the puppet masters are also quite cowardly and constantly run away from you. Though they take a lot of damage, a shotgun works best against them.
But if there’s anything noteworthy about F.E.A.R. 2, it’s that the graphics have improved overall. Well, obviously. A sequel has to at least look better.
The apocalyptic imagery is fantastic. The fallout of the nuclear explosion from the first game turned this typical urban city into a hellish landscape, with statues of frightened people all over the streets. And next to the city is a giant crater, making it seem like the city is suspended in mid-air. It’s like the kind of imagery you would see from a Shin Megami Tensei game.
Alas, I can’t say the same for the soundtrack. Some of the tracks from the original F.E.A.R. were recycled to be used in F.E.A.R. 2. And the new tracks are nothing special either. Just typical ambiance.
So yeah, the original F.E.A.R. nailed its own atmosphere better. Guess which game I rather be playing?
Oh well. At least Terry “Snake Fist” Halford makes a better comic relief character than Norton Mapes in the original game. If only they didn’t kill Snake Fist so soon…
F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn
Next up on our list is F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn, an expansion to Project Origin. Unlike the previous games in the series, you’re actually playing as an antagonist this time. Pretty cool, right?
Well, I would say that but you’re just playing as a generic Replica soldier called Foxtrot 813. Gameplay wise, he doesn’t feel different from playing as Michael Becket.
In fact, this whole expansion doesn’t do much to add to the original game, aside from a plot purpose and a cliffhanger ending.
Paxton Fettel is one of the main antagonists of the original F.E.A.R., as well as being one of the best aspects of it. The Point Man killed Fettel towards the end, leading us to believe that Fettel is gone for good. And because the expansions of the original F.E.A.R. are considered non-canon, he seemed to be gone for good.
However, Reborn brings him back as a voice in Foxtrot 813’s head. And in the ending, 813 becomes a vessel for Fettel himself, setting up the premise of F.E.A.R. 3. That’s about it.
But unlike the expansions Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate, Reborn does very little to add in new elements. Foxtrot 813 is the only new character introduced, and even he is just meant to be a throwaway character. There are no new weapons or enemies (aside from helicopters) to encounter. The plot is just there to bridge the gap between F.E.A.R. 2 and F.E.A.R. 3.
At a price of $9.99 and only 2 – 3 hours worth of new content, F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn is just not worth it. If you really want to play Reborn, get it on a sale. Otherwise, don’t bother.
So, that is F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin. It’s not as good as the original F.E.A.R.
I know, I know. I made a lot of comparisons between the original game and the sequel. And undoubtedly, the original game is superior in almost every aspect. But despite my criticisms, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is not bad. It’s still a solid first-person shooter with some decent horror bits and okay gameplay. But it somehow still feels generic to the point where you don’t miss much from not playing it. It just feels like one of those sequels that tries to go for the status quo, not to outdo its predecessor.
So if you’re a fan of the F.E.A.R. series, go ahead and give it a shot. If not, steer clear away. You’re not missing much.
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin$14.99
- Straightforward FPS gameplay.+
- The Powered Armor segments are pretty cool.
- Decent horror elements here and there.
- The apocalyptic setting looked fantastic.
- The story is noticeably less interesting this time around.
- The variety of weapons and enemies didn't expand from the game's predecessor.
- Short length.
- The Reborn expansion is not worth the time and money. If you want to play it anyway, get it on a sale.