F.E.A.R. II: Project Origin PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 7.9
Graphics 8.0
Sound 8.0
Value 8.0
Developer: Warner Bros
Review Date:
February 2008
Edwin Millheim
Classification: MA15+


F.E.A.R. II: Project Origin
PC, PS3 and XBox 360

F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin picks up where the original left off, only this time it seems to amp up the horror and supernatural to a mind bending crescendo. This time around, the player is taking on Almaís supernatural powers this time as Special Forces operator Michael Becket. A massive devastating explosion levels the city of Auburn, a seemingly simple mission soon spirals into a horror fest of ghosts, supernatural enemies, and with the games enhanced graphics engine it all comes over with a dynamic cinematic feel. This new graphics engine also gives the graphics and effects more of a dramatic punch that will put any PC and its graphic card through its paces and prove its worth. Play it in a dimly lit room, I dare you. The looks and sounds are not the only things that have been enhanced; the AI seems to have leveled up. Better tactics and fast thinking are what will get you though this horror adventure shooter.

Anyone that has played the first games in the series are familiar with the story of the powerful psychic Alma and her quest for revenge on the horrors that where visited upon her. All of the strange and hair-raising manifestations that take place are a direct result of Almaís psychic powers.

Becket has some edge when it comes to surviving the copious amounts of gunfights that take place during the game. Becket has enhanced reflexes, much like the past gameís primary character that enables him to move so fast that the world around him seems to slow down.

The graphics and the AI seem to have been punched up a bit as noted. While there are plenty of interesting and eerie locations that lend itself well to the games premise. The outdoor environments are far and between, and mostly littered with debris. My fellow Impulse Gamer Editor Andrew noted that he was hoping for a few more outdoor environments. Having played the game through, I can say that the locations are all logical to the story line. While a mass majority of events and game play take place in indoor environments, there are times where there are city street fighting and the player gets to ride and fight in a power like exo skeleton that has twin machine guns and missile launchers.

Our Alienware Area 51 7500 rig ran the game very smoothly, with all of itís darkly detailed environments gloriously displayed without so much of a slow down. This is especially spectacularly displayed when in slow motion mode, showing some impressive destruction from either grenades, or gunfire. Through out the game there are parts of the environment that can be interacted with in different way, be those electrical panels that you can blast with gunfire and electrify an enemy, or the old tried and true explosive barrels. Other than obvious cover to protect you from the enemy gunfire, there are tables and other objects that can be overturned to provide cover. Though itís gamer beware because what works for you, also works for the enemy. The enemy soldiers do make use of cover, and often rush to change position. Oddly enough, the AI, while amped up, does in fact have some odd quarks. Even with opportunities for flanking positions, the enemy will often kick over some cover and then rather than keep to cover, rush around the cover and right at you.

While FEAR 2 is not a massive jump ahead of itís time or anything like that, FEAR 2 is a natural and welcome progression in the series, itís a mixture of the tried and true from the main story line and some interesting back story with new characters here and there. Combat is some of the same old kind of stuff that has been regurgitated from what was always best in the series and polished here and there.. With just enough scare zones to off set things and make, you dread going around the next corner. These scare zones are tempered with the combat zones of course with plenty of enemy soldiers or strange monstrous beings to dispatch. The scare zones themselves much like a walk through a Halloween theme park has moments not of fright, but more like sudden shock moments. Thankfully the writers/designers have spread these out and know that these being part of the story should not, and happily are not over done to the point of lacking impact when they take place.

If trudging through the single player game is not enough, there is of course multiplayer gaming options, battling with or against others online. Armored Front is a large-scale match with power armor to equip and five points to capture. Other modes include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch In Failsafe, the offensive team is equipped with bombs and the other team must play defense. Blitz, a form of capture the flag, has barrels of phospholuminescent agent that must be retrieved and brought back to the team's base. Playing the PC version was a blast, as was testing out the PS3 multiplayer modes. Itís was only with the PS3 that I ran into a lot of lag time which caused apposing player that was in my sites to actually not be there. They would morph several feet away instead or withstand three direct shotgun blasts, only to take you out with one shot. Other than those oddities multiplayer mode is still fun, and thatís what its all about really... Fun.

FEAR 2 delivers on what it promises, it is another fun, and scary game with plenty of gun battles to keep your interest up. .FEAR 2 was almost banned in Australia when the Australian Classification Board refused to classify it under their ratings system (their ratings system maxes out at MA15+). Word is that this was because of high violence. When the game was refused, Warner Bros. appealed the decision to a review board. After the review board took a look at the material, they found that the game was acceptable in it's original state. No changes were made to the game for its release in Australia.

This would have been a shame for our fellow Impulse Gamer readers in Australia to miss such a fun game. As it is I was even Age checked when I picked up a copy for review from the local store.

Have fun, play games.
Edwin Millheim



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