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F.E.A.R 2:Project Origin Demo Impressions

January 18, 2009
Wow we can see the main character!

Wow we can see the main character!

Monolith Productions, best known for their F.E.A.R & Condemned IPs will soon be releasing F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin to the masses on February 10th.  The game was originally called simply Project Origin (After a project name in the game) due to the fact that Monolith did not own the rights to the IP.  The IP was recently bought from Sierra by Monolith’s parent company, Warner Bros.  With the name back in place, does the F.E.A.R 2 demo bode well for the final game?

Story

F.E.A.R 2 starts just before the ending of the original game.  The demo takes place during the first level or “Interval” as the series calls them.  The game starts with the main character, Sergeant Micheal Becket, (Not to be confused with the Point Man of the original) walking through one of Alma’s visions, only to wake up in a devastated city afterwards.  For those not familiar with the series, Alma is a woman with extreme psychic powers.  She takes the form of both a small eight year old child, as well as a more mature, teenage-adult form.  These forms are both seen within Inverval 01 of F.E.A.R 2.

Right from the gecko Alma’s visions & powers are shown to the player with alarming frequencies.  Whether this is just the designers trying to scare players, or the fact that Alma is now stronger than she was in the first game (Which is part of the ending of the original) is left up to debate, I hope it’s the latter personally.  It is obvious there is already a recurring theme with the visions, with more than a few depicting a swing on top of a grassy hill.  What this place means for the story is yet unknown through the demo, but might, or might not be explained later in the game.

The player is introduced to Becket’s team, one of whom is brutally murdered before the player’s eyes.  It seems that Becket, like his Point Man counterpart, does not speak and the dialogue is left to his team & other characters.  There isn’t that much dialogue to speak of, however from the little I can tell, is well written.

Gameplay

F.E.A.R 2 is a First Person Shooter (FPS) and like all FPSs, it’s basic controls & ideas will be familiar to most.  The arsenal, as far as the demo goes is pretty conventional, a handful of machine guns, sniper rifles & shotguns round out the majority of the arsenal, with a laser gun to boot.  I can’t really comment on the laser gun as by the time you get it, you enter an Elite Power Suit for the remainder of the level.

I think he's hurt

I think he's hurt

The elite power suit is an interesting gameplay twist from the rest of the level.  Unless you are grossly incompetent dispatching enemies will be easy & fast with little challenge.  That is, until the end of the demo where you fight another Elite Power Suit, which seems to take some skill.  (A little after the other suit appears, the demo ends) There are also a handful of grenade types to round out the palyer’s arsenal.  They range from the standard frag, to shock & incendiary grenades.

On the Playstation 3, the game sports a pretty unorthodox approach to FPSs, even though it is starting to become a trend.  Unlike most shooters like Resistances 1 & 2 that use the more natural fire button of R1, F.E.A.R 2 uses the R2 trigger button for this function.  For most players this will take a bit of adjusting, however it is an easy thing to over come.

Like its predecessor one of the big gameplay mechanics is the slowmo effect.  While this mechanic overall, is an overused peice of technology that has almost become a clique, it doesn’t feel quite that way in the F.E.A.R series.  In F.E.A.R 2 specifically, the slowmo effect now sorta highlights enemies, making them a bit easier to see.  The effect doesn’t last long however it could be made longer through upgrades like the original.

Graphics/Audio

The game does a great job at creating a spooky & eerie environment.  There are two distinct worlds in the game, the real world filled by a devestated city, dark, brown, etc.  The other world is Alma’s dream world, a world filled with a blood red sky that makes the world seem like it is in constant sunrise, or sunset.  Overall I like the art direction of the game, taking in what has become the norm and putting its own twist on it.  The audio is also excellently well done.  The eerie effects are top notch, the little voice acting I heard was delivered with as much real emotion as possible & i really have no complaints.

Conclusion:

At the end of the day, I have absolutely nothing but good things to say about the demo.  F.E.A.R was one of the games back in 2004 that made me into a PC gamer for more than a few years & I am glad to see it return in the hands of Monolith.  The game has a good start, creating mysteries for the player to think about while giving them the basics on how to play. To answer my original question at the top of the post, the demo bodes very well for the final game.

Systems: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC

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