Scary by numbers

Yes, the holiday weekend left me behind in my reading.  Yes, I am writing “filler” posts on video games.  I do find it a nice change of pace though so non-gamers bear with me.

After having an unopened envelope from GameFly sitting on desk for about a month I figured it was about time I popped the thing open and actually tried to get my money’s worth.  My game this time around is Monolith’s F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.  I found the demo passably enjoyable and, though I never managed to play the first game, decided to give it a try.  What I’ve found so far, being just under halfway through (I’m on Mission 6 of I think 14) is a fairly straightforward corridor shooter peppered with frequently inexplicable moments of horror both visceral and psychological.  Oddly enough I am seriously enjoying my time with the game.  I am admittedly a fan of the whole FPS genre and while my skills in the multiplayer arena are far from “teh 1337 ” (erratic at best with moments of zen-like asskickery and, more frequently, rage inducing suckitude) I do find that the I tend to enjoy the single-player FPS experience quite a bit.

F.E.A.R. 2 shares some common ground with the oft-maligned (and often rightly so) Doom 3 both being sci-fi themed shooters peppered with elements of the supernatural/paranormal and both being fairly straightforward corridor shooters.  Where F.E.A.R. 2 excels over its more auspiciously lineaged brethren is in the combat.  There is something visceral and weighty to the firefights that you’re thrown into with intelligent enemies who dodge behind cover and are smart enough to stay there.  F.E.A.R. 2 has a bullet-time/slowdown effect that, while unnecessary, certainly adds a bit to those firefights and definitely helps when the crawley fast-moving monsters attack you.  As fun as the combat is it should be noted the F.E.A.R. 2 is very much a by-the-numbers shooter experience.

The somewhat straight forward approach and lack of risk-taking was addressed in the Eurogamer review garnering the game a rather sad 50/100.  A score that, despite my enjoyment and having not finished the game yet, I’m willing to agree with (not that Eurogamer needs my validation).  Not only is F.E.A.R. 2 a game that fails to take risks in its approach to FPS gameplay it also a game the struggles, or frequently outright fails, to explore what could be a rather interesting world.  The games scatters bits of intelligence around that provide some clues as to the elements that define the F.E.A.R. universe, but still manages to gloss over important bits like, you-know, where those aforementioned fast-moving monster came from or what exactly they are.  That 50/100 might reflect a more objective review of this game when judged within the context of the FPS genre but if my own personal experience and enjoyment is going to be factored in then I’d likely be scoring this game somewhere closer to 70/100.

Regardless I have, thus far, found F.E.A.R. 2 to be an enjoyable experience though definitely one that I’m glad has been relegated to the rental category.  If you’re jonesing for some old school corridor shooting excitement tinged with elements of horror then I recommend giving F.E.A.R. 2 a shot.  There is also the added benefit that, if you enjoy the game and are willing to spend 800 MS points, you can pick up the brand spankin’ new F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn single-player DLC that throws you into the shoes of one of the games faceless bad-guys.

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