After a nearly four year wait, two expansion packs, a change of publishers, and a title change, the follow up to our 2005 Game of the Year award winner F.E.A.R. is finally here. After successfully obtaining the rights to the name F.E.A.R., the new sequel is called F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin instead of the planned Project Origin. Regardless of what it is called, developer Monolith Productions and Publisher Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment have unleashed one of the best 3D shooters and action games ever made.
These time out players are put in the role of Sgt Michael Becket as you and your team are dispatched to obtain Aristide, an executive with Armacham Technology Corporation. Starting roughly thirty minutes before the climatic events that concluded the first team, you race through various locales doing battle with private security and fearsome Armacham Black Op soldiers as well as the deadly Replica soldiers.
Following a spectacular visual sequence, the player wakes up and finds that he has been altered and now has superior reflexes and speed which like in the original allows players to enter a bullet time mode and move much faster than your enemies and their gunfire. This as before, results not only in a wide range of possible tactics but some truly amazing combat as gunfire whizzes past you in slow motion as do clouds of fire, debris, and blood.
With his new abilities, Becket has drawn the attention of Alma who appears throughout the game and when she is knocked off and brutally dispatching all those in her path, and thinning the ranks of Becket’s support team, she is grappling with Beckett himself. In one of the game’s new combat features, players can grapple with Alma and other enemies by clicking the mouse buttons (in the PC version). Successfully clicking the buttons fast enough allows players to land a blow and gain a tactical advantage. If a player is to slow, they often do not get the chance to recover from their mistake.
It is learned that Alma is attempting to absorb Becket, and with the surviving members of his team, he must battle against legions of enemies and get to a top secret facility in order to amplify his new powers. It is hoped that once this is done, Becket will have a chance to face and defeat Alma and that only he alone can end the destruction that has been unleashed.
This, of course, is easier said than done as a never ending legion of foes with some of the best A.I. and tactics you will ever face are waiting for you. The great ability that enemies displayed in the first game to take cover and avoid fire has been enhanced as enemies will now set traps, move objects as they advance to provide rolling cover, leap, roll, and jump to avoid incoming fire.
In a nice twist, players can now use objects to provide cover such as knocking over a table or desk.
One of my favorite tactics was to pull over an object and then place a proximity grenade shortly before activating my bullet time and moving away at a high rate of speed. Once normal speed resumed, enemies that made the mistake of advancing on my position often got an unexpected surprise.