Developer: Monolith Studios
Release Date: 02/10/2009
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I remember when F.E.A.R. 2 was first announced and it blew up the gaming world. It was a long anticipated sequel to one of the best FPS games on PC, and surprisingly it was also coming to current consoles which I felt held the game back some, and this infuriated some longtime fans. You continue where the first game left off and must go back into the destruction that the nuke caused and try and stop Alma once and for all.
The story and characters are worse than the first game and make absolutely zero sense. I still don’t know why Alma wants to kill everyone and who Beckett really is (your main character). The game focuses more on action over atmosphere and scares, unlike the first game. There are some really creepy scenes with the elementary school being by far the best with poltergeists chasing you in dark hallways. It’s sad that the horror element took a back seat and the game just doesn’t feel as good as the first game.
The shooting, however, has improved a lot with more responsive controls, faster paced gunplay and a slightly higher variety of weapons. The enemies are still generic soldiers called Replicas that are just bullet sponges and don’t offer anything interesting to the game. There are two mech sequences added to the game where you can crawl inside one and devastate foes. Outside of feeling powerful, these scenes felt more like filler than anything else. Another continuing issue is the level design. The game is full of generic desolate city streets, hallways, metal and concrete buildings with catwalks and industrial decor. It’s the same as before just with more detail and better visuals.
Slo-mo does make a return here, but I didn’t need to use it as often as the first game as this game is much easier. Instead of hoarding 10 medkits you get up to 3 and body armor to help absorb damage. You can still upgrade your Reflex meter by finding syringes and data pads are scattered everywhere for story tidbits. I have to say I miss the answering machines and Alienware laptops scattered around as it felt more organic and required less reading in such a fast-paced game.
The game looks really good even today. Larger environments, higher resolution textures, better models, physics, and overall lighting effects really stand out and this game looks far from ugly, just boring and generic. The game tried to switch up the setting with more outdoor environments and less indoor, but it doesn’t really matter as the game is still highly linear. It just doesn’t feel like F.E.A.R. did and that’s a shame as you can tell there was a careful placement of each scare and less focus on action.
Overall, F.E.A.R. 2 is a great sequel and worth your time for a weekend playthrough. It isn’t memorable, there’s nothing special, but the occasional scare and interesting horror elements, as well as fantastic shooting, make for a good game.