What's scarier than a little 7 year old girl just absolutely tearing people apart? Nothing, that's what. FEAR 2, the true sequel to FEAR, comes to us from Monolith and is hands down one of the scariest games ever. Dead Space, Silent Hill, and Condemned are given a run for their money with Alma, the girl previously mentioned.
The game starts out about 30 minutes prior to the ending of the first game and puts you in the shoes of Sgt. Michael Becket, a Delta Force member who was mentioned in the first game as apart of a team assigned to bring Genevieve Aristide and put her into protective custody, which is the first mission of the game.
While FEAR 2 doesn't set and new standards in terms of AI or gameplay, the game certainly doesn't disappoint. Enemies will flank you, flip over and move cover, and use the environment against you, which is better than the standard fare seen in so many other shooter games.
While many complain that the game is straightforward, and it is, and consists of nothing more than running down a corridor shooting anything that moves, I feel that the game benefits from this, as it creates a scarier, "nowhere to go, nowhere to hide" kind of feeling that adds to the creepiness of the game. Knowing a ghost is coming and there's not a way back only heightens the horror aspect of the game.
Unlike the first game, in which the radio would crackle and time would slow down, there is no obvious sign that something scary is going to happen, you do get a warning when your hud starts flashing, but the hud can start flashing at random times when nothing is going to happen.
The question I got most is, "Was it as scary as the first game?". The answer is yes and no. There aren't as many moments where you find yourself in the "other world" where you would all of a sudden fall into a pit and creepy things would start happening, however you do face hallucinations that may require you to change pants.
Unfortunately, the game is sometimes overly simple, the hard mode is fairly easy, and the easy mode is akin to having god mode. The game can be boiled down into going down the hallway, taking cover, shooting the enemies, then going further down the hallway and repeat. I found that even though I would die in one situation, that the next, the enemies would move in EXACTLY the same way as they did when they killed me, giving me the advantage as I knew where they were going to go and their technique in trying to kill me. Even the "end boss" was disappointing as, while I don't want to ruin the story for those who haven't played, I found the section of the game fairly easy to beat, even on hard.
While the levels did differ in style and look and varied from an underground laboratory to a high class high rise, I felt that the aforementioned "hide n shoot" method worked throughout the whole game. The enemies themselves varied from the standard replica soldier to the frustrating "invisible" Armachan assassins, but all came down with a few shots from my trusty shotgun.
Another question I got asked was, "Did it answer any questions?". No, in fact, it raised more. While the intel finds throughout the game certainly shed some light on the story, major questions are left unanswered. While I feel that some mysticism is left for another game, I can't help but feel disappointed for playing a good game that ultimately left me more confused than I was after having finished the first game.
Multiplayer was an aspect of the game I could not test seeing as I had an early review copy and thus nobody was on xbox live to play against me, nor could I find anybody to system link with, from what I've heard you might as well play COD4.
8 out of 10
All in all the game is good, graphics-wise, audio-wise, and gameplay-wise. That said, it's not great. I feel theres room for improvement in the enemy AI, the level layout, and the amount of story revealed. Had the game been better in those areas I would've been more comfortable giving it a higher score.