I’m going to be pretty blunt here; this will be the third time that I’ve written about F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin in the last ten days and it’s a fact that is going to affect this review in two ways.
Firstly, I’m going to be a lot briefer in terms of explaining the plot than I might perhaps normally be. The story for F.E.A.R 2 isn’t all that original or great anyway and is mostly a hack-eyed amalgamation of Japanese horror films and generic Arnie movies.
To be honest, I’m just getting tired of talking about that when there’s a lot more interesting stuff discuss. If you’re playing this second game then we’ll assume you’re at least reasonably familiar with the first game anyway, m’kay?
The second way that my saturation within F.E.A.R 2 has affected this review is that my keyboard is about to fall apart, specifically the period key. There’s only so many full stops you can be expected to hammer onto a page and F.E.A.R 2 takes the biscuit – though it isn’t as bad as S.T.A.L.K.E.R, thank goodness.
Storytime, then. F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin, which has had more name changes than Prince, is a direct sequel to the first F.E.A.R, though is recasts players as a different character. This time around you’re no longer the anonymous Point Man of the First Encounter and Crappy Acronyms division, but Mike Beckett of Delta Force.
You’re launched into the game about half an hour before the first game ends, with your unit being sent into Armacham HQ to arrest Genevieve Arestide. Genevieve is knee-deep in conspiracies and has been targeted by her former employers who want her silenced permanently before she can spill the beans, or worse.
The ‘or worse’ aspect of that focuses on Alma Wade – a young psychic girl whose entire life has been spent being experimented on by Armacham. Alma’s had enough now and is pursuing an agenda of her own, which she starts by enabling a huge nuclear explosion on the city. Injured in the blast, you wake up to find yourself in a strange, haunted hospital with some new time-controlling powers of your own.
It’s here that the game proper starts and you spend the rest of the game trying to reunite with the various members of your squad, catch up with Genevieve and outwit Alma. It’s the last part which a lot of your attention is focused on, naturally. Naked, raven-haired young women tend to grab our attention anyway, let alone when they are dead and angry.
If you’ve not played the first game then a lot of this isn’t going to make much sense admittedly and F.E.A.R 2 doesn’t do an awful lot to ingratiate itself to new players either. Over time a lot of the backstory is explained, but a lot of the finer details are omitted as well unless you busy yourself collecting all the diary entries and logs that litter the levels, ala BioShock.
As I said before though, I don’t really want to spent too much time talking about the story (and I’ve already spent longer than I meant to, dammit). The whole plot is pretty generic from a macro point of view and it’s only the finer details and Japanese horror schtick which separates F.E.A.R 2 from the other games in that vein. In fact, with bullet time and huge driveable robots forming a bulk of the gameplay, the horror is the only thing that distinguishes F.E.A.R 2 from pretty much every other corridor shooter, ever.