Release Date: 2/10/2009
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The Good: Amazing atmosphere, stripped away the bad stuff from FEAR 1, awesome mechs, well balanced
The Bad: Mostly same weapons, a tad short, lame multiplayer, stupid cliffhanger ending (FEAR 3?), more or less the same as FEAR 1
FEAR was a hyped up FPS back in 2006 that started the whole “creepy girl with the black hair over her face” thing. FEAR was so great, not because of its FPS action, but because of its well executed disturbing atmosphere. FEAR 2 is no exception with everything bad stripped from the first and lots of new things thrown in. FEAR 2 is your basic FPS at heart, but if you look beyond the veil you’ll see something truly wonderful and that’s, once again, the incredible atmosphere FEAR 2 portrays. If you didn’t already know, Alma is the creepy girl we are after that is somehow connected to soldiers called Replicas, whilst she can control them telepathically. While the story in the first game was almost impossible to follow the same problem infects FEAR 2 until toward the last few chapters where the developers stop playing mind games and finally spill the beans on what and who Alma really is.
The main thing here I need to talk about though is the atmosphere, you walk through school hallways hearing lockers slam and things swirling around with darkness all around you. Disturbing ghostly apparitions appear that you must shoot, creepy super humans, infect certain areas, and just overall the flashbacks you get of Alma are pretty damn creepy. The scariest parts in the game were when your flashlight somehow stopped working and all you can do is find your way around with flickering lights. While the atmosphere is great (especially with headphones on and the lights off!) FEAR 2 has some new gameplay mechanics that make the game even better. While new guns are added a lot of the older ones are improved (along with the difficulty toned WAY down). Most of your guns are average such as machine guns, shotguns, rocket launchers, sniper rifles etc. The only unique guns are the Hammerhead (shoots green needles that impale enemies to walls), the Laser rifle (a giant laser that shreds through everything), and the Pulse rifle (which shoots giant blue orbs that disintegrate everything in its path). Of course, these guns are harder to find and are rarer, but they have their uses.
My favorite addition is the mech sections…yes who would have thought FEAR would have mechs. Remember those annoying mechs in the first FEAR? Well, now you can ride them! Hop into these heaping piles of metal and you get your standard machine gun and rockets, but the mech controls so well and the machine gun feels so powerful. It’s great to see your enemies explode in a gory mess after a few machine guns rounds and you really feel you’re more powerful for them for once. If your health starts running low hop out for a few minutes and your health will be restored. Included with old mechanics are the slow-mo, health injectors (that are really hard to find), easier to unlock achievements, and still lame multiplayer. I also have to mention how firefights are nicely balanced with just wondering around enjoying the atmosphere.
Everything is just superb cosmetically with great voice acting, beautiful visuals (although they could still be better), and great lighting effects. Of course, the campaign is a tad short running in at about 6-8 hours and the cliffhanger ending is really retarded (aren’t they all? *HALO 2*) Overall the game just builds up to a nice climax and that’s what we usually love with shooters. While I recommend FEAR 2 for a great weekend rental it’s nothing really more than that. The game is still (to its core) FEAR 1 which was monotonous shooting and FEAR 2 kind of feels that way towards the end.