Xbox 360

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin’s Frightening Moments

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Perhaps I’m the wrong person to play horror games, but I had a lot of trouble forcing myself through parts of F.E.A.R. 2. It’s not that the game is bad — on the contrary, it’s a very solid first person shooter. It’s just that there were a couple of parts where I was too scared to progress. I’ve found that the only way I could keep up my bravery and go through this game was to talk to myself. A typical play session sounds like this (warning, lots of expletives used):

 

 

F.E.A.R. 2 begins with the player as Michael Becket, a member of a squad who has been tasked with rescuing Genevieve Aristide, a scientist heading the paranormal experiments, from the facility where these experiments have been happening. Of course, things get fracked up and that angry supernatural girl Alma is at the center of all of it.

 

For those who have played the first game, the usual fear tactics such as flickering lights, enemies that pop up out of nowhere and disappearing visions are still in F.E.A.R. 2. That doesn’t make them any less scary. Though I expected these things from the game, I still couldn’t help jumping when I opened a restroom stall to find a mutilated body waiting for me.

 

The atmosphere wasn’t the only scary part. The usual security guard enemies weren’t anything to write home about, but when I got to the part where they were running for their lives from something, I started feeling panicky. There’s one type of enemy that looks like it came straight out of Silent Hill. There’s just something about enemies that move in unconventional, twitchy ways that really disturb me. That and the fact that they crawl up walls and disappear into dark corners. No thanks.

 

There was also a boss that did some interesting things with corpses. I’m glad that guy isn’t a frequent enemy or else I’d really have a hard time getting through the game.

 

What really surprised me about the original F.E.A.R., which F.E.A.R. 2 reminded me of, is that it’s actually a good first-person shooter. It’s clear that the designers wanted to make not only a horror game, but a horror game that was easy to maneuver and felt solid. The rag-doll physics in this game make shooting people so satisfying. Shooting enemies who are peering over the balcony not only makes them topple over and fall to their deaths, but sometimes they get stuck on the railing just like a real body.

 

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Weapons in F.E.A.R. 2 also felt good. Each gun in F.E.A.R. 2 serves a purpose. The semi-automatic is good for general combat and has the added touch of having selective blurring when in zoomed mode, which almost mimics a camera’s focus. The shotgun is great for blasting things while you’re crawling around in a/c ducts and for those creepy wall-crawler enemies who like to leap and claw at you. Grenades are good for scattering enemies out of hiding spots.

 

I know a lot of people have complained that F.E.A.R. 2 feels too claustrophobic because it basically takes place in a giant office building — I felt the same way at first too. But the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense. It just wouldn’t feel like a F.E.A.R. game unless you were hiding behind cubicles and crawling around in ducts. It would be difficult to maintain suspense in an open setting because you’d be able to see where everything was. I did have a problem with the game being too linear because it was too obvious where the game wanted the player to go next, but then, the less time I have to spend in a scary facility where strange things are happening, the better.

 

As someone who enjoyed (although it’s strange saying I enjoyed being scared out of my pants) the original game, F.E.A.R. 2 offers just as good of an experience. Even if you’re new to the series, enough of the story is revealed through items found throughout the facility to fill you in. The game is solid first person shooter, but what makes it stand out from the rest is the scares that never fail to make me jump. I guess it’s aptly named.

Louise Yang