So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
While it wasn't the best shooter ever created -- that honor belongs to the original Half-Life -- the original F.E.A.R. was a terrific FPS.
- Offers a solid action FPS experience, slo-mo gimmick is pretty awesome
- A.I. opponents can be a little dense, level designs could be better, story ends on a flat note
It's fun, it's intense and it's creepy. The slo-mo gimmick is put to great use, the action will raise your pulse and the supernatural elements work well. The enemy A.I. is a little questionable and the level design is a little iffy but it's easy to overlook. What I didn't like was how the story ends; I won't spoil anything but I personally found it ridiculously unsatisfying. Still, the game itself is solid for the eight or so hours that it lasts.
Price$ 89.95 (AUD)
While it wasn't the best shooter ever created -- that honor belongs to the original Half-Life -- the original F.E.A.R. was a terrific FPS, full of intense action, a sweet slo-mo gimmick and the scariest little girl I've ever encountered whose last name wasn't Olsen. Now, the spine tingling sequel, Project Origin is here to continue the story of the psychic and psychotic Alma with damn good results.
I Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts
The first F.E.A.R. ended on a rather horrific note: after navigating the underground facility where Alma, powerful psychic and all-around crazy person, was held, you barely managed to escape a nuclear explosion that leveled the surrounding area. Unfortunately, just when you thought you were safe, Alma suddenly appears and brings your helicopter down in a classic horror movie "the killer isn't as dead as you thought she was" moment.
Project Origin's story, which parallels the original's, puts you in the shoes of an operative named Becket who is sent to arrest Genevive Aristide, the president of the company responsible for creating Alma. Once the crap hits the fan, you suddenly find yourself hunted by Alma and must find a way to stop her. Obviously, it helps if you've played the first installment but the game's action is solid enough that you can ignore the plot and just blast away if you want.
Project Origin is a rather straightforward FPS experience-run around, pick up weapons, shoot enemies by the dozen-but what sets it apart is a cool slo-mo effect which you can activate at anytime. It's less a gimmick and more an essential survival tactic, as you'll often be out-manned and out-gunned. But slow down time and you have a fighting chance (it also helps that the enemy A.I. won't exactly qualify for Mensa membership). It also allows for some interesting strategic options like my favorite which involves priming a grenade behind cover, hitting the slo-mo and popping out to drop it in the lap of an unsuspecting enemy. You can almost hear them going "Ooooh nooooo" just moments before it explodes.
The game also mixes things up nicely by placing you in turrets and a ridiculously awesome power-suit at various points in the game. The supernatural elements are also nicely integrated, as you'll experience hallucinations and random sensory feedback; there are also some genuine "oh crap" moments but the game isn't necessary scary. The atmosphere can get pretty creepy though, especially when Alma suddenly pops on the screen.
Afraid of the Dark
I'm glad they decided to release Project Origin after the holiday crush because now it won't have to compete against higher profile titles like Gears of War 2 and Resistance 2. The game probably wouldn't have fared well against during the holidays, mostly because the F.E.A.R. brand doesn't carry as much as weight as those other franchises. But hopefully, a February release will get this solid and enjoyable shooter some much deserved love, especially from gamers who played and liked the original.
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