This ‘FEAR 2: Project Origin’ review actually came about in quite an unusual way. While trying to decide what to do at the weekend I gave some friends a call for some communal ideas. We came up blank. As we were all skint we could not afford to go out for a good go on the pop, not enough cash for an interesting game of poker and were sick of watching DVD’s. The idea we stumbled upon was, as you can probably guess by the subject of the post, to get a slab of ale in and thrash through a new game.
Off the back of this inspirational idea I went to see a gaming chum for some “specialist” advice on what games would fit the bill. I happily explained we all like playing FPS games and watching action/horror DVDs. He smiled broadly, slowly reached into a small draw in his desk then slid an unmarked green DVD box across the table to me. I stared at his sinister smirking face and asked what this mysterious box contained. He dipped his head and muttered the word Fear, paused, suddenly burst into a cackling laugh and vanished into a loud crack and a puff of smoke… sort of.
Back to the real world, I informed my friends that I had acquired a game, told them to arrange the beverages and just like that, our first game night was set…
Cans of lager in hand we all sat round the 42″ Samsung LCD TV not really knowing what to expect. Title screen looks good, start new game, select difficulty, interface is easy to use and slick (usual stuff). And were off… or are we. The intro is fully interactive and to be honest, a little weird if you do not know anything about the F.E.A.R games. I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who have not played this game or its prequel so I will not go into to much detail…But after 5 minutes we are properly off.
Immediately there are comments passed about the game’s realistic graphics and movement. We have not actually shot at anything yet but already half the group are impressed (easily pleased, and lightweights). There is no “training” as such but this is cleverly weaved into the first part of the story, duck under this, jump over that, press that button, not exciting but necessary.
We stumble upon our first sign of action, some sort of worker clearly despatched in a very clinical manor (claret everywhere). Things are now starting to really look up. This is pretty much the point it jumps into your usual FPS experience, shoot and move, shoot and move, grenade, move and shoot, etc. Once you get use to the controls (a lot like Call of Duty: World at War) it is very easily picked up.
We were all impressed with the computers AI, especially when they seem to team up to perform devastating flanking manoeuvres. We had the difficulty set on average and were pleased with how it played. We did die once but were not finding it to frustrating to play, yet.
Through the first section and onto a bit of the storyline. This plays out around you, on video screens as you look into other rooms through the windows. It is all fully interactive and keeps up the cinematic feel.
At this point we decided to grab another tin and have a drain break for the smaller bladdered players. We left the rains in the hands of our least experienced gamer, ‘Gibbo’, and told him to go for a wonder while we went about our business. While grabbing 4 cold ones from the kitchen fridge I heard a half whispered-half shout “S**T” come from next door.
My instant response was “what have you done, you better not have wasted all our grenades”. He said that he thought he had seen something, but then it wasn’t there. We decided to swap his next tin to a glass of water and told him to say no to drugs. The usual FPS one man army format then picked up again. Move and shoot, shoot and move…
Along with the interactive visual story line you pick up files and notes containing text information supporting the story, but we did not read these, we simply carved a channel of dead bodies along our chosen path. You can carry three weapons and some different types of grenades, they all pretty much to the standard “boom splat” damage.
We were well into our case of ale before we started to get inklings this was not like any other FPS any of us had played. It started small, someone saying “did you hear that?” or “what’s that, oh… nothing there”. But as you play through the game you descend deeper into quite a disturbing tale of paranormal/secret government experiments.
The little things that people “thought” they had seen or heard soon make shape in a way that had us all proclaiming in unison “S**T, WTF, RUN”. Again I do not want to spoil the game for anyone but the game had subtly changed, without us knowing, into a survival horror experience.
To get a grasp of how good this game is picture this: You walk into a house and hear voices coming from a room; you do not enter but decide to listen. The voices are more or less all saying things along the same lines as; “Don’t open it, S**t. Shoot her SHOOT HER… RUN RUN RUN, LEAVE THE MED PACK JUST GET OUT OF THERE… I think she is F**K, DIE DIE DIE, press B, PRESS B!!!! NOOOO”. Upon entering the room you find four grown men, all half cut and sat round a TV in a dark room. As my mates missus did. She could not stop laughing at us, until she watched the next encounter.
All in all it was a funny evening that led to some very brisk walks home by 3 men who are too old to be frightened of shadows. Although we did not get even half way through F.E.A.R 2 we would all recommend this to any FPS player that is looking for a fresh take on this tired genre.