Project Origin: Fear 2 Review

August 13, 2009 at 1:24 am | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Mech goes head to head with Alma to show you there’s nothing to F.E.A.R.

Unfortunately FEAR 2 takes a lot from FEAR 1, almost so much that there very hard to tell apart. You, part of a team of do gooders are sent out to take out the head of a the corporation Armacham when you soon discover you and your team are in fact unwillingly apart of a project Armacham are performing, complete with bioengineering and super abilities, an ordeal which seems a little too familiar to Fear 1, or other games for that matter.

We see our team put against a telepathically controlled army, controlled by, that little girl everyone’s grown to run away from, Alma. You soon learn that she’s after you, and she’s not very happy.

You’ll follow with your team, yet as usual end up splitting up, ultimately ending in each team mate being finished off as you progress leading you up to just you and Alma getting up close and personal.

The game sees you take a path through the partially destroyed city in which the first game ended in; your travels take you through a rather limited amount of scenery which occasionally seem to blend together. There’s about 3 levels to each setting, making a lot of your treks quite a drag, and also a little hard to distinguish what your actually doing or trying to get to.

If you haven’t played FEAR before, then you won’t be overwhelmed with much else in the game. Its levels are very linear and set out through a series of levels all close to each other, a few levels are stretched out over each setting and it’s pretty much run in and shoot your way out throughout.

The game uses a bullet time mode to allow you to gain an ‘upper hand’ on your foes however you can use the so much it almost takes the fun out of the shooting. It regenerates enough for you to see out a fair amount of enemies quickly with just the tap of the Y button.

Fear 2 chops up the shooting game play with…ok more shooting game play; however this time were in giant mechanical robots. You’ll then get the opportunity to let rip with full control of the robot, sadly, the time you get to spend in these is only around 10-15 minutes worth, and there spaced out badly throughout the main game making it more of just one other way of getting across the street.

Now, is F.E.A.R. 2 scary? Short answer. No.

Long answer, Fear is well known for it’s over the top gore, with walls covered in blood, with more body parts lying around than socks in a teenager’s room, but the game just doesn’t scare. There are segments within a few of the levels in which your flash light is your friend, one being the school section featured in the demo, but these parts are far and few between, the game now has the infamous yet widely despised live action button sequences usually when an enemy or Alma (yeah, Alma has a go at you this time) gets up in your face to try and give you the spooks.

Unfortunately, something overlooked from FEAR 1 was the scary set pieces in which say entering a new room would trigger something scary too happen, again like its predecessor, it required you to be actually looking at something in particular. If your lucky, you would be, but a lot of the time, you’d be looking elsewhere only to hear a classic horror shriek, only to turn around and miss the part of the piece that was supposed to scare you.

Again whilst not pushing the boundaries in FPS visuals what it does is keep up the standard in, the settings admittedly don’t vary much from laboratories to darkened corridors but what it does it does well to create a suitable atmosphere to keep you gunning.

Until things go quiet later in the you won’t really notice much noise, besides your typical gun fire and explosions the game won’t always give you a massive experience in the audio department, make your way through to the school

The game won’t last you very long. It’s a very straight forward point A to B style of game and its very easy to become lost in how fast your progressing through, as until you completely leave an area by advancing a few levels, everything can look the same.

Whilst the 2 expansion packs which came out after FEAR were poor and story wise should be ignored, FEAR 2 unfortunately doesn’t stand out in a redeeming sequel to the franchise, its story plot has no closure and only opens yet more questions with a rather blunt yet short ending sequence. It also was quite annoying for me personally to see how a Lt. of your team could be outwitted and killed by a corporate lackey as the game reached its climax, it just felt like a poor Deus ex machina to clean out the rest of the loose ends and make things less complicated.

Its fall backs on being a scary game also but the theres games out currently that do it better, now that a lot of the darker sections are clumped up together rather than strung out, making a few sections scary, but nothing to invoke you to take a box of underwear to the counter when you purchase F.E.A.R. 2

Rating 6.4

Fear 2: Warner Bro’s Presentation Event

August 11, 2009 at 2:23 am | Posted in Events, Reviews | Leave a comment
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Part one of my event in London back a few weeks ago starts with FEAR 2: Project Origin, which hits shelves this Friday (13th) for both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

After waiting for all the other journalists from other sites and magazines to arrive in the bar, we were then all moved into a private cinema room, which the 4 presentations from Warner Bro’s and the four games developers each took turns to show us their game and what makes it so original, complete with game play videos and demos.

Many of you, who have perhaps my hands on with the multiplayer side of the game will know the game is already looking to be a special game for this part of the year. The majority of you will also have played the demo out on the marketplace or Network and already have a good general idea of the single player side.

For those of you that don’t, if you’re familiar with FPS games, then FEAR 2 doesn’t really offer much out of the ordinary of First Person Shooters. It doesn’t bring cutting edge new ways to that kind of game play, but what it does do well, is show how much better looking Fear 2 can be, and finally continues the story of Alma, the troubled girl who’s vengeance will put you into a world of horror.

With the presentation came the details which people may miss whilst taking the demo out for a try, including being able to move key objects to form new positions of cover, allowing both you AND the enemies to change the environment to allow some hot gunplay action, combine that with your slow motion ability and you’ll get the drop on them in no time.

The game will also cut-up the game play from gunning down enemies with conventional guns, to letting you climb into a giant Mech armour, and then gun down some more enemies in that, but not without letting you bring down half the scenery along with it! Not to mention, mix that all up with some moments to really make you jump out of your seat scared and were onto a winner, surely?

Fear 2: Project Origin is out for Xbox 360/PS3 on Friday 13th 09.

Don’t miss part 2 of my Warner Bro’s event where I go into detail on the upcoming Watchmen series and the two shooters Wanted: Weapons of Fate and Terminator: Salvation. Which will be coming very soon.

Check back in the next few weeks for the full review of Fear 2.

Project Origin Fear 2 First Look Preview

August 11, 2009 at 2:19 am | Posted in Events, Reviews | Leave a comment
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Earlier this week I was invited to Warner Bros to have a play test on Project Origin F.E.A.R. 2 before its launch on Feb 13th 2009. Whilst I got a good overall feel for a majority of the game, this preview here is all about telling you what the Multiplayer side of the game will have to offer.

Most people remember Fear 1 as a PC port with mainly office block maps and quite boxy level design, but now Monolith have taken the game up into the next generation fully and given a true sequel. None of that expansion pack riff raff.

The games weapons are completely brand new. I managed to play around with an assortment of assault rifles and shotguns all unique and interesting in design along with a re-worked and renamed Fear favourite, the Hammerhead, previously known as the brutal Penetrator. As well as that, I got to try out the re-vamped ASP Rifle which quickly made its way into my favourites list, along with the Missile Launcher, there was no escape from that.

The maps were surprisingly all well made and varied in depth; no more box corridors here, some of the open areas will provide some great gunfights along with the tighter narrower levels will result in some quick tactics and some crafty grenade play. Full online will support up to 16 players so you shouldn’t find yourself without a fight to get stuck right into off the bat.

In my 1v1 with our lovely event host, I managed to learn more about what separates Fear 2 from its predecessors and what directions the full game will take us in. Now, whilst I cant yet dish out the juice on the Single Player side of Fear 2, the multiplayer side will feature an XP counter, in which the points you earn from matches will be then calculated into Experience points and will go towards going up a rank, ranks will be visible through insignias in the lobbies and also on your character.

Keeping with the new features we see the addition of preset and custom load outs. This is where you can select your beginning weaponry to spawn into the matches with including a Primary weapon, secondary and grenades. Depending on your selected load out will also affect your player image in the way of different armours and clothing. This feature is incredibly useful for those matches with constant changes in tactics to allow you to be able to perform in any situation.

Game types and modes have been enhanced and included this time around. With the usual Deathmatch and Team deathmatches, we have Blitz, a new take on CTF gameplay where each team must attack or defend 2 canisters of Phospholuminescent Agent, more commonly known in the game as the ‘Phlag’. The attacking team must capture these canisters where as the defending must prevent the capture.

Control, also seen in Fear 1 returns where teams must capture points on the map, this game doesn’t end until the time limit is reached and then the team with the most points from the captured areas will win.

A new mode similar to Control is Armoured Front; this game mode will end when all points are captured or once the time limit runs out. What really breaks this away from Control is the use of Elite Powered Armour units. Which are large mecha vehicles which can be taken control of and used to unleash some hell and then some with, this takes gun fights to more larger open scales as normal weaponry really doesn’t stand a chance against these juggernauts.

The final game

type is Failsafe, similar to Fear 1’s elimination modes, where players only have one life but rather than last team member standing, objectives are given for the teams to perform to ensure victory. These objectives tie closely to the main story, involving a team of Replicas which must defend caches of chemical gas which the other team, the ATC, are attacking. The game ends when either one of the caches are destroyed, or one team is fully wiped out.

The game itself looks impressive. No more of that F.E.A.R. box style PC gaming here, Fear 2 definitely brings itself to the console gaming with its own style and enough to boast to keep the FPS’s today worried. The controls are relatively easy to pick up whether you’re a FPS vet or not. Whilst the online doesn’t boast a hell of a lot from what online games are like today, Fear 2 provides more than enough to keep you going until after you’ve finished the campaign.

Alma’s back and February 2009 cant come too soon.

F.E.A.R. Files Review

August 10, 2009 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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F.E.A.R. Files

Published by: Sierra
Developed by: TimeGate / Day 1 Studios
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date:
US: November 6, 2007
Europe: November 16, 2007
Australia: November 30, 2007

Alma’s returned, and she’s brought friends…

To those of you who had played and finished F.E.A.R. I’m sure, like me you all thought ‘Oh man…what could happen next?’ and for quite a while anyone without a PC was left to continue thinking that. We hoped for the expansion in form of DLC but Sierra waited. But did they gave us the ‘Stand alone pack’ no Fear fan should be without?

Whilst pondering on the near on exact replicated Main Menu from its original your faced with two campaigns to choose from. Extraction Point (EP) and Perseus Mandate (PM) You can chose either one, or both and have individual saves on each so you can continue your experience from either game.

Extraction point picks up straight from F.E.A.R. where the credits FMV left you, and your mission is to escape from the city with your 2 F.E.A.R. operatives. Your objective is to reach the Extraction Point safely for pickup which…happens to be almost on the other side of town. Clever that eh?

Reduced: 90% of original size [ 800 x 450 ] – Click to view full image

Perseus Mandate follows a separate F.E.A.R. team sent in to investigate Armchams layouts. This one is set a short time before the ending of the first game and continues after. In this you learn more about Alma’s past and meet a new enemy the ‘Nightcrawlers’ along with a different project going by the name Perseus.

The sound with F.E.A.R. has always played a key pay in building the atmosphere the game keeps you in. Walking around loose objects can cause you to scare yourself by knocking them over or off shelves and the sounds of some of the ’shocker’ scenes can really creep into your head and scare the hell out of you.

Visually, there’s been no advancements from the original. It looks and feels exactly the same as its predecessor. That isn’t always a bad thing, but sometimes the buildings your in still have that ‘square, old PC game’ look whilst can kind of take down the feel of realism a peg or two. Unfortunately because of this, it makes the game feel very dull and repetitive due to the lack of change in scenery.

What hasn’t changed is the gripping edge the game always has upon you. Whether it’s the fact when your Flashlight battery needs recharging your literally stranded in pitch black or it’s the freaky noises you here creeping around the next corner.

Reduced: 90% of original size [ 800 x 450 ] – Click to view full image

Having played F.E.A.R. a lot. I’m used to the traits the game has regarding its scary moments. They usually jump you with ‘in your face scary’ moments usually when you turn around from a dead end or on the opposite end of glass and even though you train yourself to expect them…they still got me. Every time. I frequently remember telling myself ‘Well, nothing much has happened lately and I’ve reached a dead end…I bet if I turn arou- OH JESUS CHRIST’. And each time…it scares the living hell out of me.

Another trait Fear has had which they continue though this one is the sheer amount of blood you see painted on the walls. You get the feeling they start with the blood and then add the walls around it sometimes. With piles of bodies and people being dragged through small holes in the floor, this game is still not for the queasy and deserves its 18+ rating.

Sadly, the game follows its original in being a completely linear path game. No forks, no opportunities to be different or adventurous. Just a straight forward route. What’s worse is how if you ever find yourself lost or stuck in direction, it’s as simple as looking for a Air Vent cover to whack through. That’s about as complex as route taking gets.

To liven battles up a little, the high tech enemies come with some new high tech weapons including lasers, turrets, grenade launchers and lightening guns. These weapons, because of their high powered abilities are rarely seen until the very end, when there all over the place.

To stick with the ‘copy/paste’ theme. The online multiplayer is exactly the same, except they’ve removed all the health-packs your friends drop. The downloadable game types are now in the game properly and there’s a handful of new maps to play. All the usual ones are still there.

Reduced: 90% of original size [ 800 x 450 ] – Click to view full image

Expectedly Extraction Point is very short lived with it only having a selection of intervals the game is quick and you’ll find yourself on PM quickly. Perseus Mandate is a little longer. Its shorter than F.E.A.R. but still considerably longer than EP.

The extra difficulties and Instant Action games can add a small bit of life, but with an inactive multiplayer it wont take long before you grow bored of the single player game.

Conclusion: A nice add on for the story, with plenty of moments that’ll make you jump. The lack of storyline fails to answer any questions you may have had from #1. And you only ask more after finishing both campaigns. If you’re a total F.E.A.R. nut then this is for you. If your not so hot on repetitive scenery and a lack of real advancement from the predecessor, then you may be better off waiting for Project Origin.

My Rating: 7.2

F.E.A.R. Review

August 5, 2009 at 3:05 am | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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F.E.A.R.

Published by: Vivendi Games
Developed by: Day 1 / Monolith Productions
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Number of Players: 1-2
Release Date:
US: October 31, 2006
Europe: November 10, 2006
Also Available On: PC, PlayStation 3

Features: 16:9 Support, 720p Support, Dolby Digital 5.1, Xbox Live, Memory Unit, Custom Soundtrack, Downloadable Content

Little girls with long black hair hit our screens and soil our pants…

This game isn�t necessarily a must own for all Xbox 360 owners, but it�s a damn good game to have in your collection. Not only is the storyline unique and the atmosphere keeping even the steady of us quivering our trigger finger but its just an enjoyable game to play for either the serious gamer or the casual pick-up-and-play kind. Those of you who have played or own Condemned however, will thoroughly enjoy this.

The weapons sound just how they should. These days its hard to find a gun in a game that doesn�t sound exactly how it should. The background music consists of eerie sounds to just add to the atmosphere the game builds. Although one thing I saw a lot is that sudden music (which is played in game in time with a �jump� scene. Is often either played a second too soon, or the place is so dark you couldn�t tell something had happened. This often happens when a figure walks by a door or pokes its head around a corner, chances are if you missed it happening for whatever reason, the music will ruin it for you and you�ll know what to look for.

Graphics: Graphics are really well done, it does have a �Half Life� feel to it after all it being done by Sierra but its still a really good job putting the Next Gen graphics to great use. Elements are often the hardest things to create in a virtual world. Fire is used a lot in F.E.A.R. and its some of the best fire effects you�ll see, in any game this year. By seeing a screenshot or two, you�ll also have realized this game isn�t for the faint hearted. This game is one of the most gore filled you�ll get with blood spurting out of gun-shot wounds. Being able to decapitate or dismember enemies or even turn them into a cloud of thick blood and organs (all which cover the surrounding walls) and that�s only the shotgun. Other guns like the �Penetrator� fires what could only be described at �metal stakes� when shooting this the killing shot will throw the enemy backwards and pin him to the nearest wall or whatever is behind him, putting the physics into good use also. Body physics on enemies and your character are realistic with bodies flying from explosions and guards shooting their guns in the air as they fall. A plasma gun found late into the game strips enemies of skin and muscle to leave only a skeleton, charred, and if all is quiet�sizzling.

The controls are relatively easy to get hold of, the addition with �Slo-Mo� is your typical bullet time feature, only you don�t slow down as much, everything else does, as this slow motion feature is to your characters �heightened reflexes and senses�. Granted, your no Mr. Anderson, but it sure does help a 1:6 ratio. Its either you, or them. The path is pretty linear with the occasional moment of having to run around with your disastrous headlamp to find a way around some sort of obstacle. I say disastrous, I actually mean horrifically useless. A simple press of the D-Up and your path is lit up for you to see in those more than often dark areas. Only problem, it doesn�t seem to work quite well, it switches off after 45 seconds or less, leaving you in the dark to recharge it, granted it only takes a few seconds to recharge, but being apart of a national organization specifically built to be ready for paranormal encounters, a fully operational torch would be something on the Christmas list. Oh Santa?

To me, the storyline hasn�t quite made sense. Some guy named Fattel has cloned a battalion of soldiers. He controls them telepathically to aid him in his search to �free� this little girl in red. From what I�ve discovered playing through, she�s not the kind of ghoul you want to sit down and chat with. Though the story isn�t told completely to you, and some of the times where they talk you can�t quite hear them through the coms clearly, the objectives are simple. You�re at point A. Go to point B to follow someone, search for something, or help someone. You�re more than happy to blast your way through to where you need to be. The only thing between you is a good 50+ men and some freaky encounters with something paranormal (I.E. Flashbacks or strange disintegrating people or that damn little girl and her flamey angst.

With the 11 Intervals (Levels) this game will keep the average player going for a week or so depending on how much they play it. A hardcore gamer it�ll last them a day or two. Despite the objectives being straight forward, it does have its moments where you�re having to restart from the same checkpoint a few times. As well as the campaign there�s a really well made Online game. With a variety of maps and all the guns there to keep you company, along with achievements which require 50 kills with each weapon per achievement. The maps are also quite fun to play around with. There�s also an �Instant Action� mode, which is basically a Quick start game, where you start in certain areas featured in the Campaign and go through in a time limit killing tons of enemies they throw at you, almost like a survival but your actually following a path and not staying in one place, there�s about 5 maps to this with a number of extra difficulties. A few of the achievements can add to length also with 2 achievements, 1 requiring you to go through the game with NO slo motion. And 1 requiring NO health boosts (These are things you find hidden in little areas of the game that sometimes aren�t easy to find, the will add 5% to your health each time starting from 100).

Calling out all gamers who like something different, enjoy something to scare them and have a good loyal dry cleaners who doesn�t mind washing your underpants. This game is something to have in your collection. You may fly through the campaign relatively easy but the online is something that has me still loading this game back up time after time.

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