I find it'll be easier and less messy if I just put this as a Pro's and Con's list rather than an essay type review. At least for the most part.
-The graphics are quite good (player models, environments, etc), even by today's standards.
-Similarly, lighting and shadows are similarly fantastic.
-The voice acting is quite good as well. Notable actors such as Jen Taylor (Halo Series), Phil LaMarr (Halo, Metal Gear Solid Series) and John Patrick Lowrie (Half Life 2, Team Fortress 2) make an appearance in this game.
-While I see that some disagree, I quite liked the story, and thought it elaborated more on Alma and the Armacham Corporation's backstories and helped make me more sympathetic towards Alma.
-I also thought the environments were a bit more varied than the first, although there are still a couple cut and paste corridors now and then.
-The physics and game engine are quite good, and you don't need top of the line specs to run a good looking game like this.
-Several improvements were added (IMO) such as ADS, Sprinting, moveable cover, destructable environments (kind of), and more.
-Sound effects (except for a couple weapons) and overall audio are top notch, easily some of the best I've heard in a game.
-The sense of tension from the first game is still there, albeit toned down a little bit.
-The Elementary School level 'nuff said.
-Also unlike some, I enjoyed the ending, even if it was a bit WTF? at first.
-There's also an awesome mech suit portion
, even if it is a little out of place in a "Horror" game.
-There's a lot more, but those are the major things.
-The game isn't as scary as the first, while I wouldn't call any of the F.E.A.R.'s genuinely horrifying (I'm pretty hard to scare however, not true for some people) the game often made noises, or flickered my HUD and either did nothing with it, or focused the scare somewhere where the player's attention wasn't designed to be focused.
-Some of the gun's lacked the "Oomph" they had in the first game, particulary the Shotgun and the Sniper Rifle (The latter wasn't in the first game). I quite enjoyed the feel of the shotgun in the first F.E.A.R, the one in F.E.A.R. 2 though feels and sounds particularly lackluster. Grenades also lack that "Bam, Pow!" sound when they explode, even if the explosion looks cool.
-The game is easier than the first one, which is caused by several things. On Moderate difficulty (a.k.a Normal) I often found myself just walking out and shooting enemies using Slow-Mo without even touching any sort of cover, something that you couldn't get away with nearly as much in the first game. Slow-Mo also lasts longer than the first game, at some points later in the game (after collecting reflex boosters) I could finish entire firefights in one use of Slow-Mo. I also didn't die very much, something I can't say from the last game either. Also, enemies aren't quite the bullet sponges they were in the first game (not a bad thing IMO), but this makes for firefights being a LOT easier, even with lots of enemies.
-The game is also shorter than the last one, the last one took me around 8-9 hours to beat, this one only about 7.
-The Enemy A.I. has definitely been tuned down from the first game, it's not awful, but many enemies will run out of cover, or rush you for no reason, which is a big change from how they acted in the first game. I've also watched A.I. blow themselves up with grenades and just not run away from them in general (Although this was rare.)
Personal Cons (less important stuff and silly nitpicking, but maybe these things bug you as well):
- Paxton Fettel
isn't in the MAIN game aside from being mentioned in documents. (I know he is in the DLC. But I liked him quite a bit in F.E.A.R 1)
-They took out the option to lean in and out of cover.
-The game has a more CoD/ modern shooter feel, rather than it's more unique first game feel.
-Speaking of which, this game added QTE's, there's not a crazy amount and their done with a decent amount of taste, but I still think they were unnecessary.
-The default controls are really odd, Shift to aim, right mouse to melee, V for thermal vision (which you use only once or twice in the whole game AND it's not necessary) the first game had similarly wonky controls, but it's still an odd thing to not change with a sequel. However, the controls are easily rebindable.
-The film grain visual option is on by default, it adds a nice atmosphere to the look of the game, but after a while began to give me a headache when combined with the motion blur, so I turned the film grain off.
-There's a turret section, two of them to be exact.
-All Armacham and Replica Soldiers
look pretty much the same, aside from the visual differences based on the "type" of enemy. They also don't sound as badass as they did in the first game. Hearing a Replica soldier yell "Flashlight!" in a gruff voice was kinda awesome.
-The game also uses the horror game trope of somehow magically seperating you from your squadmates, and the FPS trope of having the environment become destroyed to become a perfect pathway to get somewhere.
-For such a good looking game, most of the skyboxes in this game look pretty bad and you can even see that the skyboxes go under the level in some places.
-You are also a stereotypical mute protagonist, which makes for a couple of odd "conversations" with your squadmates.
Now, I don't usually give a number score with my reviews, (be it Steam or elsewhere), but I feel it's necessary with this one. Why? Because despite me having seemingly more gripes than likes about this game, I don't want you to feel that impression.
I like this game quite a bit, almost as much as the first game, and would highly recommend you buy it. $14.99 is pretty good price to pay, or about 9.18 Quid/British Pounds. It's a good shooter overall, and a pretty decent horror game besides that, which makes for an pretty good game all around.
Finally, for the magic number, I'd give it an 8.5/10.