Project Origin is a direct follow up to the original game released in 2005. It took Monolith 4 years to cook up a sequel and they decided not to change much on the formula that has worked once. But 4 years is a long time and sometimes innovation is better than playing it safe. That's exactly why Project Origin falls short of its predecessor. The formula remained the same, but the audience has changed.
The game picks up right the time when the first games is about to end. To be precise, it starts a couple of minutes before the end of F.E.A.R. You are a part of Delta Squad and you're sent to place the head of Armacham Technology Corporation into protective custody. It's when sh*t starts to get serious and a nuclear blast bakes most of the city as a result of the original F.E.A.R. team's endgame. In the rest of the game you move in and out of underground facilities trying to achieve your ultimate goal. Even though the campaign lasts only around 7 hours the story is detailed and interesting. On the other side, you have to pay attention to every detail that happens around you or told to you on the comm because if not you'll find yourself lost in the web organisations and projects thrown at you in every couple of hours. At least if you do get lost eventually right before the end of the game everything will be cleared up in 5 short minutes.
The gameplay is very similar to the first game. Little has changed; slow-mo shooting is still great but the novelty has faded in the past four years. You will meet various enemies during your gameplay starting from soldiers, genetically modified monsters, mechs to ghosts even. The game will always try to throw something new at you which is nice, but eventually you'll immediately recognize the spacey room where a firefight is going to take place in 3...2...1.
AI was a strong part of the first game and it returns in the second one too. However, it doesn't always work like it meant to be. Sometimes the enemies will be clever enough to kick over tables and take covers, but in other cases they will try to rush you through the same door where you'll stand and shoot them one by one. The Delta Squad, your mates aren't the most brightest either. Most of the times you'll see them splitting up and getting killed (because of the story) and the writers could've written better lines for the voice actors too. Being a psychological game you'll never feel surprised of your team members being killed off. What is worse you'll never feel pity for them because they're unlikable, two-dimensional dolls.
Visually F.E.A.R. 2 is a real mystery. On one hand it presents a great world with some stunning lighting effects and great destructibility, on the other hand it's ugly. Everything looks sharp when you move, but stop for a moment a take closer look at minor objects, like consoles or books on desks. They look downresd, blurry and pixelated. The devil is in the details as they say. In the year when hardware pushing games like Modern Warfare 2, Resident Evil 5 or Killzone 2 were put on the shelves of retailers this kind of laziness is disappointing. One can look aside when it comes to these problems, but then there is the audio. The sounds of guns are just atrocious; every one of them sounds like they were taken out from an 80s Atari 7800 game. Every shot you have to take with the shotgun or machine gun irritates your ears. It's like firing with toy guns from the crappiest Chinese manufacturer.
F.E.A.R. is a decent shooter with its flaws and assets. The formula that made the first game great has aged greatly and the horror factor is M.I.A. in most of the game. Great number of "tricks" has already been used up in the previous title or other games. When the horror is present the game feels like a real successor of the prequel, but those moments sadly end quickly. It definitely has its moments when it comes to shooting (the mech scenes are great), but drawbacks won't allow to have an experience like with the original F.E.A.R. game.
Rating: 68/100; Replay Value: 2/5; To Beat: 7 hours; Played on: normal.