F.E.A.R. 2 PS3 / Xbox 360

F.E.A.R. 2 PS3 / Xbox 360
Part prequel, part sequel, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is the first official continuation of Monolith's F.E.A.R., a horror FPS that combined fantastic and frantic action sequences with some genuine scares. Monolith has finally taken back the reins of the franchise and developed a shooter that's well worth the asking price.

Story was by far the biggest problem with F.E.A.R., mostly because the mysteries presented were never clearly answered. Project Origin definitely succeeds in this area, but if it has any weakness it's that the story isn't paced evenly, with the first half of the game being far less interesting than the latter. Project Origin starts a bit before the end of the first game, but from a brand new perspective. You play the part of a Special Forces soldier tasked with what seems like a routine job: take a corporate executive into custody. Of course, things are never simple in these situations and you're quickly thrown into the middle of corporate conspiracies and paranormal activity.

While the pacing of the story is uneven, the game mixes action, intensity and scares at a constant and exhilarating pace. F.E.A.R. was praised for having smart, devious enemies, and that still applies here. The opposing forces aren't satisfied by just finding cover and popping up for a shot every few seconds; they'll flank you, grenade you and communicate your position with each other constantly. No encounter is ever identical and even with the game's "bullet time" mechanic, which allows you to slow down the environment to give you an advantage, you'll constantly be forced to think on your feet. Project Origin also throws in some vehicle sections to break up the action, allowing you to control large mechs. These sections are few and far between, but whether or not they're necessary is debatable.

Project Origin also labels itself a horror game, and while I wouldn't exactly call it horrifying, it'll definitely give you a couple good scares. Some of these come from creatures popping out to startle you, but the game also employs some nice visual paranormal effects to set a constant state of apprehension.

Project Origin's strength comes from the pace and intensity of its action and you'll fire thousands of rounds in dozens of white-knuckle shootouts before the climactic final fight. The story is intriguing and the paranormal effects will leave you scared, startled and grossed out. Put that all together and F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is the total package. (Monolith/Warner)