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Review: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the revenge-of-the-punctuation dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 217

First-person shooters comprise one of the most well-developed video game genres in existence. The number of high-quality games and franchises practically demands that any new entry must have an interesting concept and a rock-solid engine. Otherwise, it will quickly get buried under an avalanche of award-winning titles. When the original F.E.A.R. came out in 2005, a well-crafted horror theme, the AI, and a few gameplay innovations allowed it to succeed despite direct competition from established franchises, such as Quake 4 and Call of Duty 2, among others. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin draws on the strengths of its predecessor and adds a few improvements. The question that now remains is whether or not the additions make up for the fact that the game's concept is no longer new and unique. Read on for the rest of my thoughts.

  • Title: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
  • Developer: Monolith Productions
  • Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • System: Windows, PS3, Xbox 360
  • Reviewer: Soulskill
  • Score: 7/10

The game starts out with a bang; the first act is extremely well designed. You begin in much the same manner as the first game, given little information and left to wonder what, exactly, is going on. You start in a military transport headed to pick up the president of Armachan Technology Corporation — the typical big, evil corporation developing things they really shouldn't. You're introduced to your squad-mates and then quickly separated from them while being taught some of the gameplay basics. The first serious firefight in the game is located within a room filled with antiques, ceramics, and vases stored in huge glass display cases. It's a brilliant choice in setting — priceless decorations shatter and glass flies everywhere. It's almost theatrical; like being a part of a high-budget action flick. As you shoot your way through the increasingly porous living quarters, hallucinations are induced by Alma, the deranged, telepathic, and telekinetic girl from the first game. The act ends when you witness a nuclear explosion far closer than is healthy, and shortly thereafter struggle to remain conscious as the corporation's doctors do something to you.

It's worth saying again — the first level is incredibly cool. Unfortunately, subsequent levels aren't able to match it. I suppose that's to be expected; after all, it's a horror-themed shooter rather than an epic adventure shooter, but the first level does tend to set expectations. For the next few acts, F.E.A.R. 2 treads mostly on familiar ground. You spend a great deal of time escaping an underground hospital/science facility, and wander your way through broken streets with crumbling buildings. That's not to say it's bad, or even unenjoyable ; the settings are still polished and full of detail, and the plot is continually prodded along in an interesting manner. It's just been done before, and often. If you've played a wide variety of first-person shooters, these levels will probably bring a sense of deja vu . Things pick back up after a while, though. You'll navigate your way through a school that was the site of much violence and destruction, go down into the subway, and even further into a high-tech underground tram. The less you know about any given setting, the more easily it lends itself to creepiness, so the more unique environments in F.E.A.R. 2 keep you focused on the horror aspect much better than the stereotypical science labs.

The visual effects that contribute to the horror theme are integrated quite well into the gameplay. The transition from your normal perception to hallucination is often gradual and seamless. Other times, it's sharp and distinct, using the shock of the immediate change to add an ominous vibe. Sometimes your flashlight will start to flicker in a dark area, and you'll begin to hear your character's panicked breathing and rapid heart rate. I'm on the fence about that; it's used to great effect in a few situations, but since fear in the character isn't mirrored by fear in the player, it also tends to serve as an indicator that something surprising is going to happen — thus negating the surprise. Other horror standards come in to play too. Every so often, Alma will flash into existence somewhere near you, and then disappear. Almost too often... but they find ways of keeping it interesting. The music and sound effects are very well done, laying the foundation for tense scenes, the foreshadowing of a terrible discovery, or giving your fight-or-flight reflexes a little boost.

The art team doesn't hesitate to try and scare you with gore, either. The scene I mentioned earlier where you see portions of a medical procedure being performed on yourself is interspersed with hallucinations of zombie doctors tearing out your insides, with gouts of blood flying in every direction. At one point, you sneak up behind a couple of enemy soldiers trying to decipher a huge section of wall that is covered with random words, symbols, and obscenities — all painted with blood. It really does look like something drawn by a psychotic killer, such that I wondered if they contracted the design from a local loony bin. (And presumably, your character feels no cognitive dissonance from gunning down those soldiers, which itself is kind of surreal.) Bloodstains are used liberally, as are all manner of brutal killings. This is definitely not a game for kids or people who faint at the sight of blood. Even aside from the violence and gore, the other artwork is also well done. The attention to detail is refreshing; rooms and objects are correctly proportioned to a greater extent than most shooters. A malfunctioning X-ray machine with throw a series of disjointed X-ray photographs onto a nearby computer monitor. You'll even see T.P.S. reports scattered about an office desk. Everything looks like a real environment, not just an approximation pasted onto an abstract level design.

One of the signature gameplay elements of F.E.A.R. 2 is "reflex time," an ability carried over from the first game. Press a button and, for a short duration, time slows down, giving you a massive advantage over your opponents in a fight. The intention is to make the player feel like an action hero, able to dodge and aim with supernatural speed, and it works. It also makes most fights very easy; I'd recommend going through the game on Normal if it's your first FPS, and on Hard if you have any significant experience. The weapons are another area where F.E.A.R. 2 sets itself apart. There really aren't any bad weapons. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but you won't spend much time wishing you had a different gun. Even the basic pistol and your melee attack are powerful enough to be interesting. There are definitely some weapons that are more fun, like the missile launcher, the napalm gun, and the laser, but in the end you just wind up switching weapons fairly often as ammo runs out, which does a lot to keep the fights from getting boring.

Another instrument they use to keep the fights interesting is the AI, which, as with the first game, is better than average. Enemies are constantly shifting position, finding new cover, and ducking out from behind an obstacle to shoot at you. It forces you to remain active; camping out behind a barrel will get you killed as enemies advance on you. That's not to say it's without flaws; sometimes a soldier will decide to crawl underneath some hanging metal — a very slow maneuver — while you stand five feet away holding a machine gun. The effectiveness of the AI also varies depending on the type of enemy you fight. There are quite a few different kinds, but you wind up fighting the standard soldiers a disproportionate amount of the time, and they handle the AI better than any others. Other enemies tend to be used for dramatic effect. You'll encounter zombie-like creatures that scuttle quickly on all fours, though they are much less scary when you can slow down time. Another type is almost invisible until they attack hand-to-hand. One of the tougher creatures reanimates dead soldiers, and then finds something to hide behind. They take quite a bit of firepower to kill, so you can expect to deal with the revived grunts repeatedly.

Scattered throughout the game are a few situations where you interact with the environment, and a few QTEs. Both are underutilized to the point where they don't really add anything to the gameplay. The QTEs just involve hammering on a button until you win; it's very simple and doesn't really require any effort or brainpower. Granted, most QTEs are added as a way to keep the player connected to a few mini-cutscenes, but the end result isn't very satisfying. The times when you interact with objects are also very shallow; hold down a single button to move an obstacle out of the way, or to close a valve, or to open a set of elevator doors. The added seconds don't really have any affect on what happens to you, so why take the extra time when you can open a regular door with a single click? I'm going to lump the new part of the cover system in with this as well. You can now flip over tables and crouch behind them to shield yourself from enemy fire. It's neat, but there's really no advantage to doing that instead of hiding behind a crate or the corner of a wall. Existing cover is plentiful.

F.E.A.R. 2 infrequently offers a few different ways of fighting. The vast majority of the time, you're on foot holding a weapon of some sort, but you occasionally get to control a turret or a mech. Turrets are very much an upgrade in firepower. Far more enemies swarm than you could normally handle, but the turret cuts them down with ease. Controlling the turret is very easy; some games put silly restrictions like very slow rotation or poor accuracy, but F.E.A.R. 2 gets it right. It's quite fun, and my only complaint is that there aren't more opportunities to use them. The mechs, or "Powered Armor" units are even more powerful, but still very fun and easy to control. You get a couple of mini-guns and a set of rocket launchers, as well as a thermal imaging mode (think Predator). Aside from those two scenarios, there aren't a lot of variations in gameplay. At one point, you're riding on a speeding tram, but you're just walking around on top of it while enemies come to you. There isn't much scenery, and you wouldn't have much time to watch it anyway. The sequence is still fun, but it doesn't hold a candle to similar situations in, say, Gears of War 2.

The game's multiplayer falls into the same trap as the early single-player campaign. It's good, it's fun, and it's interesting, but there's nothing to set it apart from the multiplayer mode of half a dozen other good, fun, interesting shooters. The horror aspect is, of course, completely gone, and the signature time-slowing ability doesn't work because it'd be impossible to code. It has all the standard FPS modes of play (deathmatch, team deathmatch, CTF), and a few other team games that focus on controlling particular points of the map. Armored Front has five such points aligned in a linear manner such that only one is in conflict at a time. You either push the enemy back through successive points or get pushed back yourself. You can use turrets andmechs as well. As I mentioned earlier, all the weapons are relatively powerful in F.E.A.R. 2, and this becomes quite evident in multiplayer games. Players die very quickly without studious use of cover. It may be the case that all the weapons are tuned to be more powerful than they should be. The fights aren't always decided by the first shot, but it happens often enough to be a problem. The maps themselves are, for the most part, very good. There are perhaps a few too many intersections, and a few to many directions you need to watch for enemies, but otherwise they flow quite nicely.

F.E.A.R. 2 is an entertaining game. It's almost exactly what you'd expect out of a triple-A first-person shooter — no more, no less. If you're looking for a quality game and have no problem putting yourself in a state of mind to be creeped out, it will do the job nicely. If you're looking for a title that will push the boundaries of the genre, you're probably better off waiting for another game. There are some great parts to F.E.A.R. 2, and Monolith deserves a lot of credit for making them work as well as they did. This game had the misfortune of coming out after a wave of other, equally compelling titles. It doesn't fall behind, but it doesn't really stand out, either. The bottom line is that if you enjoy horror and first-person shooters, you'll enjoy this game. If your tastes run elsewhere.. well, there's plenty more to pick from.

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Alma is hot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26902617)

Not the adolescent version, but the child.

Yours forever,
Pedobear

No More - No Less (5, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902787)

It's almost exactly what you'd expect out of a triple-A first-person shooter -- no more, no less.

File under mediocre. I love my consoles, and I love the vast audience that have been introduced to gaming through their living room charms. But I've hated, hated, hated the way that, somehow, games like Halo have come to be seen as groundbreaking.

People - we have been here before. We have done it before. I do not wish to do it again, only this time prettier. That is not a game. That is a tech demo.

I am quite simply astounded that MOST games have not yet equalled the functionality or interactivity of Duke Nukem 3D, let alone surpassed it. The game is THIRTEEN YEARS OLD. It has been out for a number of years approaching half of my life, and we still don't see our reflections in the mirror in most games. And we still don't get blood dribbling down walls in most games. And we still don't get bloody, or slimy footprints, or shrink rays, or jet packs, or aliens sitting on fucking toilets.

It's been thirteen years and every time a new game does ONE of these things it's hailed as a goddamn miracle.

I know that, with the switch to true 3D, a lot of these things got harder to do. But it has been THIRTEEN YEARS. We've come far enough to tackle some of them.

Re:No More - No Less (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902863)

we still don't see our reflections in the mirror in most games. And we still don't get blood dribbling down walls in most games. And we still don't get bloody, or slimy footprints, or shrink rays, or jet packs, or aliens sitting on fucking toilets.

Agreed. I'd stick w/ Doom II any day of the week. Not quite sure about the aliens on toilets, though. I don't seem to recall...facilities... aboard the Enterprise.

=Smidge=

Re:No More - No Less (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26902899)

Have you even played it? I understand your rant and share your opinion on many games lately but I don't think it applies to this one.. The gameplay and atmosphere is fantastic.. And by the way you say it's a 'tech demo' but then you rant how games lately don't have this and that TECH feature. FEAR2 was great in my opinion, and the engine is pretty good from a tech perspective also. Only complaints for the game: it's a bit too linear (it's always 100% obvious were you need to go) and it was kind of short. But well worth playing IMO

Re:No More - No Less (1)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903011)

I understand your rant and share your opinion on many games lately but I don't think it applies to this one..

I disagree. I think my rant - and it is a rant, I recognise that - applies to the BETTER games more than it applies to the worse ones. At least the bad games are just bad, and there was never much to hope for them. No, my rant applies directly to F.E.A.R 2 and Killzone 2, and games of that quality and ilk, because these games are best-in-show examples of what we've come to expect from an FPS. They're expertly polished, and almost flawlessly presented.

And somehow that's supposed to be enough for anyone. But progress is about continuing to improve on ideas, not just on principles.

Do you have any IDEA how amazing it was to have a pool table where you could kick the balls around, in 1996? If we'd kept up with that level of innovation, I don't even know where we'd be today. Fully destructable environments, and phonecalls where you could have a realistic conversation with the AI via your headset, I would imagine.

Re:No More - No Less (1, Interesting)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904561)

Do you have any IDEA how amazing it was to have a pool table where you could kick the balls around, in 1996? If we'd kept up with that level of innovation, I don't even know where we'd be today. Fully destructable environments, and phonecalls where you could have a realistic conversation with the AI via your headset, I would imagine.

And instead they innovated in different ways, ones that actually improved the game rather than add pointless fluff.

And please stop acting as if the fact that they didn't invent your "fully destructable environments", "Talking AIs", or "fully interactive environments" that they haven't innovated. What you are missing is that for the most part, all of the innovations you've touted so far in all these comments are about as useful as the fabled flying car and haven't been introduced in games for the same reason we don't have flying cars. I.E. They are pointless and inefficient.

Re:No More - No Less (5, Insightful)

Alastor187 (593341) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905413)

Whether the parents specific innovations are of interest to 'you' or not isn't the point. What he is talking about is innovations that would increase the feel of immersion in the game. Obviously, these will differ between people.

Ultimately, Duke3D created an immersive environmental like no other game of the time and most importantly it was fun. I remember putting dozens of pipe-bombs around a laser trip mine just because it was fun. A single trip mine alone would be enough to kill an enemy, but adding some pipe bombs just so Duke says "Let God Sort Em' Out" is classic.

Blowing up an enemy in another room while watching on the security camera or giving money to the strippers when my parents weren't watching, it was great. It was innovative and entertaining.

Jet-packs, subways, earth-quakes, novel weapons, snide comments, and more it really set the bar for all games that would follow. Kicking the final boss' Cyclopes eye through the goal post is just awesome. "Game Over" enough said.

THANK YOU (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26902901)

"...hated the way that, somehow, games like Halo have come to be seen as groundbreaking."

I love you. I've been saying this for ages. There is absolutely no single aspect of Halo - absolutely none - that hasn't been implemented better in games that have come out years beforehand. Story, graphics, gameplay (both single player and multiplayer). Halo is 100% average in every regard.

Re:THANK YOU (2, Interesting)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903073)

Yes, but Halo gave people a reason to own X-Boxes. I remember those days... everyone bought an X-Box because it had the best specs (better than PS2 or Gamecube) but no one made games for it.

Suddenly, Halo comes out, it's not only the _only_ FPS at the time for X-Box, it's one of the only GAMES. So everyone who has an X-Box _has_ to play it, and they like it by default.

Re:THANK YOU (4, Insightful)

PrimalChrome (186162) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903931)

Halo was available when the XBox launched.

Re:THANK YOU (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903425)

I'm glad I'm not the only one.

I've noticed that console games in general seem to be held to very different standards from PC games. I only rarely play a supposedly-great console game that would qualify as anything other than mediocre in the PC world.

Halo's a biggie. Talk about average--hell, maybe even a bit below average. Metroid Prime? Playable. An average-at-best retreading of already-covered ground. Reminded me more of The Gunman Chronicles than anything else, which would be AWESOME if it had come out in 1999. Oblivion? Flawed beyond belief. Morrowind got a pass on its flaws (which were numerous, though less critical IMO than those in Oblivion) because it was giving us something new. Oblivion was a step back in nearly every way except graphics, yet it was hailed as the second coming because it was a console release (so was Morrowind--it was ported to the X-box--but I don't think anyone actually bought the console version, and it was awful)

God of War? Good? It's a boring version of Painkiller with a slightly better theme.

Re:THANK YOU (2, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903547)

I've noticed that console games in general seem to be held to very different standards from PC games. I only rarely play a supposedly-great console game that would qualify as anything other than mediocre in the PC world.

The ones that are exceptional are the ones that have given us something new. Shadow of the Colossus - wow.

Re:THANK YOU (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904611)

I'm very excited to try that one. Actually bought it used a few months ago, but my wife played it, hated it, and sold it back, thinking that I'd told her I'd already played it and hadn't liked it either (I'd been talking about a different game--Metroid Prime or REIV, I can't remember). Grrrr...

She didn't like Sands of Time, either. Some times I wonder what's wrong with her. Oh well, at least she likes Left 4 Dead :)

Re:THANK YOU (1)

Pervaricator General (1364535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905063)

Wow! I finally found out what the crap Adam Sandler was playing obsessively in Reign Over Me. Crap, now I've got Billy Joel stuck in my head...

Re:THANK YOU (0, Troll)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904013)

I'm glad I'm not the only one.

You're one of the only ones who still has a stick up his arse about playing console games. God of War is Painkiller? Give me a fucking break. Metroid Prime was a retread? What other game seamlessly blended story, action, and precision control?

What's your next nonsensical utterance? Mario Galaxy was Commander Keen? Little Big Planet was Starcraft without the Protoss? Look, I can fallaciously equate completely different games as well!

Re:THANK YOU (4, Insightful)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904645)

Metroid Prime was a retread? What other game seamlessly blended story, action, and precision control?

Hm. Either we have vastly different backgrounds in gaming, or each of us played a different Metroid Prime. Or perhaps you're using different definitions from the ones I'm familiar with for some of those words.

What's your next nonsensical utterance? Mario Galaxy was Commander Keen? Little Big Planet was Starcraft without the Protoss? Look, I can fallaciously equate completely different games as well!

Haven't played either yet--I'm only up to last-generation in consoles so far. I've dug every Mario game I've played. Commander Keen is an interesting game to bring up, because it's one of the only platformers on the PC that's even remotely in the same ballpark as console platformers (I'd put Hunter Hunted and Duke Nukem 2 in that category, as well). Platformers remain the domain of the console, as do JRPGS and 3rd person adventure games, and there are some spectacular console games in those genres.

I never said there aren't good (even great) console games--I've just found that a lot of the ones that get big press and are very highly reviewed don't even come close to living up to their reputations when I actually get around to playing them. Hell, a lot of them I've even played primarily on the PC (Halo and Oblivion, for instance) and still find them to be simply average, so it's not a matter of what system I'm playing them on.

I like plenty of console games, and I don't even hate the other games I've mentioned--I just fail to see what the fuss is about. Some of the blockbuster "10 out of 10" games are, IMO, more like a 7-out-of-10, and especially don't deserve to be anywhere near the best-games-ever lists that they frequently end up on. That last bit especially is what gets me--they frequently stick an OK console game on those lists at the expense of a much, much better PC game in the same genre. I don't get all upset over it or anything--hell, not like it makes my favorite games any less good when I play them--I just find it perplexing.

Oh, another not-very-good game that got rave reviews: Resident Evil IV. I was really looking forward to it--sounded right up my alley--but damn, that thing's a mess. There's no excuse for such clumsy-ass controls in a game these days, especially not in a survival horror game where such things will ruin the immersion that's the whole damn point. Jesus christ, I haven't seen a console shooter-type game with such bad controls since some of the worst ones on the N64. Guess I'll just go replay goddamned Silent Hill instead.

Re:THANK YOU (1)

the white plague (1436257) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904913)

I don't care that console games are retreads. It does irritate me that mediocre games, Halo for example, are hailed as wonderful games. I hate dual-development brain damage in UIs. I hate seeing marketing tie-ins lead to technology decisions to use shitty systems like games for windows live.

Re:THANK YOU (1)

jaraxle (1707) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904063)

Morrowind got a pass on its flaws (which were numerous, though less critical IMO than those in Oblivion) because it was giving us something new.

And even there you're wrong, as many fans of TES say that even Morrowind is a pale comparison to Daggerfall (which had its fair share of bugs as well). Personally I've loved every TES game that I've played since Arena (never played Redguard or Battlespire) and am enjoying Oblivion very much, despite what many others say.

Face it, when you break it down video games are just like movies. Everything's been done before and there's almost nothing original coming out.

My step-son told me I *had* to play Halo 2 because it was the greatest thing ever. I just looked at him and said something along the lines of "I played it 10 years ago, when Quake was released" (which of course, if you want to be pedantic, is just a derivative of Doom).

~jaraxle

Re:THANK YOU (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905379)

I haven't played Daggerfall yet, but what I was talking about wasn't so much the size of the world (huge free-roaming world and enormous character customization possibilities in an old game? Darklands is where it's at) as how immersive it was. Before Morrowind, I don't think I'd ever seen a game that gave me that sense of being in a real place like it did. Locations felt unique and had a sense of history. I found myself taking walks in scenic areas as I might in real life. It was strange, and it was new (to me; I guess there might have been something like it before, but I've not seen it). It wasn't just the graphics (which were finally "good enough" to support that kind of experience) but the design, the art, and the stories in the world.

Re:THANK YOU (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905189)

Halo's a biggie. Talk about average--hell, maybe even a bit below average.

I actually played Halo on PC (being allergic to joypad FPS, although I do play SW:BF2 on my Xbox) and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It had a good setting, epic feel (although some of the later parts DID have a repetitive "this level needs to be bigger so I'll just copy these other parts" feel that everyone else and their mom has already noted) and pretty tolerable voice acting. I haven't exposed myself to the sequels so I can't comment on them. I am thinking about getting an Xbox 360, but I think I'll wait for refurb prices to drop a bit more.

But really I think that most of those games are going to be more or less forgotten in time. It's only the really notable games that you'll still be thinking of and remembering memes about years down the road. They have big big sales numbers because the console gamers feel like they're catching up to the big boys or something, I don't know. Personally I would be pleased as punch if PC gaming would just die already. I reject the notion that there is anything inherently superior about it that can't be solved with a cluster of consoles, and still for less money; the Xbox 360 has hardware capable of acting as a fairly credible PC and I think it's safe to say that the next generation of consoles will probably come with at least 1GB of RAM (maybe not Nintendo's.)

Don't think for a second Microsoft doesn't realize this. They know the PC is going away, and they want to still have a reason to exist when it does. (By "going away" I don't mean vanishing entirely. But the PC as we know it is going to become a scarce beast.)

Re:THANK YOU (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903811)

"...hated the way that, somehow, games like Halo have come to be seen as groundbreaking."

I love you. I've been saying this for ages. There is absolutely no single aspect of Halo - absolutely none - that hasn't been implemented better in games that have come out years beforehand. Story, graphics, gameplay (both single player and multiplayer). Halo is 100% average in every regard.

It's the Quentin Tarantino effect. Us PC gamers represent a narrow slice of the gamer pie, especially when looking back all those years. Most people who game are doing so on consoles and so most gamers did not see a shooter until Doom was ported to the PSX. They were amazed by Goldeneye on the N64 while I had no idea what the fuss was. I wasn't particularly impressed by Halo but it was a revelation to all the console gamers.

This is no different than a QT film. He scarfs up all the foreign cinema he can lay his hand on, cherry-picks the best ideas and then puts them in his films. To the average American audience that doesn't have the time to keep up with foreign cinema, it's a revelation. To those who do, they're quicker to insult the audience than Tarantino. But really, it's completely understandable. I thought the Beastie Boys were geniuses until my dad sat my ass down and introduced me to Zeppelin, the source they were ripping off.

Re:THANK YOU (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905211)

The Beastie Boys ripping a Zepplin off?!?! WTF? I think you managed to simultaneously insult them both with that bizarre statement. Very few bands ripped off Zepplin even back in the day (and Zepplin themselves shamelessly ripped a number of their predecessors, so it would be hard to even tell). The only band I would call a "Led Zepplin ripoff" would be Kingdom Come [wikipedia.org] .

Re:THANK YOU (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905111)

I kind of hate Halo, but there is one aspect of the original game that I consider extremely innovative, and which was ripped off in one of my favorite PC games of all time, Unreal Tournament 2004: actual vehicle integration with a first person shooter (and I don't mean every other level is a "vehicle level"). This innovation should not be ignored, because it entirely changed the design of levels and gameplay.

Re:No More - No Less (3, Funny)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902937)

So you think every game should take >13 years to develop? Cause that's how long it's taking 3d realms to give us more aliens on toilets.

Re:No More - No Less (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903003)

I couldn't agree more. How long has it been since a game like Duke 3D (the multiplayer never gets credit for being damn smart), System Shock 1 and 2 and Deus Ex came out? We may have smarter physics and prettier graphics these days (enemy AI is still debatable), but gameplay mechanics are almost regressive.

Re:No More - No Less (5, Insightful)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905057)

From your post, I'm inclined to think we'd like the same sorts of games. Here are a couple that have impressed the hell out of me since Deus Ex (heh, funny, I'm replaying that one for the dozenth or so time):

STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl

Within 30 minutes of firing this one up it had convinced me that an FPS-style Fallout game could work--before actually playing Fallout 3 un-convinced me. It's got problems, but it's a damn good game, and unlike anything I've seen. Some of the mods out there make it even better. Morrowind meets Fallout meets the old Delta Force FPS games. Haven't played the sequel yet, so I can't comment on it.

Max Payne 2

A film-noir novella in shooter form. Infinitely better than the not-terrible first game. Best played on the highest difficulty setting--trust me, you'll find yourself playing it so differently on that setting that it's like a whole new game. Some complained about its short play time, but in this case I'd call it "quitting while you're ahead" or perhaps "not wearing out your welcome". Damn-near flawless in its execution, IMO. If you don't mind slogging through the (again, not terrible) first game, doing so will improve your understanding of the story (or, more precisely, some of the characters) in the second.

I think HL2 is pretty great, too. That series, IMO, continues to be the perfect specimen of the pure, single-player FPS.

Oh, and Portal. Duh.

Re:No More - No Less (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903167)

I agree but, ....

This is the same as bitching to Matrix that is only a Ghost in the Shell rip-off and GiS is a rip-off of Blade runner.

Each new good movie, game, will add a new layer and reuse whatever worked in the past.

You can't expect from every new game to be a revolution.

You have to accept that a lot of new stuff is only a visual remake of whatever was here before.

Re:No More - No Less (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904523)

The problem isn't the new layers added on, but layers that are removed for, lets face it, the console idiots. I'm not dogging those who play console games, I play them myself, but as games are designed more and more for broad appeal they tend to lose complexity and with each generation we get "dumber" games.

Re:No More - No Less (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905337)

Ever stop to think that maybe the games aren't getting worse, you're just getting older? Seriously, the same phenomenon happens in music. Everyone thinks the music has gotten worse since they were young (no matter what age they are). My grandfather went to his grave claiming the genius of 40's swing was ruined by rock and roll.

Re:No More - No Less (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903253)

So, boiled down to it's essentials, your beef is that despite all the actual advances, evolvements, and improvements games have made in the past 13 years, you can't be truly innovative unless you cut and paste from a schlocky game that's almost a decade an a half old?

"I agree, this goes for movies too, I never hear anyone murmmer "Rosebud" as they die anymore, and WTF is with all this CGI crap. Claymotion was good enough for Rudolph, it should have been good enough for Shrek. Now that's innovation mother fuckers!"

Have you ever stopped to consider that just because there are a million flavors out there in the world, that doesn't mean every time you hit Subway for a hoagie it has to include all of them? Sometimes, just making a good ham and cheese is the right choice?

FEAR and FEAR 2 are not Halo. They are not games which derive their sole glory from being the 'first good one for a console'. They may have their flaws, and they may not be the best but they are hardly mediocre.

Re:No More - No Less (2, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903367)

So, boiled down to it's essentials, your beef is that despite all the actual advances, evolvements, and improvements games have made in the past 13 years, you can't be truly innovative unless you cut and paste from a schlocky game that's almost a decade an a half old?

You have missed the point so completely that it must either be deliberate, or you're one of the developers of a current gen FPS.

I don't want the same again, same again, same again. That should be obvious. I don't even want the same, but better! I want NEW. I want FUN. I want the answer to the question 'Can I play with that thing?' to be 'Yes, and HOW!', not "No, it's scenery. No, it's detritus. No, it would have been hard to program'.

I want to be AMAZED by something other than graphics. I want to be amazed by the implications of a gameplay action, again. I want to be amazed by the details - not just the details of the pixels, but the details of how one action affects another. I want a game to do something I haven't seen before, and better still, didn't even think a game could do.

Re:No More - No Less (1, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903687)

Nope, I've pretty much pegged you exact. You are so full of piss and vinegar over the fact that the developers don't have the resources to program every single little object out there to act 'realistically' that you've forgotten there are actually points to the games, and it's not "oh look, I can play pool by kicking the balls around". While simultaneously, because you are so focused on coding in features that actually wouldn't mean shit to the game and waste precious CPU and developer time, you've failed to notice that the games have gotten to the point where we don't actually need to be able to tip 2d strippers to enjoy the game.

Re:No More - No Less (3, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903979)

Nope, I've pretty much pegged you exact.

Well that's a bold claim. Thank you for explaining to me what I think. Shame you still completely don't get it.

you are so focused on coding in features that actually wouldn't mean shit to the game and waste precious CPU and developer time,

You must be a dev with that attitude.

Why on earth would I give a shit about development complexity or CPU cycles? I'm after an immersive, surprising, original experience. I don't expect that to be easy for a developer, and I don't expect it not to tax my CPU. Furthermore, I don't CARE if it's hard for a dev. It's their job, and they should do it well. You start caring about how tough devs have it, and the next thing you know you're accepting mediocre games, because good enough is good enough, and Johnny did an honesy days work for his pay. Fuck that - I want to be impressed!

I don't want an on rails shooter. For me, one of the many things that indicates progress is the level of immersion. I don't need an alien sitting on a toilet, or a shrink ray, to make me happy. I need something that surprises me like those things first did, when they were new.

Yes, I'm using examples of things that were - in the past - awesome advancements in immersivity in old games.

The reason I haven't specified what EXACT NEW THINGS I'm looking for should be obvious; it's not my job to think of new things, and frankly if I did they wouldn't be a surprise any more.

Re:No More - No Less (-1, Flamebait)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904161)

Thanks grandpa, you've completely cleared that up for me. I'll get off your lawn now.

"Why can't everything be more innovative damn it!"

"But grand papa, this one has so many cool features and an engaging story line!"

"Bull shit! Duke Nukem had shitting aliens and strippers! It's been a decade and a half and there haven't been any games out there that have innovated shitting aliens and strippers! You could see your damn reflection! I should be able to jump up on pool tables and kick the balls!"

"But grand papa, many games have reflections, and this is a horror game without aliens or strippers at all!"

"Damn it! I didn't say it would be easy, but if the game doesn't blow me away, it's shit! Pure Shit!"

"That's good father, did you remember to take your Thorazine today?"

Dude, not every war movie is going to be Saving Private Ryan. Not every Sci-Fi show is going to be Firefly or Battle Star Galactica. And that's OK. They don't have to be to be good. Why don't you get off your soap box and actually play the game for once instead of living in the 2d era of FPS.

Re:No More - No Less (1)

DeatheScythe (991718) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904301)

The reason you're not totally impressed and surprised by things like shrink rays and strippers? Ya its because you're not 13 anymore. Been there done that. Welcome to adulthood its boring as hell.

adulthood (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905051)

"Welcome to adulthood its boring as hell" FTW!!!

Re:No More - No Less (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26905257)

Here's two of my favorite games.

Dead Rising
Left 4 Dead

Combine those two and you have one badass game. Supposedly Dead Rising 2 is going to do that?

Re:No More - No Less (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903313)

In Halo's defense it WAS groundbreaking in some respects. Halo 1 looked and played better than any other FPS that had been released on a console at that time. Halo 2 had one of the best online multiplayer systems ever done on a console. And Halo 3 introduced the "Theater" feature, a feature which was never been seen before (or since) on a console (I still have a bunch of great kills and funny happenings in both single and multiplayer that I treasure, preserved forever and shareable thanks to Theater). So, while not entirely original by a long-shot (PC's did most of this stuff first, it's true), it certainly did break a lot of ground for console gaming.

Re:No More - No Less (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26903421)

Halo 1 looked and played better than any other FPS that had been released on a console at that time.

That's great but the reaction has been that now every game has to be limited enough to run on a console. And then people do their best to gloss over the limitations.

If I created an FPS that can be played on a washing machine display, that would be a great achievement. But afterwards should no games ever be made unless they can run on washing machines? No matter how many compromises that required? I know; there's a lot of washing machines out there.

Re:No More - No Less (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904777)

That's great but the reaction has been that now every game has to be limited enough to run on a console. And then people do their best to gloss over the limitations.

Is that really a limitation any more? When you have a console that kicks the hell out of the average PC (although this varies during the lifespan of a console) and can be hooked up to an HDTV (hint: this is what my PC is hooked up to, via DVI - even though I have a HDMI port, I still seem to have no trouble playing a DVD on it, either. And the scaler is quite nice.)

The only problem seems to be in the region of controllers, and I have a feeling that as console gaming continues to dominate we're going to see more console games with keyboard and mouse support. If we're lucky, we might even see someone invent a controller that's superior to the keyboard and mouse combo (for FPS and RTS gaming) although, of course, I doubt it :)

Re:No More - No Less (1)

FallinWithStyle (1474217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903535)

But it has been THIRTEEN YEARS. We've come far enough to tackle some of them.

The irony [wikipedia.org] in that statement is killing me...

7/10 is not AAA, imo (1)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903603)

7/10 is kind of a death sentence for a game today. Unless you can reasonably predict getting a 9/10 or above overall (and not on astroturfing sites), you might as well just give up.

Nothing in this review compels me to play this game. I enjoy shooters, but really the basic problem is that they are predictable.

I'm looking for the next game to be a huge conflict of moral senses with a philosophical debate surrounding it.

Give me a reason to play that is fun and challenging.

Blood dribbles, effects, and engine features are not reason enough to play. They are all supposed to be in the background and just part of the action. Don't write about them, because they are supposed to be just an aspect of a good game.

Measure it in the realism factor of the game, but focus on the story, the conflict and possible paths to resolution. Also look at the reliability of the various scenarios in delivering ENJOYMENT.

The gaming industry has a huge problem ahead of it... and that is the dawn of more and more realistic engines, without the uniformly applied philosophical conundrums that really showcase character development and drive the plot towards something truly enjoyable.

Re:No More - No Less (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903777)

I am quite simply astounded that MOST games have not yet equalled the functionality or interactivity of Duke Nukem 3D, let alone surpassed it. The game is THIRTEEN YEARS OLD. It has been out for a number of years approaching half of my life, and we still don't see our reflections in the mirror in most games. And we still don't get blood dribbling down walls in most games. And we still don't get bloody, or slimy footprints, or shrink rays, or jet packs, or aliens sitting on fucking toilets.

You have very weird expectations for video games. I can probably think of about 100 things that I'd rather see in games before I'd want some gory blood effects or the ability to see my reflection.

It's been thirteen years and every time a new game does ONE of these things it's hailed as a goddamn miracle.

You've got to be fucking kidding me. The Half-Life series makes Duke Nukem seem like a joke, and it has none of the silly little gimmicks that you mention. Call me crazy, but I want a game thats fun. Shrink rays, jet packs, or aliens sitting on "fucking toilets" do nothing to guarantee that a game will be fun.

Re:No More - No Less (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904065)

Duke Nukem 3D was the last blockbuster game made by hacker who knew their ASM code well. Since then, it became an industry...

Re:No More - No Less (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904089)

Bless you sir. I'm glad to see there are other people out there who feel the same way I do.

Re:No More - No Less (2, Interesting)

capebretonsux (758684) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904661)

While I agree with you on most points you bring up, I have to ask the question of just what groundbreaking innovation can be brought about at this point? Duke Nukem 3d was groundbreaking because it WAS 3d, and one of the few/first(?) at the time that came about. I can't think of another paradigm-shifting change in video games that has come along since. I saw nothing special in Halo, GOW or many of the games which have come along recently. Sure, some were fun and enjoyable, but nothing groundbreaking. I'm not all that fond of motion control like the WII, but it's an effort. What astounds me is that there hasn't been a real 'jump' in the AI of video games. Personally I'd trade all the shiny reflections and shadows for an ordinary soldier in one of these games that would take half an hour to kill, and not from the usual boss-battle outrageous hit points kind of difficulty, but from tactics and strategy. Of course, I would imagine that this is more to do with the limits of computer science when it comes to 'realistic' AI, and we simply aren't there yet. I think the next 'big' change in video games will arrive when we crack those problems. Until then, more pretty graphics, shiny reflections and the need for outrageously-priced video cards in order to run them.

Re:No More - No Less (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26904849)

B.S.

Halo had oodles of physics effects never before seen. Long before it was destined for an Xbox, Bungie had demo vids out of the master chief riding around in the Warthog.

Everyone gasped in amazement as the driver's body reacted to acceleration and braking, to body roll from the terrain.

The level of immersion was dramatic.

Frankly, your recollection of history is distorted.

Re:No More - No Less (1)

djnforce9 (1481137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904959)

Yup. This is exactly why Duke Nukem 3D remains my #1 favourite game of all time (and the newer hi-resolution texture and music packs in combination with the modern windows port (eduke32) assures that it won't be aging all that soon). I loved playing it when it came out in 1996 and my interest hasn't died down even today in 2009 (I still install it after each time I re-format my PC). The amount of interaction with the environment was just astounding in Duke and it also encouraged a lot of exploration to uncover secrets (which might I add were not placed in insanely hard to reach areas like in Serious Sam). F.E.A.R 2 does seem to encourage some sight seeing as well (and it's real joy in certain areas such as the school how realistic everything looks) but not nearly the level of Duke Nukem 3D and more importantly, Duke did NOT have to rely on checkpoints and several "points of no return" (other than completing levels of course). The pool balls were an excellent example of Duke's interaction indeed. They had VERY reasonable physics to the point where you could kick the white ball (or nudge it) and it would literally scatter the other balls like in a real pool game. They even had the "holes" present for the balls to fall into. With a modern physics engines, that concept could have really gone far and I STILL await the day when there's a game with 100% fully destructable terrain. Shooting a rocket launcher at a wall and having that wall not even so much as scathed or charred just doesn't seem right nor does being able to break certain things while other (more fragile) objects can withstand any blast. In F.E.A.R 2, I noticed that quite a bit of detail was put into certain objects but neglected on others. For example, near the beginning you see a bunch of speakers where you can literally knock off the speaker covers just by hitting them uncovering the speaker itself. Given how insignicant this sprite was to the game, it was rather cool that this sort of detail was added. However, it is then ruined by the fact you can break certain PC monitors in the game while others seem to be bullet and explosion proof somehow (so where did the level of interactivity go?). I do like F.E.A.R 2 better than the first one though because at least the levels don't drag on and on with the same repetitive scenary and layouts padding hours to the game needlessly. With F.E.A.R 2, I can enjoy exploring each area I encounter. Oh! Like you, I didn't think Halo was anything special. Definitately fun but not worthy of the level of praise it got.

Re:No More - No Less (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905487)

The harsh fact is that very few game developers have the time or resources to design to the kind of level of realism you're asking for. Something blowing up requires an animation. And you can't do an animation for every conceivable object in a game, or expect a console (or even a top-of-the-line PC) to be able to handle the physics for thousands of objects and parts of objects onscreen at once. To do a game like that in any reasonable amount of time at any reasonable cost, you would have to cut down the number of objects and locations drastically, which would make the game still seem unrealistic, just for completely different reasons.

Bad tag (1)

Reddragon220 (890851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902805)

I noticed that this has been tagged with "nextbadconsoletopcport". The F.E.A.R. series started out on the PC and the PC has always been the lead development platform on the development of this project.

Re:Bad tag (3, Interesting)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902933)

Except that if you play the game (at least the demo), you'll notice that you're locked into a D-pad style weapon select system, an inane FOV, a HUD that interferes with vision (why is there a box in the middle of my screen?) and forced widescreen. Also, when you go to click on buttons with the mouse, you often click on the button below it, forcing you to use the keyboard to select menus.

The original F.E.A.R. nailed the interface (only showed it when I was switching weapons, similar to HL2), and was one of the most immersive shooters I've ever played (admittedly, I don't play a lot of shooters).

The demo for this was amazingly fun, and the AI seems better than the original (similar animations and communication, but better use of cover and flanking). However, I'm holding off on buying it until a patch comes out to address the HUD and FOV issues. If anyone knows how to fix these (command line options?), please post below.

Re:Bad tag (1)

curmudgeous (710771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903401)

"...a HUD that interferes with vision (why is there a box in the middle of my screen?)..."

I've not played the game, but from the description and the screen shots your character is supposed to be a soldier with (presumably) a helmet and full face shield. From the curvature of the HUD it looks as though it's projected on the inside of that face shield.

BTW, I agree with the previous post regarding STEAM. If this game requires installation of the STEAM client and access to the internet just to install (much less play) then I'll not likely be buying it. I always buy the physical media for games and I expect to play them whenever and on whichever machine I choose. License keys and SecuROM are bad enough, but anything that requires me to authenticate with a remote server just to play a game that I purchased ...nope, sorry, ain't going to happen.

Re:Bad tag (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905185)

It's a pair of sunglasses. In fact the first time you put them on and they "boot" you up you see "linux kernel loading..." in the upper corner of the screen before the HUD loads up. I thought that was pretty a pretty interesting addition.

Re:Bad tag (1)

AlmondMan (1163229) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903573)

You're not locked into any selection system. You can use the mousewheel or assign any key you like to change to the weapon of your choice.
There is no box in the middle of the screen either, and the hud does not interfere with the vision, it just sits there, like in a bunch of other games. Calling that a consolification makes no sense, as a game developed heavily for consoles, Far Cry 2, has had the hud almost completely removed! Which is quite awesome. Calling a graphic part of the hud intended to increase immersion a console thing is stupid, though.

The demo wasn't amazing, it was dull and tripe, showing you that the GAMEPLAY was consolified, not the interface (except the "pda" part). The AI is stupid and never given time to use cover or flanking. It just stands there in the middle of the room or starts jumping over stuff leaving it completely exposed and vulnerable all the time. Or maybe they're busy knocking over tables or opening cardoors to hide behind. None of it is "smart" it's just stupid as the animations are long and slow. Just so for someone's greasy fingers on the gamepad torturously pushing that right-stick towards the intended target...

Re:Bad tag (4, Informative)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903565)

It seemed immediately obvious to me which platform FEAR2 was designed for the first time the interface prompted me to answer a yes/no question. Instead of displaying 2 buttons it simply showed ">". It takes 2 clicks to answer no.

The graphics (which aren't mentioned at all in this review for some reason) are very dated which means they run at a great frame rate but seem obviously optimized for underpowered consoles. The screen aspect ratio is locked at 16:9 even though no such monitor exists for PC, so whether your monitor is 4:3, 5:4, or 16:10, you will always see black bars. The font size is unnecessarily huge and the HUD is simplified and also too large.

I found nothing compelling or innovative about this game, but I found it insulting that it's so obviously such a half-assed console port. This is a disappointing anticlimax after the first game which was lauded so positively for its groundbreaking game engine. The end result is a budget game on sale for full price.

P.s., there's no mouse sensitivity slider so it's lucky my laser mouse has adjustable resolution or the controls would be ridiculously sensitive.

Re:Bad tag (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904209)

You forgot that no matter what you bind your keys to the "E" button always makes you exit the mech and there's no support for more than 3 mouse buttons which is really inexcusable because thumb buttons have been around since before the FIRST one came out.

Re:Bad tag (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904427)

Right you are. I used both my thumb buttons in the original game (for bullet time and grenades) but apparently they couldn't be bothered this time around.

Re:Bad tag (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904349)

Er, sorry about the sloppy tag. The yes/no prompt looks like:

<< YES >>

Re:Bad tag (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904451)

No idea if it's maybe something they added for the UK version, but I know for a fact there's a mouse sensitivity slider in my version of the game. I had to turn it down a ways before the game felt playable, but that's normal for me.

The aspect ratio thing is, I admit, annoying. However, the font size seems absolutely fine to me (running in 1680x1050, not tried lower resolutions). The HUD's fine. It tells me everything I need to know and doesn't clutter the screen unnecessarily. To be honest, for a game like this with heavy horror elements, I would almost have preferred a no-HUD approach (a la Dead Space).

And the graphics? They're not Crysis, but let's face it, even 18 months on, nothing else is. They compare reasonably well to anything else I've seen recently.

I honestly do think all the people crying "OMG console port" are completely overdoing it. To me, the game looks and feels like a PC game. Sure, there are a few clues that it was developed for consoles in parallel - the radial weapon select menu being the best example - but there are perfectly PC-friendly alternatives to these (you can still bind specific weapon selections to whatever key you want).

Re:Bad tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26904807)

> there's no mouse sensitivity slider

um, yes there is. options -> game settings -> aim sensitivity. or smth like that.

If the story line holds true to the original.... (1)

SGDarkKnight (253157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902809)

The question that now remains is whether or not the additions make up for the fact that the game's concept is no longer new and unique. Read on for the rest of my thoughts.

If the story line holds true and they continued with it; and they didn't butcher the engine, then this game will be great. The concept is still unique to this particular title. Take a look at Half-Life/2/EP1/EP2: They stuck with the story line, made some new additions as they continued with it, and were extreamly sucessful with the franchise. I for one know that the first time I played F.E.A.R., it was by far one of the only games that actually made be jump at different times throughout the gameplay. Can't imagine this doing bad (like i said above, so long as they dont fuck with the story line -- or butcher the engine).

Re:If the story line holds true to the original... (3, Interesting)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902867)

True...FEAR had great effects, really put you in the middle of a firefight with dust flying, bullets sparking off metal (debunked by MythBusters I believe...), strong soldier AI. But what separated FEAR from most FPSes was the story. Still creeps me out just thinking about what happened to that girl. Almost makes me want to help her.

Re:If the story line holds true to the original... (1)

AlmondMan (1163229) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902945)

Sadly, even though an interview with the devs said differently, the dust and destruction in FEAR2 is not at all on par with the first. I remember countless times getting into a firefight and shortly the whole room would be clogged by plaster dust and debris from the walls, maing it almost impossible to see. This gave some really great moments. In 2, there's no great dustclouds or anywhere near the feeling of destruction in the environments that you got after blowing your way through a group of enemies in the first game.

Re:If the story line holds true to the original... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26903019)

Almost makes me want to help her.

The way I remember it, the weakest part of the storyline of the first game was the way you didn't even get the option to try to help her.

The background gradually became clear as you progressed through the game - the girl had been imprisoned, impregnated, had her children ripped away from her etc etc. and finally, understandably insane, had managed to strike back at the company that had done this to her. Having found all this out, you track down some guy who had been instrumental in these atrocities and who was busy trying to destroy the evidence. You finally catch him and he tells you to go into the vault where they imprisoned her, and kill her by setting off a nuclear explosion or something. So you do it??? WTF? There could have at least been a bit of debate about it.

Re:If the story line holds true to the original... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26903879)

If I recall correctly (it's been a while), I think he had some kind of mind control over you.

Re:If the story line holds true to the original... (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903611)

They butchered the engine. Low resolution textures, DirectX 9, and no dynamic shadows. A lot of what made the original game unique is missing from the sequel, and has been replaced with horror cliches featuring grungy film effects. It's a very console-feeling game and it disappointed me greatly.

Re:If the story line holds true to the original... (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904097)

Sadly, I won't bother with Fear 2 because it looks like a half-assed console port. The graphics look worse than the first, I'd say 2004-era polygons and jerky unrefined animation.

Part of what made the original Fear so great is the level of immersion and rather tastefully done "superhero effects". You really could get into character and feel your nerves tense up as you turned the next corner in slo-mo, hoping to catch your enemy by surprise.

This new game looks corny, repetitive and just plain cheap, feels almost like a 3rd party bargain-bin expansion pack for Half Life 2.

Get Psyched! (1)

Windows_NT (1353809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902841)

Although i havent played the first FEAR, i think im going to go and buy it. It looks fun. Ive always liked the FPSs. I remeber shaking (from adrenaline) when i beat the boss of the first episode of Wolf3D (i was like 7?) and then on to getting up at like 5am to play Quake before school. Know after owning all the Quakes,Doom trilogy, Wolfenstein, ET, all the half-lifes, i think im ready for another game. Its coming out for PC right? know i just hope it will run on Wine(cedega).

Re:Get Psyched! (3, Informative)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902883)

I _highly_ suggest playing the first FEAR. It is still a great game, and _no_ AI has come close to it yet. FEAR and FEAR 2 are the only games that I have ever played that made me feel like I was playing against other human players.

The FEAR2 storyline also directly follows from the original FEAR, so you might be a little bit lost if you never played it.

Re:Get Psyched! (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902977)

I would go that far. It was good AI, but not the best. IMO it was about par with HL2.

Re:Get Psyched! (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902995)

wouldnt*

Re:Get Psyched! (3, Interesting)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903975)

IMO it was about par with HL2.

Maybe in your opinion, but not in fact.

In HL2, you can sit in a doorway waiting for the Combine to come after you. They will. They will keep swarming through like stupid ants even after you've killed 50 of their guys in the same doorway. You can also hold up a barrel and walk right at the guy and he'll continue to shoot at the barrel until you're close enough to crowbar him (or launch the barrel at him from point-blank range.)

Not in FEAR, though. In FEAR they -will- wait for you. They'll also try and go around and flank you if there is any other way. I remember one instance I entered a room and took some cover. I waited for them to come get me. They didn't. I kept waiting. They never popped out. Just as I was about to leave, a guy shoots me in the back. He had traversed no less than four hallways, countless turns and obstacles, and climbed a ladder to reach me. THAT's good AI.

Or another example, there was no way around to reach me. I was on a doorway looking into a room. A guy sprints through the doorway, running too fast for him to shoot me, and too fast for me to shoot him. Obviously I turn and shoot him, he's now behind me and easy prey. But as I turned to shoot him, another guy stepped through the door and capped me. THAT's good AI.

The reason for this is simple: HL2 AI is written into every enemy exactly the same, location unspecific. You can plop 50 combine into a field you created and they'll function just as well as anywhere in game. FEAR2 AI is written using waypoints and maneuvers specific to every location. That one soldier knew how to get around me because there were waypoints telling him to. They knew the specific "rush through the door" maneuver for that one location only. Sure, it's probably more programming intensive, and not as scalable, but as a Player, I don't see any of that. I see only great AI and alright AI.

Re:Get Psyched! (1)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905059)

Never played FEAR, but I'd like to point that an AI that uses waypoints is somewhat less independent and, in a sense, real, than otherwise. Of course, to the player there might be no difference.

In HL2E2 the hunters, aka mini-striders, do exhibit some (or most) of the traits you talked aboutt. They will corner you, they will flank you, they will pack together to get you. I found their weapons somewhat underpowered, and that is probably needed. Had they been as deadly as a run of the mill Combine it would take a very experienced player to beat them. Nice stuff.

Re:Get Psyched! (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903067)

If you do, save yourself some effort and switch to FEAR 2 after playing the base FEAR 1 game. The two expansion packs (Extraction point and Perseus Mandate) were developed by a third party studio after Monolith lost the rights to the FEAR name. Monolith considers them non-canon and FEAR 2 completely ignores anything from them. And yes both are PC games.

Re:Get Psyched! (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903637)

Be forewarned, the original FEAR doesn't support widescreen and it doesn't really hold up so well by modern standards. For its time it was quite groundbreaking but today it seems a pretty average corridor/flashlight shooter that was stretched out unnecessarily.

It's a disappointment. (5, Interesting)

AlmondMan (1163229) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902877)

I reviewed it and gave it a 6/10. The game is simply not worth more, there's nothing new brought to the table from the first in the series. Indeed they take away from it. The difficulty, even on Hard, is bottom rung due to the excessively fast recharge and duration of the slow-motion ability. In the first game you had to figure out some of the encounters, save the slowmo ability and use it and grenades to great effect. In this version I've hardly ever anything but full HP/armor, full all grenades (cause I never need them) and full ammo for most weapons. The scary effects are ALL OVER the place, it's like the developers thought "Oh, hey, this worked in small amounts, let's use HUGE amounts in the sequel, cause more of a good thing is better, right?". Sometimes it is, granted, but not in this case. It desensitises you to the scares, and the oppressive expectant mood of the first game is gone. What it feels like is a console shooter. The pace is slow and the difficulty suitably low for people to play it with gamepads. Using the mouse and keyboard you just plow right through everything like a breeze. Should you fumble the entire place is riddled with healthpickups and armor anyway. It'll still score 9/10 and so on on major gaming sites no doubt. I wouldn't recommend it unless you're a diehard shooter fan. If you're on a tighter budget, don't bother.

Sounds like something I can wait for on discount (2, Insightful)

ChrmnMa0 (951030) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902885)

I would LOVE another no one lives forever and another SHOGO!!!!

Re:Sounds like something I can wait for on discoun (2, Interesting)

AlmondMan (1163229) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902967)

Speaking of SHOGO, there's a researcher guy in FEAR2 that you meet underneath the Wade Elementary who is wearing a SHOGO 2 tshirt! Silly easteregg, devs teasing, or an early announcement? :D Let's hope for the latter!

Steam exclusive! (0, Redundant)

snarfies (115214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902909)

Sounds good. Too bad I will never own this game, as it is a Steam exclusive. I will only buy a PC game if 1) I own the physical media and 2) I can install it on any of my computers, any time I want, without the need for additional payments or permission.

Re:Steam exclusive! (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903017)

This has been hashed a million times. Steam is good. Offline mode works like a charm.

Re:Steam exclusive! (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903621)

I assume you can still buy it in store, and I'll also have to assume you mean you can install it on any of your computers any time you want without the need for additional payments and permission.. and run them all at the same time, too. Steam isn't stopping you from installing it on multiple computers, in fact that's one of the things I love about it.

Re:Steam exclusive! (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904465)

No. Even with the boxed version of games you still need to connect to their servers to get permission to install the software. Depending on the game, you may have to download all the updates before you are allowed to play in offline mode.

I have a computer that I use to install all the software that I do not trust. That includes games since PC copy protection can cause as much harm as a virus. This computer does not have any network access, so I can't play any game that requires activation.

Even if I did go online, I only have dial up access at home (because I surf more at work!) so that would probably cause dramas when downloading all the required updates.

I do realise that I am in the minority when it comes to maintaining the complete separation between trusted and untrusted systems, so I am sure that most people don't understand the resistance to Steam. I don't care - I just play old games and have moved more to independant games.

Monolith has a past man... (3, Insightful)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902953)

The problem is Monolith made Blood, which is the greatest first person shooter ever made. So any subsequent first person shooters they make are going to be compared to that. Unfortunately their latest foray into the horror FPS genre doesn't even come close to the genius of Blood.

Re:Monolith has a past man... (2, Insightful)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903207)

Except that:

Blood wasn't scary, it was much more action-oriented. (YOU were the dead guy)

Nobody really knows about Blood, and as such, nobody is comparing FEAR or FEAR2 to it.

FEAR came out so much later than Blood that they are incomparable. Yes, Blood was a great fun game, with great environments, weapons, powerups, and cutscenes... but FEAR came out after Halo, and damn near HL2. AI at the time of Blood was limited to "Shoot in the player's direction." Controls were choppy and you could barely use the mouse to aim. The game wasn't even "true" 3D.

You can claim that FEAR isn't as good as Blood _for its time_ but I recently tried to go back and play Blood and simply couldn't. Maybe I've been spoiled by modern games.

Re:Monolith has a past man... (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903717)

Blood does a better job with the horror genre. Doesn't matter that it's not scary. They pulled off the atmosphere beautifully.
I mean spooky carnival? C'mon.

You can compare anything to anything, regardless of the time in which they were released. It just depends entirely what criteria you're judging them on. A good example is the Star Wars movies, and their atrocious prequals.

The AI in blood worked just fine. It's true it doesn't have any complex AI, but that doesn't detract from the gameplay. It is also true that the mouse support for blood was dodgey. I managed to get it working properly on Dosbox though, and it plays just like any proper keyboard and mouse FPS. Mind you there is something to be said for cutting your teeth on FPS's that only used the keyboard..

I claim that FEAR isn't as good as Blood because I've seen the sort of quality Monolith can produce, even in this ancient game. Then I look at FEAR; which is just a generic shooter with no style to speak of. If Monolith could bring back the genius they had in Blood and incorporate it into something with modern graphics they'd actually have something worth selling.

Re:Monolith has a past man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26903323)

Made Shogo too. Where the hell is my Shogo 2? http://www.n4g.com/industrynews/News-276093.aspx

Cate Archer, man! (4, Insightful)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903561)

For me, it was No One Lives Forever games (not Contract JACK).

Demo (4, Interesting)

Spad (470073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26902975)

I played the demo on Steam a few weeks ago and from that it seems that they've Deus Ex'd it - that is, butchered it for the benefit of Consoles.

Unreasonable large install - Check
Implausably shiny textures, especially on enemies - Check
Weapon "quick menu" - Check
Dumbed down HUD - Check

I blame Halo really - pre-Halo FPS games were generally devloped purely for the PC and benefitted greatly from it. Now, almost every FPS has to be designed for a simultaneous release on PC & console and thus suffers from having to cater to lower resolutions, lack of a keyboard and the rather strange desire to have everything looking shiny.

Re:Demo (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903299)

Implausably shiny textures, especially on enemies - Check

I wouldn't know, my graphics card can't handle it.

Weapon "quick menu" - Check

What do you mean? Selecting the weapons via numbers? That's been done in every FPS since Wolfenstein 3D. The scrollwheel select? That's been done since HL1. I'm not sure what you mean here.

Dumbed down HUD - Check

I really like this HUD. It looks like a mask and has just the information that you need. It offers health, armor, stamina, and slowmo bars, weapon ammo and total ammo. What more are you looking for?

I blame Halo really - pre-Halo FPS games were generally devloped purely for the PC and benefitted greatly from it. Now, almost every FPS has to be designed for a simultaneous release on PC & console and thus suffers from having to cater to lower resolutions, lack of a keyboard and the rather strange desire to have everything looking shiny.

I'm going to receive flak for this, but I also blame Piracy. The console markets just make more money, even though there are far more potential gamers in the PC crowd.

Re:Demo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26903537)

The weapon quick menu:
If you hold Mouse3 in the PC version it will pop up a menu showing all your weapons, allowing you to move to any weapon you have with out cycling through them.

I like the HUD myself but it is meant to be a basic information HUD as the Character is supposed to see it. Several times in the game it reactivates after an explosion or event to show this.

As to piracy, I don't think that's why PC sales are lower comparatively. I think it's the easy learning curve a controller. Some people can't get the hang of gaming on a keyboard with a mouse. Also some people try to game with a trackball mouse (which usually doesn't work out) or even a touch pad. Those will up the learning curve even more.

Re:Demo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26904493)

Ooh! Did you say shiny?

Re:Demo (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904739)

Dumbed-down hud? It is almost identical in information to the first game... the first game didn't have much of a hud either.

Shiny textures? Only in slow-mo, I think it was to simmulate "sense enhancement" while in slow mo. Slow mo is pretty implausible already.

Large install? Like every other recent game with a large amount of art assets for current gen graphics?

Quick menu? Who cares? Just another interface top access weapons, it does not get in the way at all.



I mean, yeah this game is not a second coming or the most critically acclaimed sequel, but the points you mention have little bearing on the argument of "dumbing down"... do you know what dumbing down is?

Re:Demo (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904749)

they've Deus Ex'd it - that is, butchered it for the benefit of Consoles.

and any PC gamer with a 40 to 70 inch HDTV?

I'd be quite content with HDMI and 1080p -

a quiet - cool running - affordable - video card for media play and PC gaming that powers down gracefully for less demanding tasks.

Re:Demo (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904821)

Weapon "quick menu" - Check

Are you talking about mouse 3 and then gesture to the weapon that you want?

I actually like that system it was great in Crysis, but I guess it is kinda pointless for choosing weapons.

My issues... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26903483)

"Press Space to begin" - Sweet, a console game. But on my PC!

Unable to assign actions to del-end-pagedown. Crippling to someone refusing to go WASD. Forcing me to use arrow keys for navigation in places (oops, apparently the PC has a fancy thing called a mouse that we forgot all about).

Average FPS gameplay. It's fine, I'm sure, but nothing special. Not worth a purchase. I deleted it after an hour.

Impossible to code? (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26903505)

and the signature time-slowing ability doesn't work because it'd be impossible to code

I gotta be fickle here. It would be perfectly possible to code. It would, however, suck to play. Especially for everyone far away from the player using reflex mode.
Unless the author meant that it would be impossible to have players experience different time rates, without going out of sync with other players in the game. And the impossibility of that isn't a coding issue, its simple physics. If it were even possible to accelerate players and their computers up to relativistic speeds and back down again in the timeframe of a few seconds, they'd be turned to mush.

Good game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26904127)

I loved the Original F.E.A.R. and it's STILL in my top 5 best games ever. I would have given it a 9.5 easily on a scale of 1-10. Project Origin lost some of the... atmosphere, I guess, that the first one had. I enjoyed playing it very much, but I'd only give it an 8-8.5 out of 10. The big mechs, while a cool feature, isn't very f.e.a.r like. And the damn shields? Who the hell thought THAT fit into the same universe? If I thought of it as a separate universe than the first, or completely unrelated to f.e.a.r., I might have enjoyed it more.

Not as good... (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 5 years ago | (#26904637)

I've tried the PC demo and it's not as good as the first parts. They've been messing with the UI in bad ways (some say it's consolitis, it may be true).

Decent game, but with serious shortcomings (PC) (1)

knavel (1155875) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905233)

Gameplay-wise, it's not a bad game, but from a technical standpoint, it's a train-wreck (the PC version at least).

The memory usage is off the charts, even leaving Left 4 Dead in the dust, and L4D *loves* memory and cpu.

And the multiplayer is a joke. There is no anti-cheating system in place, and no dedicated server is available, so one of the players must host the server. Worse yet, once a round ends, the hosting player must re-launch it every time, so you can't just set it up and walk away.

Cynical? Me? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26905483)

First-person shooters comprise one of the most well-developed video game genres in existence.

Fix: First-person shooters comprise one of the most cliche ridden and boring video game genres in existence.

Well, at least it doesn't take place during World War II.

I didn't get that far in the advertis^H^H^H^H^H^H review. Does it have a multiplayer mode so I can play along with 13 year old racist homophobes with gamer tags like "BeeyotchMaster69"?

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