F.E.A.R. was a really great game. It had good graphics, a decent soundtrack, and some of the most memorable horror moments in video game history. (Hint: Most of them involve people melting into skeletons) WB Interactive acquired the developer Monolith and developed a sequel, originally entitled Project Origin since they didn’t own the F.E.A.R. name. In 2008, they finally bought the name back and renamed their game F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.
F.E.A.R. 2 introduces a new protagonist, Michael Becket, who gains the same psychic abilities and reflexes as his predecessor, F.E.A.R.’s Point Man. The plot starts after the end of F.E.A.R. with the release of the powerful psychic Alma and the subsequent destruction of Armacham’s Project: Origin facility by the Point Man. Like in F.E.A.R., Project Origin’s combat centers around a slow motion mechanic for taking on both familiar and new foes like Armacham’s Black Ops forces and supernatural monsters. The weapons haven’t changed much, though now the player can cook grenades and use iron sights for improved accuracy.
However, while F.E.A.R. 2 can be fun, it’s not that scary. While it’s fun to pilot a power armor and easily mow down any opposition, these combat sections completely derail the tone. In fact, jump scares and Becket’s occasional hallucinations offer the only scares in the game. The previous game surrounded Alma in mystery using the fear of the unknown to enhance her creepiness. Project Origin ruins this by informing the player of her background and agenda very early on and then having Becket fend her off with quick time events.
The game lacks interesting characters, though Becket’s hacker ally “Snake Fist” has some funny moments. The story is abysmal with one of the most notorious cliffhanger endings out there, though an intense quick time event boss fight with the Black Ops commander does stands out.
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin feels like a high definition remake of F.E.A.R. that lacks what made the original special. With graphics that pop out with lit up enemy armor, well-rendered characters designs and animations, and genuinely fun moments, it still doesn’t feel like Project Origin captures the spirit of its predecessor.