Saturday, January 9, 2010

Game Review: Expansion Packs and F.E.A.R 2

 Bloggers note: For review of F.E.A.R 1, please scroll down. Also, significant spoilers for the ending of F.E.A.R 2.

   So I do have to explain the expansion packs a little bit (Yes, Monolith, I can hear you spitting obscenities at me from here). Vivendi Universal and Monolith used to both own F.E.A.R. And when they divorced, both wanted custody of their child, right down to its very generic name. As a result of this, Vivendi Universal developed two expansion packs (Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate) that Monolith pretty much denounced as crap.

    I have to confess that I do like the expansion packs. They were the same graphical quality as F.E.A.R, and had some genuine scary moments. More importantly, one of them had characters who didn't leave you after the first level! They were certainly longer and made more sense than Monolith's only expansion pack (Rebirth).

    However, one fatal flaw of the expansion packs is that the motivations of the antagonist really got warped in the process. You're a good guy and Alma kills you. You're a bad kill and Alma kills you. You're a good guy and Alma helps you. You try to help Paxton and Alma kills you. Geez, you can't win against that eight-year-old, can you? I'd hate to see what her birthdays are like.

Anyway, we now return to our regularly scheduled review.

F.E.A.R 2

Okay, seriously, what is with your own team leaving after the first level? I know there's a reason behind this one, but this is way worse than F.E.A.R 1! One of the characters has great characterization and a significant plot point, yet he's the first one to die! I had to double-check to make sure it was the same guy!

F.E.A.R 1 ended in a chopper crash, and F.E.A.R 2 continues the story by...not mentioning that or the main characters from the first game. Which is kind of odd, since there was a comic teaser about the events of the chopper crash. Ooookay. Instead we focus on another F.E.A.R team who attempt to combat Alma after she causes a whole city to explode.

The good news about F.E.A.R 2 is that it gets a graphical upgrade. To be honest, the special effects are really the best I have ever seen in a horror video game. In particular there is one ash-covered street which is hauntingly beautiful. The jarring transitions between scary moments and combat is reduced and there is a more variety of enemies and settings in the game.

Unfortunately, there are two problems with this game. One of them being that it's too short. Another is that the main enemy at the end of the game is ridiculously easy to beat. I heard that there was a patch later that kind of resolved this issue, but I don't deal with patches. A game should be amazing the moment it's released, not later.

Anyone who's ever played this game will probably expect me to comment about the ending. It took me a few times to figure out what actually happened and when I did, I felt very, very dirty. As you all should be, you horrible people.  

FINAL GRADE 3 1/2 stars out of 5. While it did fix some problems in the first game, it also created some new ones.

Hold on, I hear a knock at the door...oh god. I'm sorry, Monolith, I didn't mean to talk about the expansion please no don't send your silent slow-motion pedophile protagonist after me...NOOO!

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