I recently wrote a review of the first F.E.A.R. game and I liked it quite a bit so I grabbed the second game and dove in pretty much immediately. I’m happy to report that while I think there are certain parts of each game that fare better than the other, F.E.A.R. 2 is at least on par with the original.

F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin shooting in the snow

First off, my biggest complaint about the original has been improved, although not completely fixed. There is more of a focus on horror this time around with a lot more attention paid to creating a tense atmosphere, and a few creepy level designs have been thrown in as well. However, the story overall feels a little more clumsy. Not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it does get a little more haphazard. For instance, the phone messages and hidden intel that would feed you more bits of the lore through audio in the first game are replaced by blocks of text that are formatted to look like business emails and memos and are about as entertaining to read. I honestly couldn’t be bothered to read through them about 90 percent of the time. This led to me skipping right over most of the lore in the PDAs when a new phone message was something I constantly looked forward to in the first game. The cut scenes are also more abundant and longer, although they really don’t add anything particularly important to the overall plot. It definitely felt like they were writing the story assuming a lot of the players coming into this would not have played the first game, which is fine, but it makes it a little less compelling for someone who has.

F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin shooting the enemy up close

The game however remains some of the most visceral and satisfying gameplay I’ve played in any game. Enemies still fall like a ton of bricks and you can feel the impact of every round as it punches through their armor. Weapon variety has also been improved. Where the original had maybe nine or so weapons, F.E.A.R. 2 (typing that title out is a giant pain in the ass by the way) is constantly introducing new weapons all the way through to the end of the game.

F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin torn flesh

In fact, one of the big improvements F.E.A.R. 2 makes to the original game is its overall variety. New enemy types are being introduced almost as frequently as weapons. The level variety also leagues ahead of the grey corridors followed by more grey corridors of the first game. There are grey corridors, make no mistake, but they are broken up by a section in a hospital, a section in an elementary school (which is far and away the creepiest section out of either of the two games), a couple outdoor sections and a few smaller areas to break the monotony as well.

F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin up close enemy

The only change to the game that I really didn’t like was the shotgun, and this is a bigger complaint than you might think. The shotgun in the first F.E.A.R. game is emblematic of the entire experience. If you asked me what the first thing that came to mind was when I thought about the game it would undoubtedly be the shotgun. It was a raw close to mid-range powerhouse capable of entirely vaporizing enemies and filling areas with smoke and debris. To simply put it it was one of the, if not the best, shotgun in all of gaming, which is no easy feat. So I was ecstatic when I picked up the shotgun in F.E.A.R. 2 only to discover that it had been completely gimped. You have to practically be giving an enemy a massage with the barrel for it to actually do any damage when you put a round in to them. Even the imposing frame of the SPAS-12 has been replaced with an all grey entirely generic “combat shotgun”. I’m not quite petty enough for this to ruin the entire game for me, but at the end of the day it is one of the reasons I like the original game slightly better.

F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin blurred vision

The only saving grace of the shotgun was that it did give the game a good chance to showcase the improved gore system. Individual limbs can be torn off and of course enemies can be completely vaporized as before. You can also pop heads with the sniper rifle and the blood decals are even more over the top this time around. This adds another layer of satisfaction onto the already peerless visceral combat of the first game.

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
Overall, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin has greater variety than the first game and the same incredibly visceral core combat, but the original slightly edges it out with it's superior world-building and iconic shotgun.
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My goal is to make reviews that are more informative than the average IGN trite, but with a sense of humor. Check out my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJqrTyFNAX5EoKv4wM5QooQ