Monolith’s sequel to F.E.A.R., eventually called F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, came out last week. Alma’s back, messing with our heads, disturbing our telekinetic fields. Was it worth the scrabble to recover the name from Vivendi? Here’s wot I think.
FEAR 2 seems like it’s been in development for over a hundred years, but at last you can play it, for at least a short while. The demo has been released today, and gives you a good 20 to 30 minutes (so long as you don’t rush like an idiot) of the spooksome world. You can get the demo here. Impressions below.
Late last night, as I drove around frozen South Western England delivering inebriated people to their homes, I got to discussing F.E.A.R. with one of its fans. The sequel, he said, was one of the games that really excited him for 2009. While I definitely appreciated the original game and its expansions, they’re also games that I feel contain a weird tension that they never quite get past. The Fear Fan talked about that moment on the ladder, or that moment where you get clubbed in the face. I raised the invisi-ninjas as the best sections. These are great scary moments within the game, and they’re scary because you’re relatively helpless. The rest of the time, however, you find yourself being an unstoppable super-man who can slow time. How, then, do things remain scary?
I can’t help thinking, then, that the Elite Powered Armour that is shown off in this latest F.E.A.R 2 trailer does exactly the opposite to what is best in its game. It even says so in the trailer: “The Solution To Everything You Fear.” Surely that’s missing the point of making a horror shooter? Maybe that’s just me.
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I wonder how we’ll look back on this period of development, once we’ve got AI in games that’s likely to talk us out of the gunfight and to join its uprising against their developers. As games make stumbling progression, inching ahead with improvements for enemy behaviour, we’re still getting excited when we throw a grenade at them and they don’t pick it up and try to eat it. In the latest FEAR 2: Project Origin dev chat, below, Matt Rice and Nate Cleveland proudly explain that the AIs respond with a display of emotion when they catch on fire.