BitSnark

A place of scribblings located in the darkest corner of the internet. Yup.

F.E.A.R 2 XBOX 360 Demo Impressions

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Upon loading up the F.E.A.R 2 demo, it becomes immediately apparent that Monolith are old hands with the horror FPS genre; competent though they may be at it, they are also seemingly stuck in 2005. Straight away the player finds themselves thrust into the post-apocalyptic landscape that was hinted at during the ending of the first F.E.A.R title (Monolith apparently seem keen to distance themselves canon-wise from the later released F.E.A.R Files expansion pack), stumbling around seeing fleeting ghostly images of Alma and more than a smattering of disturbing imagery.

When a gun is finally requisitioned (after some 5-10 minutes of hide and seek with spectral apparitions) the game finally starts properly, with the player encouraged to kill enemies using the slo-mo gameplay mechanic that has been a standard in the franchise since its inception.

Like so much of what the demo shows us, the mechanic just seems stale as seemingly every encounter results in a slowed down shoot fest that never truly makes the player feel they are in any kind of real peril, and more troublingly, is far too similar to previous F.E.A.R titles. The weapons themselves, while seemingly capable of abusing the enemy into physic defying spasms when they die, simply do not seem meaty enough and their resulting lack of effect on the surrounding environment serves to further detriment the meaty feeling that each weapon should possess.

For example, firing your SPAS-12 Combat Shotgun into an upright piece of wood should either shatter it completely, or (if the developers don’t want you getting past it) at least show some kind of visual degradation such as splinters flying etc.. But instead what we get is a generic bullet hole texture mapped onto whatever surface you happen to be firing at. Lame.

Other than this, graphically the title appears to more than hold its own with the various ghosts looking suitably creepy and the various particle effects all looking quite swish indeed. As well as these incidental effects, the game moves along at a smooth frame rate, and didn’t hitch once during any point in the demo.

The inescapable, nagging feeling that the demo gives you is that you have simply done all this before, you’ve done the slow-mo, you’ve done the jumping at ghosts and you’ve seen and killed the same faceless enemies a thousand times over.

Ultimately, it feels like more of a remake of the first title than a true sequel. Based on what I’ve seen in this demo, I would simply say to Monolith; go back to drawing board folks, as essentially reheating 2005’s leftover’s does not a good game make.

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Written by bitsnark

January 28, 2009 at 10:09 am

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