If you're looking for a solid first-person corridor shooter with plenty of intense action-packed firefights with enemy black ops soldiers, creepy-crawly mutants and the occasional giant mechanized armor unit, all taking place in the smoldering wreckage of a blown-to-poopy industrial environment, F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin will deliver in spades.
On the other hand, if you're looking for a horror-based gaming experience that will have your hair standing on end from start to finish á la something like Silent Hill 1, you may be a little disappointed.
But don't get me wrong. F.E.A.R. 2 often indeed lives up to its namesake and offers up some truly spinechilling moments. The game quite effectively yanks your chain by having you hunt through dark, strobing, blood-drenched corridors where nothing actually happens to you but judging from the mayhem and destruction something has obviously happened. Elsewhere you'll see little scenes of enemy soldiers running panic stricken to get away from some as yet unseen force. You'll also be tasked with groping through spells of what I can best describe as 'foggy dream view' which you later learn is cast upon you by a strangely disheveled and blank-faced little girl named Alma who pops mysteriously in and out of the existence.
Yes, no doubt, some parts of F.E.A.R. 2 are positively dripping with horror, not to mention buckets of blood. In fact, one section of the game had me in absolute awe of how much gratuitous gore could be smeared on the floors and walls in a confined space.
The problem, however, is the horror element in F.E.A.R. 2 is not sustained throughout the game. It tends to wear off quickly at times and usually when you suddenly come under heavy fire by enemy troops shooting at you with very real weapons. And overall, as your FPS survival instincts kick in, you begin develop certain recipes for dealing with certain 'scary' situations, e.g., One Shotgun plus a pinch of Slo-Mo = One Dead Abomination. Hence, the fear in F.E.A.R. 2 eventually moves from the initial "Holy crap! What the f#@k was that!?!" to "Oh yeah right... Be afraid. Be very, very (*yawn*) afraid".
At certain points, the game appears to be trying hard to scare you but it just comes off as simply annoying. The bottom line is, once you realize that F.E.A.R. 2 gameplay consists mostly of slugging it out with black ops enemy soldiers, you tend to sometimes forget that the game is actually supposed to be scary.
Not that this is not fun and, in fact, the numerous and intense action-packed firefights is where the game really excels. But comparing this to a video game horror classic like Silent Hill 1 where the element of horror is firmly entrenched throughout the entire game, the fear factor in F.E.A.R 2 seems to waver wildly between 'suddenly hair raising' to 'nice try' (and eventually settles on the latter).
The story in F.E.A.R. 2 begins where you and a squad of First Encounter Assault Recon (F.E.A.R.) special forces are sent in to a swanky apartment complex to rescue one Genevieve Aristide. You eventually discover through a series of Intel Items that you pick up throughout the game that Aristide is some kind of mad scientist working for Armacham Technology Corporation (ATC) heading up an experiment called Project Harbinger of which the intent is to create soldiers with telepathic and reflex enhancements. However, the experiment has gone horribly awry (of course, what else? Half Life anyone?) and a team of black ops soldiers are sent in to eliminate Aristide and cover everything up.
To further complicate matters, Alma, the little girl haunting you at the beginning of the game, is now all growed up into a naked, emaciated supernatural being and, because she was the result of a previous experiment gone horribly awry, now has a mad-on for the human race. At times, Alma will having you asking yourself, "Am I a total sicko?" by shifting wildly between strangely alluring and anorexic skank.
Eventually a mysterious geek who identifies himself as 'Snake Fist' makes radio contact with you and your team and implores you to find and kill Alma whom he dubs 'the mother of the apocalypse'. Oh yeah and she, uhh, covets you (*chuckle*).