Halloween 2022 Gaming Special, Day 4: “F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin + Reborn” (PC)

Do Monolith Productions‘ FPS titles F.E.A.R. 2: Origin and its DLC F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn deliver the same thrills and kills as F.E.A.R. Platinum?

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin (PC)
(USA 2009, developer: Monolith Productions, publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3)

Sergeant Michael Becket and his Delta Force team are sent on a mission to arrest Armacham president Genevieve Aristide, only to be thrown into the chaotic aftermath of psychic girl Alma Wade’s revenge on humanity, something the original F.E.A.R. team experience shortly before.

Deja-vu plot and setting
Storytelling wasn’t the strongest selling point of F.E.A.R. Platinum, and it’s no different this time around: The plot remains rather obscure with a baffling ending and an anti-climatic boss fight. But it’s still easier to follow, the game provides more background information about the super soldiers created via genetic engineering. It also holds quite a few environmental surprises, e.g. discovering an elevator in a nurse’s office that goes down to a secret underground facility.

But it’s much better than reading endless emails and listen to long phone messages. These are still available, but they’re not essential for being immersed in the world, something that was a big problem in the original game when cut-scenes were rather sparse and one only got a glimpse of the overall story by being attentive to one’s surroundings, spending as much time looking for intel as fighting enemies.

Cruel reality
While the protagonist is given a real name this time, neither he or his team mates are very memorable. Still, the situations they’re put in and the hallucinations Becket has to endure make it easier to relate to them. This is best seen in a very disturbing surgery sequence in which he sees doctors and nurses turning into monsters and violating his body.

The general sense of dread when Becket is losing his grip on reality is omnipresent throughout the game, continuing the tradition of the horror series by presenting effective and shocking hallucinations. These are now even more disgusting but also more artful at times, e.g. when one finds oneself on a wide open field, approaching a tree with Alma on a swing and the surroundings distorted with static white noise.

Subtle and scare jump horror
One explores more than enough creepy locations and witnesses terrifying scenes, e.g. an abandoned hospital with blood stains on the floor and walls and soon creatures running on all fours on the surfaces. Another example is a school where lights suddenly go out and one hears the doors of the locker rooms banging, only to be chased by a poltergeist that appears right in front of the player’s face.

In addition to subtle horror or scare jump sequences, plenty of gore can be found in the game, too. To watch a soldier forcefully being dragged across the floor and then torn apart with only his skeleton remaining in a pool of blood is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Time for some explosive action
Despite all the horror, the focus is clearly on bombastic action. There are quite a few highlights that keep the adrenaline pumping, e.g. escaping from a facility that is ready to explode and all hell breaking lose, resulting in routes suddenly being blocked and various run-and-gun fights in between. The game often gives the player the means to feel all powerful, too. This might not be in line with the more strategic combat scenes of its predecessor, but it’s a lot of no-brainer fun.

One frequently jumps into an Elite Powered Vehicle, a mech with immense firepower that can also squash enemies underneath. While these scenes are a bit repetitive, it’s satisfying to use an almost unlimited supply of machine guns and rocket launchers against an army that would otherwise be overwhelming for Becket without the heavy armor.

Cover shooter Gears of War seems to have been the inspiration behind some of the action set-pieces: In a thrilling sequence, one fights various enemies on a moving train that is ready to crash, while in another scene, one guns down super soldiers by using a turret mounted on an APC, as hard rock music and some swearing accompanies the bloody carnage on screen.

Less strategic fighting
It’s certainly a far cry from the more subtle horror and strategic combat scenes of the first game. Shoot-outs against soldiers are sadly less exciting, with an AI that rarely flanks the player or hides behind covers. Even with the return of the slow-mo function, one doesn’t require the skills necessary to survive in the previous games. While this is certainly disappointing for advanced players, it does take away a lot of frustration for beginners. As there’s barely time to waste on finding exits and levers, it’s also a much more streamlined and better experience.

Variety is key
With a playtime of just around 6-7 hours, the game is a bit shorter than its predecessor, but there’s much more variety in gameplay, even if it means more shooting. A few of the memorable set-pieces, in addition to the ones mentioned before, are a short but intense fight against the mech one later takes control of: While it slowly but steadily destroys the building one takes cover in, one can’t simply blow it to smithereens, but has to find an alternative way: shooting electric boxes of telephone wires that lead to a puddle of rain water where it stands in order to incapacitate it.

Another instance when fast reflexes with a bit of thinking are required is when one protects a team mate from snipers across various parts of a building one has to traverse or shoot from afar. Of course none of these segments are very innovative for the FPS genre, but they add to a change of pace and tension, something that the story itself doesn’t quite deliver.

Terrifying presentation
The game still looks great today thanks to some sublime character models and animations, in addition to impressive weather and lighting effects. Seeing water drops on the player’s HUD is one example, while the explosions and ragdoll effects add to the Hollywood blockbuster action atmosphere. Of course the play between light and shadows also creates some tense moments.

The soundtrack is great once again, mixing strange choir and synth elements. As the game is more about action, these tracks make the heart rate go up. But the sound design is just as effective, with enough creepy noises in quieter moments to create a sense of foreboding terror.

More action but still a worthy if not better sequel
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is a short and sweet mix of visceral combat and often gory horror sequences that puts a much bigger emphasis on action. While the fight sequences aren’t as exciting as in the first game due to the bad AI, it still plays much more smoothly thanks to some excellent pacing and memorable set-pieces. Anyone who has played the Gears of War series will feel more at home than those looking for subtle horror and strategic FPS action, but that’s no bad thing, as the 6-7 hours don’t feel as repetitive and long as in the first game.

Score: 8/10

Buy the digital version for PC on
GOG (includes the “Reborn” DLC)

Official website

F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn (PC)
(USA 2009, developer: Monolith Productions, publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3)

Replica soldier Foxtrot 813 is tasked by Psychic Commander Paxton Fettel to break away from his team mates and reach the center of the nuclear explosion that was used by the F.E.A.R. team to trap psychic girl Alma.

Return of an old foe
Despite the scary child and also adult version of the psychic power featuring in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, another antagonist from F.E.A.R. Platinum was sadly missing and is now back, at least for a short while. Around 1 hour, to be precise, because this is how long it takes to finish the DLC.

The Replica side
Unsurprisingly, there’s not much of story or character development, and it’s even more annoying that the ending is just as confusing as in previous games. Of course being able to play on the bad side is great, but one won’t remember much of Foxtrot 813 or any of the other Replica soldiers, as the content doesn’t add much to the overall plot.

Less horror and more action
Except for a few mind games that are played on the replica soldier, e.g. changing mission objectives to some cryptic descriptions, there aren’t many horror elements left. The base game already focused on action, but this time there’s barely enough time to breathe. This is best exemplified when one runs or falls through parts of a destroyed building where orientation is completely lost and more than enough enemies are waiting to kill the player in an instant.

Fight for survival
The gun fights (complete with Elite Powered Vehicle and gun turret destruction sequences) are again intense and brutal, but also become very repetitive despite the short playtime. It feels more like a survival parkour than a horror tour de force progressing through the levels, one that is populated by so many enemies that one usually tries to shoot fast and run even faster, remembering the positions of foes to avoid another trial-and-error restart from the last checkpoint.

Short and unremarkable
In a nutshell, F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn is way too short with its 1 hour of playtime to tell a coherent or even engaging story. Anyone who expects answers to unresolved questions of past games will be disappointed, which is also true for those who thought the series would go into a more subtle horror direction as in F.E.A.R. Platinum (except for one specific DLC).

It’s not all bad, though, as the action is just as exhilarating as before, aiming more towards advanced players due to the frustrating enemy placements. The level design isn’t particularly memorable, but as full-out action goes, there’s still some fun to be had while it lasts.

Score: 6.5/10

Buy the digital version for PC on
GOG (includes the base game “Project Origin”)

Official website

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About nufafitc

Being an avid gamer, cinemaniac, and bookworm in addition to other things the internet and new media present, I'm also very much into DIY music, rock and pop in particular. Writing short or longer pieces about anything that interests me has always made me happy. As both an editor for German website "Adventure-Treff" and UK website "Future Sack", I like to write reviews and news about recent developments in the movies, games and book industry.
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2 Responses to Halloween 2022 Gaming Special, Day 4: “F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin + Reborn” (PC)

  1. Pingback: Overview of (blog) life in October 2022 | Emotional Multimedia Ride

  2. Pingback: GOG release: “F.E.A.R. 3” | Emotional Multimedia Ride

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