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January 27 2009
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
13/2/2009WB GamesWB GamesMonolith
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
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Now that's one bloody explosion in F.E.A.R. 2.
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Using one of the massive battle suits.

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F.E.A.R. 2 looks better then the original.
Released in 2005 F.E.A.R. (which stands for First Encounter Assault Recon) became an instant hit on the PC with millions of fans around the globe enjoying one of the finest, and scariest, games of recent times. Two years later that title was ported to the PS3 by Day 1 Studios and, to put it bluntly, the release was a right royal cock-up. As we mentioned in our review (accessible here) the visuals weren't even close to being up to scratch and the game was expensive compared to other platforms. Anyway the sequel is here, and the best news for PS3 owners is that this game is being developed by Monolith Productions who created the brilliant PC original.

Beginning shortly before the ending of F.E.A.R., a Special Forces squad is on a routine mission when the city of Auburn is rocked by a supernatural explosion. Alma, a girl with immense power and a thirst for revenge, has unleashed her wrath upon the city and thrown it into chaos. The squad must combat enemy forces and the supernatural as they struggle to find a way to stop Alma and uncover the mysterious forces arrayed against them before itís too late.

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What the hell is that?!
As with the first game in the series this is a FPS (First Person Shooter), but rather then simply being a straight-forward action title it manages to mix in some horror elements that are reminiscent of Japanese movies (such as Ringu) and games (such as Siren). The main character can carry several weapons which range from machine guns to sniper rifles, to rocket launchers and shotguns. Grenades are also available to take out multiple, or tougher, enemies while pressing the circle button on the PS3 controller allows you to use melee attacks. Impressively much of the game world is destructible so if you see some enemies bunkered in behind a wall chances are you can blow it apart and thereby expose them.

One of the most noted features of this game is the ability to slow down time. By pressing the triangle button on the Dual Shock 3 controller the game enters a slow-mo state where you have a little more time to aim, and take out enemies, or even avoid their gunfire. You'll need that too as the enemies in this game are pretty damn smart. You'll see them running for cover and creating it if need be. In the level we played enemies often kicked over tables for cover, or opened car doors and used them as protection. We've also seen enemies on fire dropping and rolling to put it out before continuing the battle. Another new addition to this game is the ability for players to jump into a mech suit for increased firepower, and increased resilience to enemy fire.

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One of the tougher enemies.
After playing through the demo several times now (and you now have access to this on the Playstation Store as well), we can certainly state that this game looks and play superbly on the PS3. While we haven't seen the final game concerns that were raised following the sub-par original seem to be erased. There was the odd missing frame here and there, but overall the visuals looked sharper, there was plenty more gore and visual effects, and the game generally feels a lot smoother. We did notice though that some of the blood splatter seems to disappear from walls rather abruptly.

As with the original game we expect the developers to include some solid multi-player game modes. There hasn't been any word yet of split screen so we don't think it will be included, but we do expect mutli-player for 16 players to play a large part in the value of this game. Numerous game modes will be included, but impressively the game will also allow you to have your own loadout. While you start with three preset loadouts you can change the weapons, armour and grenades to your liking.

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This isn't a game for children!
Late November 2008 saw the tragic news came through that F.E.A.R. 2 was slapped with a Refused Classification rating in Australia via the OFLC. This meant that the game could not be sold or displayed at all in its current form. Warner Brothers Games appealed that decision and for the first time since Silverball in 2003 the games rating was dropped from RC to MA15+ (Strong violence, blood and gore. Moderate coarse language). The Australian version will therefore be totally uncut.

If this sequel can generate the tension, the spooks and the action of the first game, and as long as the PS3 port is actually technically accomplished this time, then we are in for something quite special. Given that the PS3 version is being handled by Monolith, rather then being outsourced, gives us plenty of hope of a technically proficient title. It's out in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

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Now that's a nice explosion.
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F.E.A.R. 2 is full of frights.