F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
Is it just us, or does being a gamer these days sometimes feel like we’re constantly waiting for ‘the next big thing’? The hype machines, the forum meltdowns, the incessant preaching we’re subjected to from the suits to the scribes, and those random people who might blog something like “OMG I has seen the new God of War that no1 else has seen an it’s teh awesummz”. Was it always like this?
We’re pretty sure there was once a time when we’d just stumble across new titles and be totally unprepared for the magnificence that may or may not have lurked beyond the game case. Nowadays we’re already familiar with half of the game’s content before we’ve even inserted the disc – the back story, about twenty-seven trailers worth of spoiler-tastic footage, what multiplayer modes there are going to be as well a whole host of game features. We’re drenched with this knowledge by every man and his virtual internet dog because the makers of the games are basically saying “our title is going to change your world, so we’ve just gotta tell you all about it, again and again, until we have your pre-order.”
So the competition is seriously fierce, but one saying we’re fond of (found in the undoubtedly best selling guidebook “So You Want to Sound Like a Wise Man”) is that competition breeds innovation. The problem we’re having in these crazy days is that it’s all cyclic – with the need to compete, developers do indeed innovate, and can push the envelope. Then, however, they feel the need to shout EVEN LOUDER than the people before. Surfing the internet for anything game-related is a bit like a twisted version of speed dating, with lots of funny-dressed men with bad facial hair shouting over each other with tales of how funny, charming and downright essential to your life they think they are.
Amongst this raucous swarm is F.E.A.R. 2, appearing almost shy and unassuming in comparison to something like, say, Killzone 2. This is where we stop the comparisons with these – we’re wincing as we say it – supposedly triple-A games, and Guerrilla’s latest in particular, because F.E.A.R. 2 doesn’t want to change the world, and it isn’t ramming itself down our oesophagus. Instead, its aim is simple – heaven forbid, it’s just pure, unadulterated fun. It’s not grandiose, it’s not epic, and it doesn’t come on five discs – it’s a very gratifying, filler-free experience that sharpens the senses, giving the pointy ends a bit of a tweak for your gaming pleasure throughout the entirety of the sizeable single player campaign. It’s almost a relief to be able to play a game that isn’t positively soaked to the skin in slimy, highly contagious hype. We believe in reviewing games in context with others if appropriate, and rightly so, but it is still vital that a game is judged on an individual basis as well, in that its own merits cannot be ignored regardless of its apparent competition.
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