Previews

FEAR 2: Project Origin

Preview: FEAR's first sequel

Project Origin has gone back to its roots. After a convoluted process involving a split between Monolith and brand owners Vivendi, a new title-finding competition, a merger, reacquisition of the FEAR name and, let's say - merely for the sake of interest in this increasingly wretched narrative - the discovery of the Holy Grail in the throat of a velociraptor that fell from a stained glass time machine - the FEAR sequel can finally actually be called FEAR 2. Result.

It starts just half an hour before the original ends, but follows Delta Force sergeant Michael Beckett and his elite squad of soon-to-be-dead soldiers as they enter a new location. While the first was set in the grey corridors of the Armacham Technology Corporation, FEAR 2 lobs you into the posh building in which Genevieve Aristide lives.

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Your mission: to reach her penthouse apartments, then 'retrieve' and interrogate the woman behind the Origin programme - a woman Alma would quite like to kill really hard. Oh and Alma's going to be free in 30 minutes. Nothing can go wrong here.

Despite your character literally feeling like a new man, time-slowing powers return. New enemies and enhanced 'environmental combat opportunities' test them to the full. What opportunities? Things to overturn as cover and even more things to blow up.

You can also think about going outside, into the wrecked streets of Auburn. Monolith accepts the claustrophobic concrete of the original was overdone, so there's more blue sky and more variety in the locations. There's also way more variety in the enemies, including wrist-bladed Replica Assassins, armed and annoyed mechanoids and even Alma herself. She may 'only' be the phantasm of an eight-year-old psychic, but she's through with wafting around in lifts and making you jump. Now she's really angry.

Monolith knows we've seen enough spooky Alma and is going for much harder horror, ornately colourful violence and scarier (yes) fear this time. The expansion packs - Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate - may not have innovated, but FEAR is back with its Monolith roots. Slo-mo high five!

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