FEAR was a mighty popular game with the PC crowd, and even the Xbox 360 audience, albeit to a lesser extent. So when the PlayStation 3 game arrived, it came at a time when most of the PS3's ports were the videogame equivalent of a baby born to an incestuous family. The same way you just shuddered after reading it, is the same way we all shuddered when we had to endure these terrible ports. But the interesting thing about FEAR is that beyond the scare tactics, it wasn't a terribly good game when compared to other first person shooters. It was way too linear, and claustrophobic, never giving the player a sense of freedom. Well, there's a sequel on the way, and it looks to take care some of those issues.
FEAR 2 will remedy the claustrophobia of the original, by offering larger and more expansive areas…more specifically of the outdoor variety. I had complained that the first game felt too confined, and so it looks like that shouldn't be a problem anymore. These new environments will be fully interactive, too. But the twist here is that not only can you take advantage of this environmental interaction, but so can the enemies. So just like you, enemies will also use walls or obstacles as a means of protection. But they can also prevent you from taking cover, by destroying the object.
So the A.I. has been infused with an all new shot of intelligence from developer Monolith, as there are more aspects to their enhancements that remain to be witnessed in person. Monolith states that the A.I. will utilize unique combat tactics as a means of taking you out, and that will include full use of the environment, which goes beyond just preventing you from taking cover behind an object.
Gameplay will boast similar aspects to the first game, but with enhancements such as the ability to slow down time and utilize your character's reflexes to take out multiple enemies with ease. Your combat can be done with either guns or your own fists, as close-quarter mechanics will also see enhancements. And when you're done with the single-player experience, the online mode will provide additional value, but no word on what enhancements were made there.
As far as the story is concerned, the game continues from the events of the original. Alma is still very much the dominant force behind the sequel, and you must stop the spread of paranormal activity from destroying the city. To guide the story will be an enhanced version of Monolith/Lithtech's Jupiter Ex engine. I just hope that this time around we get an FPS game that isn't full of framerate issues, as the original FEAR for the PS3 was a stuttering mess, on top of being poorly optimized with its 30-second to one minute load times. By now Monolith should've had plenty of time to familiarize themselves with the PS3, so we expect nothing less than a game that runs toe-to-toe with the Xbox 360 version.
Fans of the original, and I know there are many, should probably like what's in store with FEAR 2. It's bound to deliver much of what made the first one such a success, so keep your eyes open for its release. The game is currently penned in for a February 10th release date.