Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Your Game Sucks: F.E.A.R. 2


Okay, I'll level with you: I don't like video games. I think most of them are bland, repetitive, and completely uninspired. The only reason I took this job at Charge Shot!!! was to save the poor souls reading the site from purchasing any more games. In the first installment of Your Game Sucks, I'll take a look at one of the newest games to issue from the hindquarters of the creative process. Join me, won't you?

F.E.A.R. 2 is a new, horror-themed first-person shooter, which you should take to read as "exactly like every other first-person shooter, ever". This game cracks me up on so many levels that I almost bought it just for comedic effect. Then I realized that those sixty bucks could buy a LOT of Gin & Tonics, so I settled for renting it. Boy, am I glad I did, because about fifteen minutes into the thing I nearly threw it out a window. Here's the thing: F.E.A.R. 2 is a special, bipartite type of stupid that assaults the player's common sense with FPS nonsense while simultaneously ripping off The Ring. That's right: this game is a sequel to a terrible rip-off of a terrible rip-off of a mediocre horror film. It's like an M.C. Esher painting of suck, reflecting off of itself and into eternity, from all angles, forever.

First, let's discuss the plot. Get this: a little girl with overwhelming psychic powers decides to get revenge on everyone who wronged her, including people whom she's never met. Apparently she's strong enough to fold reality to her will, and crazy enough to star in this game, so a bunch of Spartan--erm, completely original super soldiers are sent to stop her. When Samara from The Ring (reprising her role under the pseudonym "Alma") mind-rapes everyone they decide to send in a bunch of...um...more super soldiers. Because, you know, fighting a crazy psychic with bullets worked so friggin' well the first time. Anyway, squad leader Michael Becket leads his group somewhere to rescue...someone. Really, after the opening I just couldn't care enough to pay attention. There was some kind of cover-up, there's an abandoned school with a secret underground facility, the Umbrella Corporation was dissolved, Wesker reached apotheosis, and it turns out that a rocket launcher can kill Tyrant. There are about three hundred secret organizations in this game, thus proving that you don't need "story" and "plot" if you have enough acronyms to spread around. You'll encounter a new splinter group every level, and each one of them has taken their information divulgence policy from Lost. Meanwhile, there are a total of two people who care that the crazy psychic chick is still both very crazy and very psychic, and you talk to them about twice throughout the game. In the end, there's a showdown that amounts to the most pedophilic encounter this side of Wonderland Ranch, and a setup for a sequel that could only be described as "Kubrick-esque, but with way more underage sex".

Now, let's look at the first-person shooter angle. Instead of going with something original, Monolith decided to use the tried-and-true "let's be just like Halo!" route, which is awesome since it gives me a terrible template by which to judge this atrocity. Let me just state this: first-person shooters are all exactly the same. If you disagree, I'd like to suggest you get checked for amnesia and/or short-term memory loss. F.E.A.R. 2 looks and plays like everything else on the Xbox 360, which I guess you can take however you want. The layout and progression are so generic that I literally thought I had accidentally rented Resident Evil 4 until Samara came along and started beating my ass. Also, let's hear it for games that only allow for one save slot! That's the developer's way of saying: "What, you didn't think there would be diverging areas, did you?"

In the end, F.E.A.R. 2 is to video games what American adaptations of Japanese movies are to cinema: horrible, derivative, unoriginal, and inexplicably psychosexual. Only purchase it if you like being assaulted, and not in the good way.