A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that F.E.A.R. 2 is a Mature-rated game and for good reason: it shows a lot of violence and gore -- including human and inhuman enemies that spray blood when attacked and collapse in a heap on the floor -- as well as sexual themes (an act of sex, though not graphic, and a very young girl with hair that barely covers her naked breasts), and foul language. In addition to being a first-person shooter, this game has survival horror elements which makes it particularly scary and full of creepy imagery.
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What's it about?
Combine the thrill of a first-person shooter with the creepy visuals of a horror movie and you'll end up with F.E.A.R. 2: PROJECT ORIGIN, a sequel to the 2005 award-winning paranormal adventure. Now available for the XBox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PCs, players once again join the F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) elite military squad as Sgt. Michael Becket, tapped to investigate mysterious happenings within a private aerospace company. The story takes place just prior to the ending of the first game, when a nuclear explosion rocks the Auburn industrial district.
If you haven't played the original game, you're likely unaware of Alma, a "spirited" young girl with supernatural powers responsible in part for the fear that has blanketed the city. She's back again in this sequel, of course, and her long black hair and lifeless pale face might remind players of the eerie child from the film, The Ring. Not only will players see Alma appear and disappear in numerous visions during game-play (what's your connection with her?), but many creepy cinematic sequences are also peppered throughout the game to help push the story along (such as a silhouette of Alma on a swing, hung from a tree).
Is it any good?
Yes, it's good -- but for mature players only. Played from a first-person perspective, the single-player campaign has you stealthily navigating through many indoor and outdoor areas to take down enemies -- which is graphicc in nature -- as well as upgrade weaponry, collect clues, and work with teammates on completing missions (which you can replay at any time from the main menu). Much of the game consists of intense close-quartered gunfights against smart A.I.-controlled baddies (including creatures) that use the environment to their advantage. When necessary, you can also bend time by tapping the triangle button to enter a slow motion state for increased accuracy.
The high-definition graphics look fantastic and the spine-chilling music and sound effects complement the atmospheric visuals nicely. Another plus is that the game offers a host of multiplayer modes, too, incluing a number of maps and game types to choose from (Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and four others). Whether or not you gave the original F.E.A.R. a spin, this paranormal first-person shooter is a frightfully good time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss whether a first-person shooter and a survival horror game (a la Resident Evil) are a good match? Are these games scarier because they're played from a first-person view, therefore more realistic (and you can't see what's coming behind you) or do players favor the action sequnces than soak up the frightful atmosphere? Also, does this sequel offer more of the same or does it take the series in a new direction? is this a good or bad thing?
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