|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Timegate||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sierra||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 6, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-16 (online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
This is the second in the F.E.A.R. series, not to be confused with the expansion pack of the original F.E.A.R. game. This is a stand-along expansion pack. But you will be forgiven for thinking that this version seems oddly familiar. It could almost be mistaken for the first version, if it weren't for the new hero and F.E.A.R. agents, not to mention the lack of the surprise element that made the original so much fun.
Sometimes the old axiom of, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," does not apply to videogames. Sure you don't have to fix what ain't broke, but you've got to change your product. F.E.A.R.: Perseus Mandate provides excellent first-person shooting mechanics. That's pretty much a given. If you absolutely love shooting, you can't go wrong here. But if you're looking for the kind of story that has the same impact as the original story, you're out of luck.
Events in this game take place concurrently with the original. It's a cheap way to recycle the same gameplay elements, mechanics, graphics engine, and story. Players getting into this series for the first time are advised to seek out the original. It's got a much more interesting story, and is full of scares. The story in F.E.A.R.: Perseus Mandate offers a more sobering and thus dull perspective on the supernatural events of the original. We all know what's going on now, which only reduces the gameplay elements to little more than a good shooter. You know what that means? Shoot at anything and everything. Lather, rinse, repeat. Gee your hair smells like gunpowder.
In the original, a young girl named Alma was imprisoned in an underground vault due to her incredibly powerful and deadly supernatural powers. A corrupt branch of the government exploited these powers, which included conjuring and controlling dangerous entities. Paxton Fettel was the original protagonist. He led his team of cloned FEAR agents through the Armachan complex where they encountered disappearing humanoids, various bots, and disembodied spirits. There are a lot of frightening aspects in the original, which were more psychological than games such as DOOM which rely heavily on shock value. A lot of the suspense can be attributed to the storyline. However, in Perseus Mandate, the element of surprise has been taken away since you are essentially playing the same game at the same time. A few new additions in the form of weapons and enemies do little to rate this game as anything more than a run-of-the-mill expansion pack.
As with any shooter, you'll find yourself in a complex that includes warehouses, offices, corridors, courtyards, and underground tunnels or passageways. These areas create the perfect shooter environment, to say nothing about originality, which is sorely lacking for the sake of convention and convenience. There are some tense moments to be sure, but having fallen for these same devices in the last game, we won't get fooled again. Still, when you hear the discordant music and the room becomes dark, it's difficult not to have a little hair standing up on the back of your neck. Occasionally you'll have entities appear and disappear around you. Weapons will be flung at you out of nowhere, and hands will attempt to pull you underground. It's more fun than frightening.
A new enemy emerges known as the Nightcrawler. They are frustratingly challenging. Not only are they fast and highly agile, but even when you do hit them they require a lot of firepower to destroy. They are also very accurate when it comes to launching projectiles at you. You are definitely going to put the bullet-time feature to good use, which by the way, is used more like a tool in this game than as a rare gift.