Fear Effect 2 Review

For PlayStation

By Contributing Writer Jimmy Payne

Rating: Awesome
   Fear Effect 2 maintains the impressive gameplay, graphics, and story line
that made its predecessor so popular, while also managing to eliminate most 
of the small flaws that were such a hindrance in the first game.  If that's 
not the mark of a successful sequel, I don't know what is.
   As was the case with the original game, the engrossing story line is Fear
Effect 2's greatest asset.  This is due in part to a decent level of 
believability in the story, which focuses on the human genome project.  The 
real-life possibilities of experimentation on the human genome are enormous,
and without giving anything in the game away, I can say that bad things 
happen when you screw around with human genomes.  The gripping story ensures
that you won't want to stop playing the game until you reach the ending 
credits.
   In typical Eidos fashion, the entire advertising campaign for Fear Effect 
2 is based on cheap sex appeal, with the actual game serving as a mere 
afterthought.  In actuality, there are plenty of mature themes and cleavage 
shots to go around, but there's nothing in the game that you can't see in a 
PG-13 movie.  Don't bother to buy this game if all you're after is polygonal 
porn (which is what Eidos seems to believe about its customers).
   Fortunately, the characters don't need to bare all in order to keep you 
enthralled.  The voice acting and character design play a prominent role in 
drawing the player into the game.  Since this game is a prequel to Fear 
Effect, the developers were able to include many of the original game's 
characters, even those who died horrible deaths in the first game.
   As much as I loved the original Fear Effect, I'll be the first to admit 
that the tension factor wasn't as high as it could have been.  Much of the 
game was spent shooting at non-intimidating enemies before you eventually 
reach the creepy ones.  In Fear Effect 2, the enemies are creepy from the 
beginning of the game and only get more creepy as the game goes on.
   Fear Effect's unique mix of CG and anime graphics has been changed for 
the better with more animations, more things going on in each scene, and a 
slightly less grainy appearance.  Best of all, these graphical improvements 
have not increased the loading times, which have actually been shortened 
dramatically.  After you load your saved game one time, there are no more 
loading screens to be found, so you can now die multiple times without 
having to sit through 30 seconds of loading before each re-start.
   The creators of Fear Effect 2 at Kronos addressed most of the original's 
faults, but they also overlooked a few.  The roll function is still a little 
bit stiff, and it can be hard to control the direction in which you roll.  
The lack of an auto-aim feature is also sorely missed.  All too many times, 
I have walked into an enemy-filled room and been killed before I could even 
turn my character in the correct direction.
   Other small gripes include the fact that the run button seems like a fast
walk instead of a full-fledged sprint.  It's far from a Parasite Eve-like 
crawl, but it's slightly aggravating nonetheless.  Also, while there's no 
doubt that the cut-scenes are exceptional in quality, they're also too high 
in quantity and length.  The fine line between watching a movie and playing 
a game seems to be crossed several times.
   Fear Effect 2 features everything I loved about the original game, and 
(almost) nothing I hated.  Ridiculous marketing campaign aside, Kronos has 
done a commendable job with this well-crafted sequel.

Send your thoughts on this review to jimmy@mastergamer.com

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