I got this one simply off the press it had been getting, not knowing anything about the first game and reading other reviews I worried if it'd matter? Well maybe, to hardcore gamers, but if I'm honest, not me. I meandered through the levels not knowing what happened previously and it didn't stop me from blowing holes in people with no remorse or care of the earlier game.
On disc insertion, gameplay starts up nice and quickly, a small back story, then you're off. Familier controls enable you to get right into the action and it's not long before you are creeping around in the eerily dark halls of a hospital catching glimpses of the young Alma from the previous game who is wandering about.
Being a fully grown man I scoffed at the claims that a game could be scary, but whether it was the two bottles of Rosé I had or the creeky radiators I've got now following the cold weather, but with the 5.1 cranked up, the blinds pulled down, lights flipped off and the girlfriend out, the first hour of this I was literally turtling during my escape from the hospital! Bodies fall from ceilings, doctors get blown away, little girl ghosts lurk around corners, it really is atmospheric to say the least, amongst the most I've come across infact.
I could compare this to Left 4 Dead, but that is more of a all guns blazing, uzi 9mm spray fest, where there is so much to blast at it takes the skill out of it, not to say it's not incredibly fun (See my review) but the fire-fights in Fear 2 require a little more guile and technique. Baddies flip tables and crouch behind, run around like they're actually trying to not get hit and appear to actually be thinking about what you're doing and respond to it.
When shooting things as well, it's really rewarding to wreck stuff - the area you're in falls apart at the seams when a shot gun is aimed at it. Walls crumble, TV's explode and all sorts of furniture can literally be destroyed - picking off a guy through a wall or table feels good, and with the slo-mo feature it allows you to skip in and around the bad guys whilst sending them slumping to their knees in any number of different demises.
It's really graphic as well, the cut scenes that pop up every now and then really give this game a movie-like feel to it, flashbacks and blurred vision when your crack team ask you what the hell is going on really submerge you into this, it's easy to get carried away.
The guns and ammo are nicely available, with a good variety of ways to eliminate a bad guy. There are conveniently placed gas cans and grenades too for the more dramatic kill.
An online mode could be better, but the point I'm getting at when comparing this and Left 4 Dead is, if you want an online session with your mates, then go for L4D, if you prefer a thinker and are a Billy - no - mates, get this, it's better.
All in, totally great game, Resident Evil 5 may be better who knows, but for 30 quid you cant complain.
Like I summarised in Left 4 Dead, it really depends what sort of shoot em up you need - a slightly more methodical thinker (This) or a free for all no brainer (L4D) either way, they're brill. Be like me, buy them both, get your shoot-em-up fix then move onto racing games...4 outta 5