Monday, February 9, 2009

F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate Review

Just in time for the release of F.E.A.R. 2, I present my review of Perseus Mandate, the last expansion to the original F.E.A.R. game, and if the aggregate reviews at Game Rankings are to be believed, the worst.

Well, dear readers (all, what, six of you?), it pleases me to to tell you that IGN, Gamespot, PC Gamer... they're all full of crap. While not quite up to the original F.E.A.R. in terms of scares and story, Perseus Mandate is a huge step up from Extraction Point.

Perseus Mandate is a standalone expansion, meaning that it doesn't require the original F.E.A.R. for you to install and play it (on the Xbox 360 and PS3, it's part of F.E.A.R. Files). Rather than being a short extra few levels tacked onto the end of the original game, Perseus Mandate is a longer game that takes place during the events of the first game. You play the role of an unnamed sergeant in a second F.E.A.R. team sent in to investigate Armacham just after the murder of Aldus Bishop in the first game.

Perseus Mandate gets big credit for trying to mix up the environments a little. The sergeant's adventures take him through some sewers, an Armacham office, the subway, and a forgotten part of the city buried and built over years ago. And while F.E.A.R. and Extraction Point certainly had their share of big time shootouts, Perseus Mandate introduces a new faction, the Nightcrawlers, and ratchets up the action with more enemies and more weapons to pick up.

In fact, the game seemed almost all action. My biggest complaint was that, while you do see a few supernatural visions, for the first half of the game, they're few and far between, and really not that scary. But the second half of the game takes place after the explosion at the Origin facility, after which the action dials back a bit and the supernatural scares start to take over. And since there are three different types of ghosts as enemies, that shadow that makes you jump might not just be there to startle you.

The story, sadly, doesn't make much more sense than Extraction Point. There's no reason why the sergeant should have the Point Man's enhanced reflexes or psychic visions. And a lot of those visions are of Fettel, who's death and subsequent reactivation of the Replica forces didn't make was an issue in Extraction Point as well. There's also the whole race to the secret Armacham facility that's NOT the Vault, but is A vault, and somehow has a sample of Alma's DNA. It's really a shame that there's these little loopholes, though, because the bit with the Nightcrawlers and a government conspiracy makes for material.

On the whole, if you liked F.E.A.R, go ahead and give Perseus Mandate a try. It might not be quite as good, and it has no bearing on the official F.E.A.R. story, but it's still a competent shooter with an interesting, what-if sort of take on the events from the first game.

Final Score, B+


science412 said...

Good review, but you failed to answer the one question that's on all of your readers' minds: Just what in the hell is a "Perseus Mandate?"

Mike said...

The Perseus Mandate is the Nightcrawlers orders, from some unnamed Senator, to locate and infiltrate the Perseus facility, and retrieve a sample of Alma's DNA.

Perseus, as you should know, was one of Armacham's five main projects. Specifically, Origin was the project to create a psychic capable of mentally commanding and controlling a battalion of Replica soldiers. Perseus was the project to train the psychic from Origin to command/control the Replicas.

Icarus is only tenuously related, as it's responsible for those cloaking ninja guys. Paragon and Harbinger are the other two, and they don't come into play until F.E.A.R. 2.