Gaming 319

Published on March 5th, 2009 | by Greg


Swords and Scares: Dragon Quest V and Fear 2

A few days ago we focused on RTS PC games. Now, it’s time to look at other systems and types of games: Fear 2:Project Origin, the 360 FPS sequel to one of the scariest games ever made, and the latest update to the Dragon Quest series for the Nintendo DS.

Fear 2 tries hard to live up to the name- bringing back more of the same formula that worked the first time, with a few twists. Unfortunately, what felt reasonably fresh a few years ago hasn’t aged quite so well, and though the game looks and sounds pretty great the scares just aren’t as scary this time around. The environments feel a bit cliched and similar, but that won’t stop you from having incredibly fun gunfights, against a good AI, and enjoying every minute. Not as atmospheric and claustrophobic as Dead Space, and lacking the inventive mechanics of Gears of War or the plot of Halo, it nonetheless makes a great weekend of fun.

The worst part though is the multiplayer, which is pretty sparse in comparison to other major FPS titles these days. And with only ten hours in the single-player mode, that is a bit of an issue. If it sounds like we’re being harsh on Fear 2, we only hurt the ones we love, and we did love a lot about the game. It’s a great thing though, for gamers at least, when so many fantastic titles have come out recently that an ‘merely’ excellent game like Fear 2: Project Origin isn’t at the top of the heap. Reliable fun, solid gameplay, and plenty of thrills- available on PC, PS3 and 360 for about $50.

Dragon Quest V was originally a Super NES game, and like the previous iteration in the series that we reviewed, it’s a sublime port of a well-loved title. Basically, if you like RPGs, you’ll probably like DQ5, and should make some room in your library for this DS title. The story likely won’t wow anyone who has played through other major role-playing games before, but is still pretty touching in parts.

One of the coolest parts of the game is that you can recruit a wide variety of monsters to join your party- an addition that makes for nearly-endless replayability and really interesting mechanics. There aren’t a lot of endless extra missions, which we liked, but you can still spend 20+ hours working through the game. And while the hero doesn’t say a lot, you still manage to grow attached, wanting to play more, even when other games (Empire: Total War, I’m looking at you) try to draw you away. DQV is a pinnacle of the genre, a great portable game, and essential for RPG/DS fans. $40.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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