Essentially, this is a game that doesn't stray particularly far from its well established comfort zone, but its so well polished and the core mechanics are so solid that it doesn't hugely matter.
First up, one slight issue - if you haven't played and are at least vaguely familiar with the events that took place in the first F.E.A.R game, then you'll be left entirely in the dark for this one. The plot carries straight on from the first, with very little in the way of explanation for the uninitiated. Certain text clues will mean little if you haven't played the first game.
Everything plays pretty much as you would expect. Graphically its rather compelling - one slight disappointment is that the torch doesn't cast real time shadows. More than likley a technical decision to ensure the frame rate stays stable, but having played Half Life, Left 4 Dead etc it feels a touch dated to have a torch that shines 'though' scenery without casting a shadow. Not a huge issue though. Elsewhere visually, its far more triumphant. The first game was rightly criticised for the dull office environments, and in F.E.A.R 2 the colour pallette is intelligently jazzed up and the locations whilst essentially offices are far more interesting to fight through. The shattered streets present a visual highlight with all manner of effects flying around.
In terms of physics its all beautifully kinetic - the environments are crammed with all manner of stuff that flies convincingly around during a fire fight - glass breaks, walls crumble, office detritus is flung around. It adds immeasurably to the firefights, lending a sense of consequence to the world.
The combat is excellent - it works beautifully without the Slo-Motion effect, being both brutal and weighty. Enemies ragdoll nicely when shot, limping off when hit in the legs and dying quite spectacularly. Add in the slo-mo button and the combat takes on a new form with the player able to dance balletic fashion around your foes, popping caps in their heads surrounded by glorious waves of bullets and sparks. The enemy are prefectly pitched to make the combat dynamic and exciting - clever enough to dive out of the way, try outflanking manouvres and flip over tables and desks to form temporary cover, but stupid enough to ensure the 'fun' factor is left in by hovering near explosive fire extinguishers and oxygen tanks, or perhaps carrying exploding tanks on their backs. It keeps the shooting fun and nciely OTT.
Its a hugely atmospheric game, but not necessarily a particularly scary one. If you've played the first, then the scares are essentially formulaic - you can often predict when a shocking event will occur, usually involving Alma or a mad vision. They're certainly atmospheric, creating a creepy world to roam around in, but the scares are a little cheap in places relying on techno ghosts popping out of lift doors shouting 'BOO'. Fun, but its a technique that ages quickly.
So its essentially a check list of what to put in a shooter, but all the elements work well. Special mention must go to the section where you get to control the giant Mech - normal genre convention dictates that this section should be a lightweight and irritating diversion from the core shooting, but in F.E.A.R 2 its handled very well, with a lot of visual cleverness and enjoyable shooting that lasts just the right amount of time before it starts to grate. Level design can be a little convoluted at times, but generally this is great example of a development team that knows precisely what makes a shooter work and showcases a game that can build on experience from previous games (theres a lot of elements here from Condemned 2) to polish each element until it gleams.