Take a typical military shooter, add elements of personal isolation, a dark setting and a creepy psychic girl who seems to alternately help and hinder progress through an apocalyptic setting, and you've got the basic elements of F.E.A.R. 2.

Take a typical military shooter, add elements of personal isolation, a dark setting and a creepy psychic girl who seems to alternately help and hinder progress through an apocalyptic setting, and you've got the basic elements of F.E.A.R. 2.

Picking up almost immediately after the original, this atmospheric, frightening game from Warner Bros. and Monolith studios - the folks behind similar creepfest Condemned: Criminal Origins - ratchets up the supernatural elements of its predecessor.

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin has players assume the role of Sgt. Michael Becket, member of an elite squad that was sent to extract a rogue researcher from her corporate headquarters minutes before the end of the first game. During the mission, the character hallucinates a small, dark-haired girl called Alma, and eventually witnesses the catastrophic explosion that sets the dark story into motion.

The game walks a line between action shooter and dark thriller as you navigate cramped corridors filled with enemy soldiers and psychic monstrosities. A mystery unravels as you collect information scattered about the buildings, searching for the trigger to the apocalyptic psychic backlash.

Play reveals the connection between Becket and the now-grown Alma, an experiment gone wild who's using her powers for vengeance on the world that wronged her.

Excellent sound design and claustrophobic, horrific settings work well to pump up the sense of dread. The brutal military forces, as well as Alma's psychic creations, leave gory trails that keep this game from becoming a rote exercise in run-and-gun shooting.

Enemies are mostly intelligent, taking cover, tipping up tables and attempting to manage the player in a firefight. Players aren't as lucky; while the environment can be used for hiding, there's no simple way to stick to cover like in Gears of War.

Combat is fast and frantic, and Monolith knows how to keep the tension up as you explore this world. Fierce gunfights are interspersed with moments of silent exploration and opponents both mundane and supernatural erupt into action at frighteningly appropriate times. There's no set pattern that allows players to settle into a predictable lull.

While there is a team-based multiplayer component, the biggest strength of F.E.A.R. 2 is the experience of a well-crafted horror-action tale.

But this is not a game for those who are weak of stomach. It feature scenes of slaughter and even some graphic depictions of sexual assault, and delivers an ending that promises possibly more horrific events yet to come.