Written by  :  MasterMegid (902)
Written on  :  Jun 28, 2008
Platform  :  Xbox 360
Rating  :  4.56 Stars4.56 Stars4.56 Stars4.56 Stars4.56 Stars

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"I'm Ethan Thomas, and I'm drunk and pissed off. Because the city is too blind to see whats killing it".

The Good

The sequel to one of my personal favorite horror games. Condemned 2: Blood Shot, continues the plight of SCU agent Ethan Thomas. Published by Sega, and designed by mega developer Monolith. I had high expectations for this sequel. Can it possible live up to it’s predecessor?

Condemned 2, picks up six months after the conclusion of the original game. We find Ethan Thomas, once the most talented S.C.U. agent, now a drunk in some dive bar. He thought he had solved the SKX case, he was wrong. Like many good mystery stories, Condemned, had an ending that left a few questions unanswered. Much to the dismay of some gamers. Rest assured that Condemned 2, answers many of these. I won’t divulge them here. But I can and will tell you that, I felt that the plot in Condemned 2 was very well done. In some ways more so that it’s precursor.

Because were the original game had to set up the plot, and explain the fucked up world of Condemned to the gamer. The sequel has the advantage of getting to spend less time setting things up. Yet like the first game, still does a good job in presenting a very mysterious and often horrific nightmare. So from the get go Condemned 2, already succeeds where many horror games fail.

The gameplay has also been overhauled in many ways. Which I will now go over.

For starters, the combat system has been redone. Seeing as the original game had an excellent system. You may be wondering what exactly has been changed. Fear not Condemned fans, all the changes are for the better. This time around you can fight with your fists, as well as all the melee weapons and fire arms. There are also new weapons.

Furthermore you get the chance to upgrade Ethan’s skills. Upgrades are rewarded based on how well the player does. And upgrades include increasing Ethan’s health meter, and so forth.

Combos are now possible in combat. Just like in a fighting game, when the right button sequence is hit you can perform combos. Which quite frankly are off the fucking chain. Adding further to the pugilistic menu, Ethan can also make use of new chain attacks. These involve QTE like segments, that can be activated when the chain meter is full. Often the chain attacks help give you an edge against a difficult opponent.

Other changes include the fact that melee weapons now break. The only downside is that they often seem to break a little too easily. More interesting is the new ability to use the game environments to finish off your foes. Not unlike the quick kills in the recent Punisher game. It basically works like this, when in combat with one of Condemned’s crazed killers, you can grab them and say throw them through a window. Or use an industrial press to rip their heads off.

Like the original game, Condemned 2, makes good use of it’s setting. To the point in which the decrepit city almost IS a character. And the areas of the game are more varied from that of the original game. One mission has the player investigating a murder in a museum. Another has the player avoiding death in the heart of darkness, the city streets. Death is around every corner in the Condemned universe. And like the original, the sequel often is at it’s best as it makes the player feel as if they are actually in danger. Few horror games can claim this.

Like the combat system, the investigation mode has been revamped as well. The player still must look for clues to unlock the mystery of Condemned. However, this time around these sequences are more active. When investigating a murder scene, the play must survey the carnage and then make the correct diagnosis. In one scenario, the game has the player identify the victim, and ascertain the cause of death. Correctly doing so will reward the player with a score. Which gets calculated into the final “grade” of the mission. This is how the game rewards the player, by unlocking upgrades. Playing well can earn some of the better rewards earlier, and give an edge.

Powered by the latest version of the Jupiter engine.(The same engine used in the NOLF games as well as the more recent F.E.A.R. series.-MM-) Condemned 2 looks great. Best played in the dark of course. As the game does an amazing job of creating a game that looks dark. And it helps draw the player in to the game.

Any good horror game worth anything has a great soundtrack right? Well Condemned 2, succeeds here also. The voice acting is top notch. And the sound effects are amazing. From the sounds of combat, as heads meet fists, to the oft creepy muttering of all the psycho paths. Great stuff.

The Bad

Condemned 2 suffers from some glitches and bugs. Nothing to bad thankfully.

Worse is that at one part of the game is particular, Ethan must flee for his life. During this sequence the player must guide him. One wrong turn and you are dead. It is that simple.(The sequence reminds me of one such in the recent, Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Corners Of The Earth.-MM-) This part can be very annoying.

Overall there is less mystery in this sequel than I would have liked. A minor complaint I know.

The Bottom Line

I still enjoyed Condemned 2 very much. I felt that for the most part that it was better than it’s predecessor. A most excellent horror franchise gets better. As for the fate of Condemned 3? Only time will tell of that one.