|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Monolith Productions||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 11, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8 (online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
your inner demons...
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
December 20, 2007 - The original Condemned for the Xbox 360 was a launch title that was generally well-received. Its combination of an interesting story and grizzly environmental kills made it one of the most memorable titles of the fledgling Xbox 360. The story is centered on FBI special agent Ethan Brown who becomes wrapped up in several sinister events beyond his control. The outcome proved to be explosive and memorable, and it left fans salivating for more. However, the original Condemned was not without its faults. Many fans of the game complained that it played way too slowly and the finishing moves became way too repetitive.
Luckily, the folks behind Condemned 2 have taken this advice to heart and have also enhanced the series' pre-existing strengths. This time, the focus is still on Ethan Thomas, but you'll be exploring both his current state, as well as several secrets of his past. The series retains its sinister and dark tones, and you can expect a lot of gratuitous and sinister violence. But with a title like "Condemned," I can't imagine that you were expecting anything else. The series also takes advantage of Thomas' impeding psychosis and plays with the idea of altered perception. Many things in the game's setting can't be taken for true, and it will be up to you to discern what is real and what is illusion. Sometimes an entire setting will be an elaborate hallucination, and you will have to find a way through it before you can escape from your waking nightmare.
Environmental kills, which were the staple of the original game, have been greatly improved as well in this title. There are more possibilities as to what you can use for these special kills, and the whole experience feels a little less linear. One big problem with the original Condemned that many fans picked up on pretty quickly was the lack of an option to use the main character's fists as a weapon. While this facet sounds like somewhat of a minor detail, the complete reliance of the original game on environmental weaponry was a little limiting, especially when there was none readily around. Now that you are able to use hand-to-hand combat, you'll be prepared to take out your enemies anytime, anywhere!
Several other noteworthy elements are being reinvented or changed for Condemned 2: Bloodshot. One minor element that was slightly agitating to some in the original was how main character Thomas would get tired after sprinting a short distance. While a significant minority thought this added to the realism and immersion factors of the game, a vast majority was vocally agitated with it, so the fatigue element has been completely scrapped for the sequel. Another element that has been adjusted for the sequel is the forensics system. It's unknown exactly how the forensics system will work exactly, but it has been said that it will be more of a puzzle-based system. One area of Condemned 2 that is getting a complete makeover is the finishing move system. In the original, players had a choice of four finishing moves to do after they had significantly pummeled their opponents. This number was far too few for many of the game's fans, and the finishing move system felt a little too repetitive and pointless for gameplay. This time around, there will be many more choices for specific finishing moves, and they will be much more satisfying then the meager pickings of the original.
One element of Condemned 2: Bloodshot that is completely new is the "Hobo Fight Club." What this mode entails is essentially a survival coliseum-style death match. The only difference here is that instead of fighting Romans or Animals, you're fighting the dirge of society. Enemies will come at you in an increasing rate, but the more weapons and items you unlock in the story mode, the more you'll be able to destroy in the Hobo Fight Club. There's no official word as to whether this mode will be made available in some form as an online mode or whether this will be a strictly offline-only affair, all we know is that it will involve carnage of the highest degree.
Condemned 2: Bloodshot seems to be doing exactly what sequels are supposed to do, but most often don't: taking the source material and improving upon it. It sounds like a simple concept, but unfortunately many developers seem to think that once a series is successful, that means you should stick to the formula and forget about possible improvements to the series. But Condemned 2: Bloodshot seems to be making all the right moves to make it a candidate for "most improved sequel." The developers have opted to rework some of the original's most glaring flaws, be they big or small, and seem intent on delivering a worthwhile gaming experience to those who enjoyed the first title.
Oh, and for those who were worried about the ending of the first game, reports are surfacing that Condemned 2: Bloodshot will feature a complete conclusion that won't leave you scratching your head as much. No real word on the real amount of finality that will be in the conclusion (I can't believe they wouldn't leave it open for a Condemned 3), but to those who are concerned about the ending being as unfinished-feeling as the original, it looks like you can put your fears to rest. Condemned 2: Bloodshot looks like it's going to be one heck of a game and a worthwhile title for anyone who enjoys the darker, more violent genre of game.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer