Review by Exodist
The best hobo-beating simulator around!
If you have read my other reviews you may know I enjoyed the original Condemned, despite having a few flaws it was a well made and fun game. Condemned 2 tries to make most aspects of the original Condemned and make them better. Whilst the game is better in some aspects, it is also worse in some aspects, making the game just about as good as the first.
First off, the story is OK, but crap too. If you don't want any spoilers, then stop reading now and skip to the next paragraph. The story takes place roughly a few months after the original Condemned. Our hero, Ethan Thomas, has turned into a raging alcoholic, his life has no meaning and he is pretty much insane. He is at rock bottom, and there is nothing going for him. However, Vanhorn (from the first game) is murdered, and the SCU hire Ethan to help them. Soon you're after Serial Killer X (im not sure how he lives, considering he shoots himself, apparently Vanhorn nursed him back to health), also finding out a few things about the Oro, an organisation. The plot leaves many more questions, and gets a bit silly toward the end (the game stops feeling like a horror game, unlike the original Condemned which kept the same creepy atmosphere throughout). Also characters suddenly change, Rosa looks completely different as does SKX, and even Ethan. Ethan may of turned into a hobo, but he still looks completely different from before. Another problem is Ethans character. There isn't much to him, he just swears and beats up hobos, there isn't much character in him. However the plot does its job, it does make sense according to the previous games story.
Mostly, the game play is largely the same as the original Condemned, just improved. You will walk around the levels, beat some hobos up, then do some crime-scene investigation. Firstly, the combat is a much more improved system. The RT uses the right fist, and LT the left fist. Pressing both blocks, whilst pressing the buttons in different combinations will allow you to do different combos (also, the right analog stick will kick). Combat mainly consists of blocking an attack at the right time to give you an opportune time to attack. The enemies do much more damage to you then you do to them, making combat very hard. Whilst its a nice idea for the combat, its very hard to get used, I just prefer using melee weapons. So yeah, the melee weapons are essentially thesame as before, each weapon has different stats, including one new stat, condition. Unfortunately weapons will break after use, making you resort to fist combat. Firearms do return in the game and are used much more often. They're better than before, although its still not as good as any other shooter. The forensics are back, and they're definitely better in every aspect. Where as in the original Condemned just told you how to do the forensics step-by-step, Condemned 2 is much more fun. You will find a crime-scene (or just general evidence), and are told what you're looking for. You must then zoom into different pieces of evidence and select the right choice in a list (for example, you're to determine what gender the body is, how they died etc). Its really fun and definitely an improvement over the original. Although some parts are hard, failing doesn't actually matter, better scores just help with a better level medal. Which takes me to the last improvement. Where as in the original you had to collect dead birds and metal pieces, you now have to find a few different objects. Emitters, TVs (which you tune into to learn more about the story etc), and responces (a command pops up on screen, pressing A before it disappears will make the character respond). You also get optional objectives on a few levels. Depending on what you collected you get a medal at the end of the level, giving you an upgrade. Getting gold requires you to perfect all the forensics in the level, complete all optional objectives, and destroy all emitters, tune into all TVs and get all the responces.
Condemned 2 also has a multiplayer aspect, unlike the original. It contains the basic Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes, including two modes unique to the game. You get Crime-scene, where the Influenced must hide evidence and protect it, whilst the SCU must find and scan it. The other is Bum Rush, the SCU must survive against hoardes of Influenced (they kill in pretty much one hit, but only have one life), and the Influenced must kill the SCU (they have infinite lives). The multiplayer is OK, my personal favourite being Bum Rush. Not many people play online though, and the deathmatch and crime-scene modes a little rubbish. However its there to provide a little entertainment, and a few easy achievements.
Lastly, are the graphics. They're definitely improved over the last game, character models and textures look much better, although thats about it. You can definitely see the improvements, but its not the technical leap you might expect. A few problems were the brightness, the game is incredibly dark and hard to play in the day, fortunately higher brightness levels dont ruin the graphics. Another problem was the motion blur, when turning fast its really strange, I can't quite describe it but you will probably wish it wasn't there, and to make it worse, you can't turn it off.
Overall, if you were a fan of the original, by all means get Condemned 2. Its pretty similar to the original game but with many improvements. If you're after something a little different this is it, but if you want something with more action, this isn't for you.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Condemned 2 (EU, 04/04/08)
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