"His life is a wreck. Drunk, angry and dying for another drink, he crushes some pills with his glass, brushes the remains into his drink and downs the lot. An unfortunate guy gets his face pummeled in by him after accidentally brushing past him. He is Ethan Thomas, former Serial Crime Unit investigator. Several months after the events of the first game, the Serial Crime Unit want Ethan back. Another serial killer is on the lose, and Ethan is the only man for the job. "
His life is a wreck. Drunk, angry and dying for another drink, he crushes some pills with his glass, brushes the remains into his drink and downs the lot. An unfortunate guy gets his face pummeled in by him after accidentally brushing past him. He is Ethan Thomas, former Serial Crime Unit investigator. Several months after the events of the first game, the Serial Crime Unit want Ethan back. Another serial killer is on the lose, and Ethan is the only man for the job.
Unfortunately for Ethan, the local hobos have been driven insane by some unknown force. And not the good kind of insane either. These hobos will beat the first thing that moves with a toilet seat, a steel pipe or anything else they can get their hands on. Fortunately for Ethan, he also finds these items along his journey, making for one of the most brutal, violent and satisfying combat systems in a long time.
Instead of wielding swords or guns, your primary weapon of choice in Condemned 2 could be a steel pipe, a brick or a locker door. These are just some of the many melee weapons you'll find scattered across the environments, and all of them are great fun to use. You use RB to use whatever is in your right hand, whether it be some type of weapon or a fist, and the same goes for LB, except for your left hand. While this may sound simple, and to be honest, it is, but a scary amount of depth lurks underneath. You'll need to chain combos to survive, and you'll 'unlock' more combos as you progress.
Seeing your foe's eyes widen just before you smash that pipe into their skull, followed by a loud *CRACK* is ever so satisfying. The level of detail in Condemned 2 is unprecedented. The murky streets, seemingly devoid of life, present an undeniably creepy atmosphere that sends chills down your spine. And what's more, these streets happen to be the least scariest and unoriginal environments in the game, but they're far from bad. My favourites include the hotel, because of the amount of rooms there is to explore, you never know what's going to creep up on you, and the bowling alley which has large rooms riddled with hobos. A perfect way to test out your new found weapon: a bowling ball. But even the most action packed levels can be extremely scary. This is mainly thanks to the genuinely creepy atmosphere, but there are plenty of 'jump out of your seat' scares as well.
But you don't just aimlessly wander around killing hobos for no reason, Ethan is trying to solve some grisly murders, which coincidentally, happened to have taken place where there are plenty of murderous hobos. Once you find a body, you'll then need to investigate it, and the surrounding area, to discover what actually happened. The detective mechanics are greatly improved upon from the original Condemned. One example of this is trying to find out whether a victim crawled, or was dragged to his current position. So, you bring out your UV light and examine the trail of blood. At first you think he was dragged, but look a little closer. There are hand prints in the blood. He crawled. Other times I had to identify whether a bloodstain on a wall was an exit splatter from a gun. It is great fun to investigate these murders, but unfortunately, there is no punishment for being wrong on what happened. You get a rating out of five depending on how accurate you were, but other than that, you don't get punished or rewarded.
There is usually a good balance between combat and investigation, but towards the end things get a bit mis-matched in all aspects of the game. The story trails off from interesting to stupid, the great melee system ends up with Ethan shooting down helicopters while the investigations become a lot less frequent.
There is also an online multiplayer mode in Condemned, but it does feel a little tacked on. The deathmatches turn into running into the other players and mashing R1 until one of you dies. The only good mode; Crime Scene, involves a team of 'influenced' (This is a fancy name for the hobos) and a team of SCU. The influenced have to carry and hide two individual heads that are stored in crates, while the SCU has to find these crates and scan them. This can lead to plenty of scary moments when you can hear the heavy breathing of the influenced but don't know where they are, or when an influenced with a pig mask sprints out of the darkness towards you. But this mode also feels a bit unbalanced, where the SCU spawn with machine guns and shotguns, the influenced only get pipes and sledgehammers so they get picked off pretty quickly. But I guess it makes the game that much scarier, knowing that you're creeping around enemy territory where you can die in one or two shots.
All in all, Condemned 2 is a terrifying, cringe-worthy title that successfully combines a great combat system, creepy environments and genuine scares to make a good game all around. Unfortunately, it trails off towards the end, and the multiplayer is good for a few hours but it isn't going to pull you away from Call of Duty. If you're looking for a violent, frightening and disturbing game, then this will definitely satisfy your needs.
Community review by microwavedapple (May 12, 2008)
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