Condemned: Criminal Origins turned the world of gamers upside down at the launch of the 360 with some really new horror elements. Condemned stood out above all those repetitive games that came out then, which after a while became much too predictable, and managed to win over a whole audience. Although the game did have some flaws, it was forgiven as it was still a first-generation game for the 360. Since the launch of the 360, developer Monolith Studios has had plenty of time to make a second part more than terrifying. And sure enough, Condemned 2: Bloodshot was realised. Not only are people more than curious about all the new gameplay additions, but a lot is also expected from the interesting story. Time to bring it to a test.
Condemned 2 is a spectacular rollercoaster ride you won’t want to get off
Condemned 2 doesn’t start right away where the game left the player at the end of the first part, because you start eleven months after the SKX (Serial Killer X) case was resolved. This case literally swallowed main character Ethan Thomas as he has a different, crazy view of the world after that case. At the start of Condemned 2, he comes across as a drunk, old sack who is thought to have his life screwed up. Once the circumstances begin to unfold, and when an old friend of his dies, it becomes clear to him that something is wrong again. Ethan has still not received an answer or clarification on what his friend thinks should be a ‘gift’. In Condemned 2, you soon find out that a group called ‘The Oro’ has a lot to do with both Ethan and the strange happenings in the city. What will be the matter?
Condemned 2 takes place in several different locations, each with its own atmosphere. You start in the standard apartment buildings and factories, but later in the game you end up in the snow-capped mountains and a real ship. All locations carry a legible atmosphere, making the style of Condemned 2 really present in every level. The story itself seems to be one huge climax, although the ending disappointed me a bit and raised more questions than the previous one. So if you’re a person who wants questions answered, Condemned 2 isn’t exactly the game you should be playing. The game lasts 12 to 15 hours and really has you in its grip that time, leaving you to speculate about the story even after you’ve played it. However, there are some difficulties here and there in the single player that you will get through with difficulty, and possibly frustration. For example, I’ll mention a part where you’re constantly looking around for where to go, which has happened to me quite often, or a part where you keep dying. It may just be me, although I doubt it, but those are some points that could have been better in Condemned 2.
“The Melee combat system has become a lot more extensive than I expected.”
The Melee combat system has become a lot more extensive than I expected. I myself already had some suspicions about a somewhat more extensive system, but there are really so many new additions that I still don’t even use a number of things because I don’t know about them. First, you have the Environment kills. This means that if you’ve knocked the opponent down enough and are close to being KO’d you can still grab him, then throw him into one of the many enviroment spots (indicated by a skull), such as into a TV or over a ledge. . The fighting itself, for which Condemned has become famous, also has some nice additions. For example, you can now make combos, which double your damage, or you can perform counter-attacks. So you now have a much more extensive arsenal of moves, which will make for some spectacular fistfights.
The game certainly has an eye for detail. Although I think it still uses the FEAR engine, it has been polished up considerably. Textures are sharper than ever and the blood seems lifelike. In addition, a nice motion-blur effect has also been added, which will provide very nice graphic highlights at certain times. The monsters that occasionally pass by in the game seem like diabolical creations, and every time there is a chase and you hear the panting behind you, you can pee your pants in fear.
Unique in Condemned 2 is the good use of shadows, which you may have noticed from various trailers or gameplay images. The entire game often comes across as very dark, and often takes place at night. This is of course the formula for a good horror story and atmosphere, but sometimes this can have a disorienting effect. Fortunately, navigation is possible by means of a handy PDA. The many shadows ensure that enough enemies can hide, so expect many unexpected ambushes from every corner. In addition, sound also plays a major role in Condemned 2, because the world is ‘alive’ as it were and everywhere you go you can hear a (scary) sound.
The multiplayer aspect provides a unique experience
The use of shadows is very useful in Condemned’s multiplayer mode, which by the way is a debut for the series. Various modes are available, of which Crime Scene and Burn Rush are the most notable. The standard Deathmatch and Team-Deathmatch variants are also included, but the developer of Condemned 2 has really focused on having a unique possible experience in multiplayer looking at the two special modes. For example, in Crime Scene it is the intention that one team will hide evidence in the level, the other team must then find this by using the forensic tools from the single player, very cool. Except for Deathmatch, every other mode is team-based, so you can choose from two teams: the SCU (police) and The Influenced (the psychopaths). Each team has its own weapon and skin set, although I personally think the SCU is a bit stronger since they can spawn with firearms by default.
Furthermore, despite the fact that the developer said that they would not be based on levels from the single player, the levels do secretly play in single player environments. There are also some levels that are reminiscent of Condemned 1, such as Farm House (one of the later levels). Returning to the shadows, each level has enough hiding spots to give the opponent a big scare. If you stand in a corner with shadow it is really difficult to be spotted (unless the opponent has his flashlight on). The intent of the developer was to convey the unpredictability and fear of the single player, and in my view it more than succeeded. This game is the first game to date where you can actually be scared by attacking him from behind, or suddenly jumping out and that is really the intention. The mutilated skins of the Influenced team certainly help with that.
Condemned 2 is still a worthy successor if I had to judge it harshly. Except for the extensive multiplayer mode, the single player comes across as a modernized single player, with good and strong scares. The additions in various systems, such as the use of shadow, provide a unique experience where you are always on the edge of your seat. The story can be disappointing, but the experiences you gain in the single player are also one-of-a-kind. Where else can you now see a bear chase in an old hovel, where all the walls are collapsing around you? Again and again I got an adrenaline rush at all the spectacular moments, and somehow they just kept building up. Fortunately, the imperfections present in the game do not overshadow the overall gameplay. If we take that together with polished graphics and a multiplayer that will keep you busy for a while, I think I speak for every gamer when I say that Condemned 2: Bloodshot is a hit.
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