Review by Dante_Meta

Reviewed: 03/31/08

"Bloodshot" Refers to your Eyes; as you won't be able to Sleep.

Condemned 2 is a game many people have claimed that it is, “Not as scary as the first one.” However, I haven’t had my heart race this much since I was about seven. Condemned 2 mainly focuses on physiological horror, similar to the Silent Hill series, but also relies on “Things that make you jump,” as seen in Resident Evil. Turn off all the lights, and get some surround sound if you really want a scary game.

The graphics are interesting to say the least. The facial textures and hair models (Specifically, Ethan, the main character) aren’t that great. Ethan’s hair is a bit poorly done, and his facial textures seem a bit bland (And zombie-ish, but I guess alcohol will do that to you). In-Game, however, the graphics start to stand out. Textures are well done, and the sheer grittiness of some parts just adds to the “Scary factor.”

The blush effect could be toned down a bit in some parts, but it’s still not as extreme as some other games. Most of the time, the game is very dark. You have to rely on your flash light (And yes, you can use it with a weapon. No duct tape required here), but this is done to add to the fact that you can’t see your surroundings. Some effects could be a little better (Like a tar creature exploding when you punch it in the face), but overall it’s smooth, the animations are nice, and it feels very real.

Can’t say much for the music aspect of the game, as it’s virtually non-existent. Don’t take this as negative, though. I feel that music, soft or otherwise, would ruin some of the scary factor. In games such as Resident Evil 4, it’s hard to be surprised due to the fact the music starts whenever a Ganado approaches you. In this game however, you’re completely left to your observation, if that. Half the time, you won’t be expecting a homeless man to burst out from around a corner and start attacking you with a toilet seat.

The sound is very clear, and can really mess with your mind if you have surround sound. The reason for this is because the sound isn’t always an indicator that something is about to attack you. (Again, going back to Resident Evil 4), the ambient noise could be a rat scurrying along the floor, a can flying out of a drink machine, or a skinless meth addict’s cackle. There are times when it DOES mean something is about to rip your face off, however. In such cases, it’s best to block.

As for the voice acting, it’s mostly in sync and fits the characters. For example, you don’t have Michael Clarke Duncan inside of Ethan’ body. (As heard in Army of Two, with Rios), however, the only voice that doesn’t fit sometimes is actually Ethan’s. Ethan looks like he’d have a deep, scruffy voice, ala Solid Snake. But at some points, he sounds as if he’s in his late teens. Other than this, everything sounds and flows nicely.

The gameplay is the best part. Like its predecessor, the game isn’t much of a First Person Shooter. This is because, in the first half, guns are extremely rare, and have very limited ammo. The game is mostly focused on melee, importing a sort of Dead-Rising weapon system, in that nearly everything can be used. Pool balls, Foosball rods, crowbars, and even baby dolls, you name it, and it’ll likely be a weapon. Each have their own stats, which you can see if it’s faster, stronger, has a longer reach, or in better condition. I’ve found that unless you’re being swarmed, it’s best to use your fists, however, due to their damage and speed. Along with this, you also have hooks, jabs, and kicks.

One interesting thing is the alcohol system. In this game, Ethan has become an alcoholic, and therefore, up until about half the game, he requires you to drink, otherwise his aim will become shaky. Alcohol bottles are found throughout the game, and can not only be used to refill your “Alcohol meter”, but also used as a weapon.

There’s an interesting combo system, where you can perform certain combos to raise your Combo Meter. The combo meter allows you to use certain special attacks, that are either instant kill or very damaging. Fill one bar, and you’ll just do a basic, extremely damaging attack. Fill two bars, and it usually involves breaking an arm, leg, or both. When all three bars are filled, Ethan will initiate an instant-kill sequence that will break the enemy’s neck. And that’s another thing about this game, it is extremely brutal.

There is a ton of gore (Think shooting someone in the face, and having their brain splatter all over the place) and my absolute favorite, environment kills. When you defeat an enemy, they’ll occasionally kneel and you can grab them. From here you can choke them until they’re knocked out, break their neck, or kill them with the environment, be it throwing them off a ledge, or smashing their face into a TV.

As I touched on, only the first half is really scary. The part where the game starts to go a little downhill is just past half way where the game becomes a typical first person shooter. You find assault rifles every two inches, and the scariest part is figuring out how to take out the seven agents shooting at you. The end of the game gets… A little creepy, but only that, creepy. There’s nothing else to scare you, make you jump, or anything like that. It’s simply “Aim to shoot.”

The story isn’t particularly different from Condemned 1, except that Ethan is now a retired drunk who spends his days in bars. You’re hired by Farrel and Rosa again to track down Malcom Vanhorne, when things take a turn for the worst. You’re mostly after the Oro, a cult-like organization, rather than SKX. Due to Ethan’s excessive drinking, he starts to have hallucinations, mainly which take the form of The Alcohol Demon, Ethan’s demonic alter ego. Your primary enemies are still Infected Homeless, alongside the various supernatural enemies Ethan must face.

As for replay value, you have four story-line modes. Easy, Normal, Hard, and FPS Mode. FPS mode is unlocked by beating the game once, what it does is starts you off with a gun for nearly every mission; along with infinite ammo. Aside from this, you have various “Challenge modes” (Including a practice arena where you can set a number of different options), various artwork and behind the scenes-esque things, and to top it off, about four different online multiplayer modes.

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Story: 7/10
Replay Value: 7/10

Overall: 8/10

Condemned 2 is a game that starts off quite scary, but slowly declines into a typical shooter. Even though my preference was with the former, it’s not a bad game by any means. In fact, I’d give it an 8.5 if I could, but I’ll settle with an 8. Condemned 2 is a fairly long game with plenty of scary moments, and definitely worth checking out, even if it’s only a rent. I’d suggest buying though. In fact, it’s great fun to play this your first time with one or two friends, at night, with all the lights off.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Condemned 2: Bloodshot (US, 03/18/08)

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