Review by Mikery15

"It's not exactly Condemned, but close enough."

Some would say I came late to the party when talking about Condemned. I bought and beat the first one only about a month ago, which is years after its release. I personally am not a big fan of horror games, which is why my immense liking of the game surprised me beyond belief. I had always wanted to play it, and the news of Condemned 2: Bloodshot, gave me the push I needed to finally go out and grab it before the second one hit shelves. The bottom line? I loved Condemned. Which is why after playing Condemned 2, I find myself a bit let down, however I am still a fan of the series.

Oh how times have change our protagonist. Ethan now has earned the title of alcoholic, low life, and a plethora of other names. But for those of you who have played the first Condemned, it is only sensible that a man who had gone through what Ethan had, falls into such a lifestyle. So as far as his character goes, it is not too far of a stretch to believe the massive character change. The game's plot and scenes draw a lot from this new Ethan, and although the new Ethan is not a problem (in my opinion), I do feel it indirectly resulted in some of the changes I will state later that I am not too fond of. But here you, or Ethan rather, are. Out drinking, when things get a bit weird. You soon find yourself right back in the action of battling the city's most despicable inhabitants. Against your liking you are called back to the force to take care of some business, when some old friends show up. You soon find yourself looking for clues, and more importantly, answers. Not just about the culprit(s), but yourself. Are things what they appear? Well you are gonna have to play to find that out!

Sound- 9/10
From sound effects to music, this game just seems to get it right. The mood of the music seems to always fit the current situation, and the library of effects really add to the experience. The reason I give it a 9 instead of a 10 is simple. While it does not disappoint, it does not do anything to stand out too much either. If I had only one complaint about the sound, it would be that it is not "creepy" enough. It goes with the mood and feel of the environment(s) well, but does little to build upon them.

Graphics- 8/10
The graphics in the game are a huge improvement over its predecessor. The textures and character models look light-years better, and overall the graphics are simply excellent. That being said, the graphics are the same as the sound in regards to it not standing out. It doesn't set the bar for graphics, in any terms, they just succeed in being more than sufficient. In addition, I find the characters to look a little awkward. Something about their scale, and especially their faces, don't look right. I was also disappointed that the slight motion blur that occurs while looking around is not an option that can be turned off. However I did not minus points for that because I did not have my glasses on and I was tired, so that could have contributed to the headache that ensued. Overall, do not fret, these graphics are indeed excellent, and the amount of improvement over the first Condemned is more than impressive.

Controls- 9/10
The controls for the new fighting system are indeed a thing to be pleased about. They respond well, and feel comfortable. When you push a button to do something, it happens, no questions asked, no errors. Now while that is a must have with any game, it is still a quality this game possesses. The new combos work well, and add to the gameplay by doing so. My only quarrel is that while learning the new fighting, sometimes they feel a bit clunky. But once you get accustomed to them, the controls will be everything you would expect them to be.

Story- 2/10

I can sum this games story up in one word. Crap. All it really does well is answer some questions left open from the first. It goes from having some potential, to a point at the end where it just becomes so ridiculously corny it is embarrassing. The story is predictable, not scary, and a damn shame. It is like the writers couldn't think of something good, so they just thought of something out of the ordinary. Many characters seem useless to the story, and many events seem just as unneeded. I am very disappointed in this game, and hope the creators are ashamed of themselves.

Gameplay- 5/10

The gameplay of Condemned 2 is really where this game disappoints me. Condemned (1)'s gameplay was what made it such a special and eerie game. Relying on primitive melee weapons, and limited supplies of fire arms made the fights very up close and tense. While Condemned 2 does indeed have this up-close fighting, it feels as if the guns received a lot more focus this time around. It feels a little too much like a basic shooter at some points. Improving the guns is of course expected, but I think full fledge fire fight sequences were not needed by any stretch of the imagination. If this change does not sound relevant to you, IE you don't care about the first game or you don't mind the change, than go ahead and toss on a couple more points to the rating.

The new forensics are out of this world. The game really delivers here. The forensics are more in-depth, and plain fun! I was really excited to try out the new forensics, and was not let down. You get graded on how well you perform the investigation sequences. Looking for clues, IE blood stains, cause of death, etc. It is a much richer experience that is loads of fun!

Of Birds and Antennae:
Remember collecting those birds, pieces of metal, and TVs? Well no more of that! Which is a good thing because it is a lot more fun the way the added mission elements are executed here. Instead of collecting birds and metal, this time around you find and destroy those pesky emitters from the first. As well, you will be finding TVs and radios and adjusting them to tune in to some extra plot points. There are two more new aspects as well. There are responses, which require you to push A at given moments to reply to comments; and optional side missions. Such as destroying meth labs. Overall, the new mission additives are a lot more fun and at the end of each mission you get a grade for how much you did. Getting all items and objectives done snags you a gold badge rating.

Simply put, this game is an excellent game. It has grown in many areas and does well to deliver a great experience. As stated previously, the game seems to be quite a bit different than the first, and that is the only big fault I find in it. It almost seems as if Ethan's new characteristics only exist so as to make him some brutal fighting machine, and be able to toss in some more gunplay. The game does well however, in "beefing up" many areas of the Condemned series. The fighting feels a lot more flushed out, and overall is a better, more entertaining experience. As I said before the forensics are absolutely phenomenal. From the grading you receive, to the actually execution of the sequences, everything feels awesome.

Final Thoughts:
If you loved the first Condemned as much as I did, there is no reason not to pick this one up. And no matter what, it is deserving of at least a rental. There really is no other game like this out there in terms of style, as well as quality.

Final Grade:
7/10 (Not an average)

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 03/17/08, Updated 03/18/08

Game Release: Condemned 2: Bloodshot (US, 03/11/08)

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