Condemned 2: Bloodshot First Look

Ethan Thomas has an interesting system of beliefs. We take a look at them in our first glimpse of Condemned 2: Bloodshot.


Anyone who bought an Xbox 360 back when it first shipped will remember Condemned, the ultrabrutal action game that hit the system as a launch title. In it, you played as Ethan Thomas, an FBI agent who worked for the Serial Crimes Unit and attempted to track down a serial killer while simultaneously fighting off hordes of sociopathic criminals. The game's emphasis on vicious melee combat and forensic investigations helped it stand out among a flood of first-person shooters.

Now, almost two years later, Ethan is back on the case in Condemned 2: Bloodshot, which will be coming out for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in early 2008. The events of Condemned have turned Ethan into a broken man, a boozehound who has been cast out of the FBI. When his former partner goes missing, though, Ethan attempts to come out of his exile to help unravel the shadowy conspiracy that surrounds his partner's disappearance.

At a recent Sega press event, Monolith Productions showed off a rough trailer of the game for the assembled press. What struck us most about it was the change in tone; while the original game featured a confused and disoriented Ethan, he seems downright nihilistic in the sequel, not unlike the protagonist of a noir detective story, especially in his reference to work being hard when you're trying to do it from the inside of a bottle. The writing seems to have taken a turn for the hard-boiled, with a couple of voice-over lines in particular sticking in our memories. Only a man who's having a really good time would say stuff like, "Life is funny. Not funny like a joke, but funny like a kick in the balls." Even better is the tagline: "I only believe in two things. Both of them are fists. And both of them are mine."

Apart from the new sensibility on display, the game's action seems to be very similar to that of the original title. You're still going to do most of your killing at close range, with baseball bats, metal pipes, and lengths of concrete-encrusted rebar, although there will be shotguns and other ranged weapons available as well. Sega is promising a newly designed combat system, however, with defensive and offensive "combo chains," as well as a new grappling system that will let you get even more up close and personal with your foes. In addition, new forensic tools will let you help solve the various murders that you're bound to stumble across in your quest.

The new tone of Condemned 2: Bloodshot seems to be promising, and although we haven't seen much of the gameplay yet (including a new multiplayer mode, which Sega announced), we'll be sure to have more details on the game in the coming months.

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