Condemned 2 Impressions

Monolith's Xbox 360 launch title is back for a sequel, and we were taken into a real-life crypt to see it in action.

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Monolith's Condemned was one of the better Xbox 360 launch titles, and although it was something of a cult hit, it will still be spawning a sequel. The follow-up, Condemned 2: Bloodshot, looks like it will substantially expand on the investigation elements in the first game, while the notorious hand-to-hand combat will be more realistic and gruesome than ever. Condemned 2 will launch on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2008, and we got to see it running on the 360 at a recent Sega preview event.

 The combat system is now based around combos, and it's even more brutally visceral than before.
The combat system is now based around combos, and it's even more brutally visceral than before.

Condemned 2 takes place a year after the events of the first game. You still play Serial Crimes Unit (SCU) investigator Ethan Thomas, although he's become a little worse for wear in the interim. Dramatically affected by the trauma of his experience, he's now a homeless alcoholic. He's called into action by the SCU when his former partner goes missing, and the game begins as he starts to find his feet again.

The demo that Monolith showed us took place fairly close to the beginning of the game, with Thomas exploring a crack den alongside a team from the agency. Shortly into the demo, he fell down a lift shaft and was separated from the rest of the squad. Only just managing to escape the shaft before the lift fell down on top of him, Thomas was then forced to communicate with the rest of his team via radio, who ordered him to explore the area.

After this rather dramatic introduction, the Monolith representative armed Thomas with a brick as a basic means of defense. As in the previous game, hand-to-hand combat is still the backbone of Condemned 2, although the system has been refined significantly. Aside from making simple attacks, you can now employ a combo system by using the left and right triggers. If you land a blow with one button and follow up with the other, you'll be able to link together much more powerful attacks.

Firearms make a return, although you'll still have to rely on bricks and pipes when you run out of ammo.
Firearms make a return, although you'll still have to rely on bricks and pipes when you run out of ammo.

The first game was certainly dark and violent, but the sequel ups the ante to become a complete assault on the senses. The hand-to-hand combat feels dirty and frantic, with enemies that pop out at you and get in your face. Credit has to be given for the impressive visuals and character design that were showcased in the demo, but most of the effect comes down to Monolith's peerless audio design. If you crack an enemy in the face with a brick, you'll hear the full impact of masonry on skull. This is amplified by the use of horror genre techniques--string instruments produce sharp, piercing screeches to heighten the tension. This works particularly well when you're swinging a pipe at an enemy--a high note on the violin emphasizes the impact that you're about to make on your foe. It's horrific stuff.

However, Condemned 2's not just about bashing in homeless people's skulls. The innovative investigation system that debuted in the first game makes a return here in a much more expanded form, allowing you to choose from a variety of reports to send back to the office. In the demo, we saw a murdered policeman, and it was up to us to try to find out what had happened. With the SCU office asking questions on the radio, Monolith demonstrated how you could choose to give it five different responses based on what you saw. For example, the Monolith rep was asked questions about the gunshot trauma point and had to take photos to identify exit wounds.

Crime scene investigation fans will definitely be able to dig their teeth into the investigative elements of Condemned 2. The graphical detail made the process very involving, and the demo showed tools, such as UV lamps being used to trace blood. In this murder case, it was clear from the handprints that there had been some struggle, while the trail of blood that was smeared on the floor made it clear the body had been moved. All this was reported back to base, and in turn, your investigative skills are rated point by point once all the evidence is collected.

Further on in the demo, we saw some of the firearms that will make their way into the game, although ammunition will be fairly limited. The emphasis is on hanging back and avoiding this sort of combat because any shots that you take are potentially lethal. We saw an example of this in an outside environment, where rival gangs were involved in a street war. If you run in blindly, you'll almost certainly be cut to shreds, but if you wait for them to kill each other out, you can steal their weapons. So far, we know that handguns and shotguns will make it into Condemned 2. We also saw how you can use gas canisters to create fire and explosions.

With Condemned 2, Monolith is refining the horror experience while expanding on the combat and investigation elements of the first game. If you're playing with a surround-sound system, prepare to have your nerves torn to shreds. The only concern we have at this point is whether it will make it past the censors unscathed. One of the more violent environmental kills that we were told about was being able to break off someone's head in a toilet bowl--a move not dissimilar to one in Manhunt 2. Assuming it passes certification, we'll see the game sometime in 2008.

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DaveyBoy123

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I loved the first game, it was gritty and deranged this game looks just as gritty and deranged, only prettier the only thing i hope they improved upon would be length the first was way to short if this is a few hours longer it will probably be one of my favorites this year

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ligerz76

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Looks awesome. I might pick this up soon. Absolutely loved the first one. It really creeped me out and had great gameplay, I gave it a ten out of ten.

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TyranyVaunt

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Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow... Tomorrow is only a day away!!!!

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HenriH-42

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So... they are not gonna make this on the PC?! Damn! I loved the first one : ( I hate how all the developers think that PC gaming is dead (lol?!)... They are only losing potential sales and pissin' us off > : (

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blaze_adeel

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its mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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ACES_of_CRIME

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Good game for sadists. yum! C ant wait to do the "crush head in the toilet move". If Bloodshot turns out good I´ll buy it. Dont F*********CKKKKK this up!

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nappan

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I can't wait, the first Condmened is one of the few modern games that really spooked me, and the combat was fun too. Now that the console is a little more broken in, I'm sure the sequel will be terrific. Also, people need to remember that unlike Manhunt, Condmened has it's violence in a clear context, not just some pointlessly graphic killfest highlight reel. I doubt the ESRB will have an issue with it.

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VenkmanPHD

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This is sad, it's finally gotten to the point where we have to be SCARED that the ESRB is going to ruin our games. They took the study that showed not even half of parents know anything about the ratings system, yet the MPAA ratings are recognized by everyone in the country. FIX THAT, don't screw with our games.

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aka1986

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i hope this doesn't fall into the same problem area as manhunt2 with the media, they ruin games!

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b33zy

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condemn looks like it going to be creepy & bloody.. LOVE IT! :D

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Chrissyc86

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" it's even more brutally visceral than before." Thats all i needed to hear SINISTER_XIII is totally right

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Ekustix

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Very excited to play.

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SINISTER_XIII

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I'm not easily impressed these days... ...but Bloodshot looks INCREDIBLE! 1st game was WAAAAAAY underrated.

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gordanfreeman53

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This game looks so freakin Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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arikkot

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Anything with graphic blood is already a 10 in my book, so I'll just consider a plot and investigations as added bonuses.

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TimeToPartyHard

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Greg Grunberg not doing Ethan's voice? Lame. Looks like a decently solid game though.

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SmArTaLeC1321

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WOW it looks totally freaky and i totally love it!

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rpgisforme

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Never got to play the first one, but I'm dying to get into this one. Sounds awesome.

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hbnmrsmiley

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i watched my friend play through the entire original game. that was good enough for me. ;)

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Solid_Devil

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I liked the first one so i might buy this one as well.

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Memoryitis

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This game is going to own hamsters

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ChuckNorris82

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THIS 1 IS GOING TO F**KIN OWN!! THE FIRST ONE KICKED @$!!!!

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madmike1515

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This game looks FREEEEEKY

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220889371438157466989549260003

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I'm looking forward to this game very much. I loved the first one. Most first person shooters can't create a haunting atmosphere. The first one had me tense for quite some time.

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Redhairboy491

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Little fact that i just saw when looking some stuff up on wikipedia, there apprently was an FBI agent named Ethan Thomas and it's believed, not confirmed, that he coined the name "serial killer."

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Memoryitis

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nice first condemned was scary as hell cant wait for this one to come out

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creed20056969

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You gotta give alot of props to Monolith,they fixed every part of the game that people complained about. Hand to hand combat(left and right punches,running forearms,uppercuts),catch and throw weapons,soak with alcohol and set on fire with taser,over 40 environmental finishing moves,much better forensics,emotional response system to liven up the experience more like flicking someone off or reaching out your hand when someone helps you up,multiplayer,online,and not to mention "Hobo Fight Club". I cant wait for this game to come out. Game informer said this is gonna be the most terrifying and cerebral experience in gaming.SWEET!!!!

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Scanzo

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Condemned 2 looks F**King awsome, the first game was one of my favorites and this one will be in my top 3.

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thargh

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Cant wait, who knows? maybe this is gonna be my first ever Pre-Ordered game.

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gifteddie

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judging by the trailer this game is going to be pretty intense

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Redhairboy491

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This game's gonna rock, first one was insane!

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nameless2007

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HOLY S*** . THIS IS GONNA BE KICK ASS, THANK YOU MONOLITH, THE FIRST GAME WAS CRAZY. -Nameless-

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slayersdeath200

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the first game was ace i think it was underrated this one is looking promising hope it aint a let down but still gonna buy it

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nyranasaurus

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all i can say is PLAY the FIRST 1 NOW!!!!!!!!!! before playng this..condemned was 1 of the best horror games ever. it kicked the crap out of resident 3 and silent hill 4.THIS game did not get enough ATTENTION!!!!! Game reviewing sites should really encourage this style of game.As far as experiences go..Condemned was even more enjoyable and playable than Crysis AND Halo 3 put together.

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13_bas_13

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I really loved the first game, i bought it at a store for 10 € and I didn't expect anything from it. And then it scared the **** out of me. So i'm absolutly buying condemned 2

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Strider_91

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The first one was really good and this one looks like its going to be aswell The first was really quite scary at parts aswell so im expecting to see the same :) and maybe a few new guns would be good

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mAttthhheaLy

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just wow, looks brilliant. the hand to hand combat looks great. I never got a chance to play the first one, since I don't have a 360, but I'll proabably take this for a spin on my shiny new ps3 :D

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MYSTROW1

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i cant wait for this the first one scared me so i will crap my pants wen i play this one!

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iMarc-UK

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I was too scared to play the first one... This one looks worse... I don't think I'm Gonna Buy it... I'm too scared... :D:D:D

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grimybrit

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looks creepy ;)

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ENDOT12123

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not one of those games to play with the lights off , xD

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stuey-griffin

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condemmed looks like it far surpasses the original in every aspect and is 1 of those games you buy get your mates round and have a night in

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ClassicPlayer

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I played the first Condemned on the 360, and loved it. Condemned 2 looks way better than the original, and better than Manhunt 2. Hope it comes out Halloween next year (spooky night, be eating all the candy yourself).

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premier111

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The first Condemned was okay, very innovative detectective-survival game, but I wont be coming back to a sequel, it was just okay, nothing outstanding.

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maoonparas

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i want this game!

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daveg1

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i loved the first game infact its still one of my fav 360 games so im excited to play this game..hopefully we will have a demo soon..

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Sanguis_Malus

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This looks fantastic, I want to bludgeon some fools !!!

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Siz2005

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Getting this game on PS3.

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danthegamer32

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The first game is like 2 years old and it still scares the life out of me!! Can't wait for this one, graphics look awesome and, best of all, COMBOS!!!!!

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gangsterjc

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THis is gunna be COOLLLL

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