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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0678

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cannot wait

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Chief_Kuuni

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sounds good, loved the first one

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Dion2k7

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i think i need to pick up the first one and play it because this game sounds great.

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Soilfusion

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Sounds sweet! Would be nice to see a sequal to this, the first one was pretty cool.

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pimp95

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dude this will be awesome

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damned1

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Censors will kill it, or add stupid colors and flashes like in manhunt 2.

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St0Ne4Ge

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tottally gnarly dude, rock on with the killing and the investigating and the boo - argh!

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Sam_Fisher_932

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@g3arskn0tty123 "not better than runescape"? ANYTHING is better than RUNESCAPE...

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pyro_tech9

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i guess im really proud that its also comming out for 360 and not just PS3

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pyro_tech9

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i dunno....i think this is 1000 times better han runescape....maybe if they decided to add the gore and violence i would think otherwise

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g3arskn0tty123

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umm....i say this is going to turn out to be a fun christmas if wen this game comes out..=p bad@ss game!!!!but not better than runescape.!!!!Woot

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oxytocin

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Haha like Ernest saves christmas!

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NoAssKicker47

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Looks badass. I wonder when it will come to PC.

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HydroMat

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ESRB will cut this to shreads, like the goose stepping morons they are.

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beastmr2

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This game looks bada$$, i cant wait to get it

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DS-man

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I loved the 1st one, and with this having combos this time around, its gonna be awesome.

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fixer293

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I want this game so freaking bad.

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gifteddie

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Can't wait for this game! The first game made STALKER, FEAR, and Silent Hill look like Earnest saves christmas

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Cooldude224

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Man I cant wait. The first condemed was so awsome!

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bulldogg11

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i was too scared to continue the first one so the same thing will prolly happen with this one lol

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the__joker

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I hope it doesn't get censored, this game sounds great.

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waveddiamond

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:|

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waveddiamond

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IT cannot fail come on man, IT WILL NOT FAIL!!!!! they really know how to make horror survival games :|

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vahid_xbox_360

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well 360 is big. this platform is suitable for all the gamers. after playing call of duty 4 and AC a horror Game will be the best choice.

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Flamebird428

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YES. i LOVED the first Condemned. This game CANNOT fail.

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zeke2040

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i can't wait to get it for the ps3

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WestCoastRida

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1st game was awesome, tripped me the hell out. Cant wait for this one, anyone else think Condemned series is, or will be better, than Manhunt in terms of brutality and gameplay?

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Nosnitsttam

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"jason1957chevy 360 - rules condemend 2 sounds good. i hope the fcc dont banndeit." ummm the FCC have no say over videogames (thats the ESRB), they govern the radio and television but are just as annoying and incompetent as the the ESRB. If they do end up slapping the game with an AO, i wonder if microsoft will still allow it on the platform. It will be impossible to find in stores but i don't recall microsoft having the same policy on AO games that sony and nintendo do. Either way i don't see the ESRB being too aggressive with this game since it's not from rockstar or take-two. And they passed the first condemned AND all the FEAR titles monolith has put out so far and those are all VERY violent and disturbing games. Monolith might need to tone down some of the finishing moves, but that might be all they need to get the M rating. But i love my 360 as well and really liked condemned as much as i liked COD 2 (the only 2 launch games i really liked), i even bought it again after i had traded it in because i missed bashing peoples faces in with locker doors and paper cutters.

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littlestreakier

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i'm really happy to see condemned 2 in the works. the pictures looks great so far, can't wait to be able to play this game

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bens_so_cool

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Awsome this looks pretty rad....mecha violent I hope. I never beat the first one but i really enjoyed it while it lasted.......friggin blockbuster

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NearlyPrescient

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I'll be pissed if they AO it.

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timdabrat

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hope it last a tad longer than the 1st... and a bit faster.... those are my only complaints on anotherwise very good horror game! Bring on the Hobos!

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sancezz

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need.this.game. I love Condemned, it's actually one of my favourite games on any platform!

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kegmiester

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Hopefully it'll be a pill popping, 2x4 smacking good game. The first one was entertaining enough and that pill popping sound is very satisfying.

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PS360Fanboy

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this one look's way better than the 1st

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GrimBee

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i only played the first one for a short while. I ended up getting rather lost in the darkness. But the game, even though it is set in more realistic locales (unlike resident evil and silent hill) it manages to really put a chill in your spine, and then shake it out. I endd up walking round some corridors, seeing this guy run past through the gaps in the wall infront of me, suddenly, I hear a clutter behind me, I turn round and see paint cans and boards getting knocked towards me and this deranged man charging toward me. In those few moments, I realised that you really had to watch the screen and listen out for enemies which made it a really good experience to begin with. But, the locations ended up being the same for about two hours, and I judt ended up getting seriously lost and stuck. I didn't want to resort to gamefaqs to help me through. I hope that this one really shows you where to go, because wandering aimlessly into blocked doors became quite boring to play. But not being too obvious. Silent Hill became boring when all you did was check which doors were locked and which ones you could never open. Giving each location plenty of things to interact with and not having so many locations where there is literally nothing to do except turn around and go back is not so great. Perhaps this time, when you do get to a dead end - it will offer you more things to investigate or something :)

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blue-fish

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Looks exactly like the first one, just shadowy and with people covered in oil... and evil. The first one was great fun so I'm looking forward to playing through this one as well.

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jason1957chevy

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360 rules condemend 2 sounds good. i hope the fcc dont banndeit.

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the_monkey_god

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It looks like it is shaping up to be a good game.

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harrassee

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i would like to note that i don't think that condemned 2 can be banned in the US (but perhaps in UK, Australia, NZ and elsewhere). The ESRB is a nonprofit, self-governing org, not a gov't entity, and they don't have any power to ban or censor a game; all they can do is give it a rating (which, of course, anybody can do). However, getting a 'bad' rating (i.e. and "M") may mean that many retailers won't carry it or some media carriers won't advertise it. But there won't be a ban in the US. Down with censorship!

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F4ll3n_1

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looking good, i never got round to buying the first, but ill probs be getting this one. graphics are obviously still early in development

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uklegendkiller

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Condemned is the game manhunt wishes it was, I really can't wait for this follow up hopefully it'll be as thrilling and tense as the first.

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boozak

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I always thought condemned was more violent than manhunt.. only difference is i hated the original manhunt so i couldnt care less about the sequel, loved condemned though, and i shouldnt see why this game should be banned since it's too remenisant of the original, content wise. but then again so was manhunt 2, we'll see. If it does get banned it gives me a reason to buy a ps3 to import the game. It is region free right?

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Guru-Nator

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The goddamn censors are gonna rip this game up and have it for breakfast...

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lolgubbe

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Well, Condemned is still a quite good game and something i maybe buy sometime to play it cause ive already played the demo sometimes and it was quite good and im excited about Condemned 2 and that it has nice graphics and thats always a plus.

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bots_hunter

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Wow. Thats all i can say. When i played condemned when it first released i loved it . It was one of the best games of the time. It showed what the 360 was really made of for launch titles.

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TylerDurden___

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first one was awesome this one is gonna rock my socks. fragtion is queer

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bens123

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Amazing! Can't wait for this. Condemned 1 kinda reminded me of Fahrenheit (Indigo Child or sumit to u yanks, that needs a sequal too) in it's immersive movie-like feel. And I doubt the BBFC will have a problem with this because you're playing a cop trying to solve a mystery and survive, not constant psycho-killing for fun like Manhunt 2 I guess. But who knows; they're clearly nuts over at the BBFC.

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hellrazor06

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the reason why movies like hostel arent banned by censors is bcos they dont have non stop gore all the way thru like games like manhunt etc have BBFC said this in some manhunt 2 interview not long ago

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