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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JB2B

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kaziechameleon is right. I think movies like Hostel are much more violent and involve much more (realistic) gore than game even can produce. Also I read about a scientific research in wich they concluded that violent movies have a much greater impact because watchers are passive. In games time after time you you realize that it is all fake because of the interaction you have. But about the game, I never played part one, but this sounds like a great game. Also the investigation part sounds really great. I love horror games but most are not scaring me at all. For example Jericho, wich is a nice and fun (but sometime frustrating) game but is not that scary.

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lsny

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Can't wait! Don't fvck this one up, ratings boards!

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kaziechameleon

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um, censorship needs to take a look at movies these days. i'm sorry but i do feel games are being picked on. if movies like hostel can make it out then what's wrong with manhunt or this game? they for all intensive purposes fake, where as the movies have real live people screaming their heads off.

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Stabby

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I just hope the plot is as good or better than the last one, its what made it great... that and the whole atmosphere HOWEVER I just hope the loos ends can be filled in because the ending didn't deliver as we all know.

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jk80

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"Condemned 2's not just about bashing in homeless people's skulls." lol

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rockutd

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Well looks like a game that i am gonna own.

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Yyin9564

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oh... i'm looking at my options... if this makes it past the ESRB then i get a sweet game... if not then im off to WAR!!... its win/win baby

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bluearmykid

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Oh yeah, this looks good.

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Shaynas_Kitten

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I'm with Gr8jedimaster. If it gets banned or toned down, then I say war! There are more gamers than ESRB people! Hell, there are probably more gamers than politians and good law-following citizens that just work and don't care about music, games, and such I say all the gamers should unite and take the country! We can rule for the better!!

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Chaos_SpecOps

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Got to play the first one before i play this but it looks good

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gr8jedimaster

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I'm looking forward to this more than RE 5. I thought RE 4 was the best horror game around until Condemned came along. There'll be war if the ESRB bans this one - effing WAR!!!

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OfficialBed

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can't wait

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club-sandwich

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"However, Condemned 2's not just about bashing in homeless people's skulls." rofl :lol: that sounds pretty fun :lol: can't wait for the game :D

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SmArTaLeC1321

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YAY!

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Brother_Beetz

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Wooohooo I can't wait, the first one was such a great game for a launch title. I was always hoping this sequal would come around and here it comes :)

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Temtamperu

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I cant wait to beat up hobos with a brick :D

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beckoflight

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I hope it comes to PC !!!

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carlosgames

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I hoped this preview was done over a ps3, since it is posted on the PS3 section :( (important since both consoles have different controls and features)

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spunkymulvagh

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I loved Condemed yes it was short. But It was a very well done game and very creepy I am really looking forward to the sequal as well.

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littletotheleft

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A very underrated game. Looking forward to its sequal.

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Knut_The_Noob

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i dont like codnemned because its a little bit too.... i dont know, not my thing, a action game with only 20 bullets thats a little bit boring.... and it was very scary for me. But i going to rent it because of the monsters

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Hell-Fire21

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Thank you Monolith, you guys rock. We will be praying for you when ESRB-time comes Lol

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JetB1ackNewYear

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what i dont understand is i think its a mistake bringing it to the ps3, only because if people didnt play it on the pc or 360 before hand, how will they know wtf is going on?

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advocacy

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This game is like Silent Hill mixed with Silence of the Lambs. Those serial killers are downright disturbing.

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deuceswld84

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Great! I can't wait for this game. I hope we can duel wield like those ninja guys from the first game. That would be so friggin' sweet.

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mattlom03

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This looks awesome, It better pass censorship. I wana crack some skulls in the toilet! what what!!!

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feirlessleider

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Loved the first game. What really got to me was how the human bad guys would scream at you when they were attacking! If that doesn't get you on your toes, nothing will. I can't wait for the sequel.

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Genkio

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I seriously cannot wait for this game. The thing that made Condemned so horrifying was that rather than cheap thrills, they screwed with your head to the point that every little movement had you trembling. Let's hope number two succeeds in improving that.

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Creeping_Wolf

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Condemned was the first game I put in my 360 on the night it launched. Seeing graphics in true HD and hearing the top notch audio in surround really gave me goosebumps. Can't wait for this one.

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levi_partida

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YEAH !! GONNA GET NEW BEDSHEETS AFTER I SAW THOSE PICS OF CONDEMNED !! LOL

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igabiga

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Get ready for the ESRB to have a field day with this.

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1upMushroomX6

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i hope this one i alot scarier cause the last one was awsome

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K1LLR3175

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I can't wait for this game the first one was so friggin great.

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skinny_man_69

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Oh...i see that my surround sound system will be put to good use. Looks like ill need to stock up on new underpants in 2008 :P

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CowbellFanatic

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Didn't have a 360 when the first one came out and somehow never heard about it... I'm definitely interested in this one though. The investigation element sounds awesome.

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homey4life

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WOW i'm already ready to wet my pants! LOL

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Ahiru-San

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awesome, can't wait... i bought the 1st one on launch day, still love that game!

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AffeTron

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The game looks.... Creepy :) Love to see the final results ;)

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Rent-Boy

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sweetnessssssss

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0b5oLeTe

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Wow looks great cant wait!

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eViL_kA

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Condemned 1 has a demo...maybe...

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Bansheesdie

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Sooooo Monolith, how about letting the people give Condemned 2 a test run for themselves by putting the demo onto Live?

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eViL_kA

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@hassam7 I think you need to play the first Condemned. IMO, the focus on melee type weapons and the atmosphere of that game made it a fun experience. We'll see how Bloodshot turns out but looking good imo.

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rabidwolf86

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sounds good

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flavort

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Hell yes, the first on freaked me out so bad. The first game was one of my best choices when the system came out.

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IBuyGames

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Im ready to be scared :) Cant wait!

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MarcoSnow06

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I loved the first game in this franchise. With Bloodshot promising to be even better than its predecessor, I'll definitely be picking this one up when it comes out next year (if it can make it past the censors).

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MarcoSnow06

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@waveddiamond What about Resident Evil? That's about as survival horror as you can get. In fact, I'd argue a game isn't a survival horror game unless THERE ARE guns (albeit with extremely limited amounts of ammo).

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waveddiamond

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yea that was the scariest moment, but not because of that but because my girl friend jumped on me and pierced my skin with her nails.. LOL If you use guns alot then it wouldn't be a horror survivor game would it :|

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mtbrdude87

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i remember the scariest moment in the first one was when i was searching through lockers, and when i opened one of them one of those skinny zombie things jump out at me... i nearly crapped my pants. I hope this one is as scary as the first.

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