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.

191 Comments

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.

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 191 comments about this story
191 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for gamer082009
gamer082009

6679

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

In hope guns are more readily available this time..besides always using pipes and wutnot.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for hassam7
hassam7

412

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 47

User Lists: 0

Seems average 2 me!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for skrat_01
skrat_01

33767

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

AWESOME. Cant wait. I hope its not too gun focused though.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for volpexpress
volpexpress

153

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 29

User Lists: 0

this game is going to be awesome. the first one was very good, but this one will definitly be better and worth buying. i love the story line and the things you can do in this game. plus the sound effects.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for fog90
fog90

88

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

This is awesome! I can't wait to play it!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for IXIAntiksIXI
IXIAntiksIXI

608

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I Didn't play the first one , but Im really excited for this game.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for citizen-legend
citizen-legend

97

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 15

User Lists: 0

the first one was good can't wait to play this one

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Priest57
Priest57

580

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This game keeps looking better and better, can't wait for February.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Lord__Darkstorn
Lord__Darkstorn

2031

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

they're making this similar to an xbox game called "call of cthulhu: dark corners of the earth," where the people are horribly mutated; it would be good if this game followed in call of cthulhu's footsteps.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for 00697man
00697man

632

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

oh and if they manage to make a level scarier than the department store or the appleseed orchard im literally going to crap my pants while playing it.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Jono69830
Jono69830

65

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

Looks to me it has alot of potential, and if its more visceral in its presentation its a must have. Can't wait.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for 00697man
00697man

632

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

I bought condemned in a bargain bin a few months ago for 9$ and it ended up being one of the most enjoyable games i ever played and I almost never like horror games. Definitely going to pick this up asap.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for StegrShmil
StegrShmil

158

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

The first was great and terrifying. Scariest game I have ever played. The second looks like the first but two times better. This game will be awesome.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for km1498
km1498

612

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 0

sounds good, loved the first one.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ElitesIgnorance
ElitesIgnorance

168

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 61

User Lists: 0

The story was very good in the first installment. It made me feel like, "What was I going to do next to clear my name off the murder I didn't do," feeling.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for elguino3
elguino3

91

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

i never played the first cuz i didnt have an xbox(and i never will) but this sounds tight

Upvote • 
Avatar image for deactivated-5ce72effd6960
deactivated-5ce72effd6960

1887

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 36

User Lists: 0

The first game was scary, hope this outta be more awesome...

Upvote • 
Avatar image for iamjct212
iamjct212

124

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

I just recently played this and was amazed at the game. It was fun, involving, scary as all heck, and had an outstanding story. I guess the movie studios agree as it is being made into a movie! I bought this when it came out and just didn't get into. For some reason we all passed over this game. Like Woooode said. It really should have sold better.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for david60639
david60639

6951

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

I'm scared already... : (

Upvote • 
Avatar image for eXists
eXists

1649

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 41

User Lists: 0

As some ppl at GS know :D my favorite game is back .... with a vengeance!!! Buying extra shorts/pants just in case things get outta control! LMAO

Upvote • 
Avatar image for wooooode
wooooode

16666

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

I loved the first one but cant understand why it did not sell well.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for jblaze5000
jblaze5000

81

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

this game is goin to be off the hook.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for puckhead778
puckhead778

232

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

definitely gonna buy this

Upvote • 
Avatar image for muppen
muppen

2073

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 39

User Lists: 0

Looks good! Looking forward to it

Upvote • 
Avatar image for 5UPERMARIO
5UPERMARIO

1204

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 53

User Lists: 0

if this game gets an AO rating ill be really angry

Upvote • 
Avatar image for -THA-hamst3r
-THA-hamst3r

171

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 0

I hope Monolith doesn't forget about us PC gamers. They haven't so far...so I have a good feeling that this will be out on PC not too long after the 360 and PS3.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ZOnikJJ
ZOnikJJ

1135

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Cool. It looks scarier than ever.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

1815

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

can't wait...first one was kick ass and this one looks even better!!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for deactivated-57fce817a4cf5
deactivated-57fce817a4cf5

4117

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 21

User Lists: 0

Some good family friendly fun there....

Upvote • 
Avatar image for citizenzero
citizenzero

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

YES "he's now a homeless alcoholic" is the only reason why i'm buying this! hahah but on the serious note, this is great! I looooved the first one so this is going to be fantastic yah i want PC. I still can't let go of PC FPS + Mouse control. If there was a FPS game match between 360 vs PC, PC would win, much finer control with mouse

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Corvin
Corvin

7266

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Can't wait. Condemned is like my Silent Hill this generation.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for dubel_07
dubel_07

878

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 13

User Lists: 0

Can't wait for it on PC!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Samfisher_1
Samfisher_1

2684

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Great another condemned

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Andrew0824
Andrew0824

192

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 0

I loved the 1st Condemned. I really hope this one makes it past the censors intact. The ESRB should get some balls and not just succumb to the whims of politicians looking some easy publicity.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for deactivated-59ff149c6b46d
deactivated-59ff149c6b46d

946

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I liked the first one that came out. Ill be getting this one for sure.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for jcloverboy
jcloverboy

1669

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

I really enjoyed the first one although it was extremely repetitive. I'll definitely be getting this t hough.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for clownofpoetry
clownofpoetry

501

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

The first Condemned was the title I bought with my 360. I don't regret it at all. I'm ready for the sequel with these news. It looks to surpass the great brutality from the first. Good to see.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for burnteyeball
burnteyeball

605

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Haha. I didn't think of emplying the elements from Manhunt until now when you said it. I realy liked Manhunt and I think that's why I realy like this game. Hope the player and and his enemys can throw things at eachother like the brick they had him armed with. That's the kind of stuff I see bums doing in movies.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Aviar
Aviar

170

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

Condemned was the first game I finished on the 360. I can't wait for 2 to come out.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for DeLashmutt1980
DeLashmutt1980

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 0

The first condemned was the first game I played on the Xbox360 and I really enjoyed it. I'm excited about this new addition to the series. I just hope that the game isn't slowly becoming a Manhunt rip off. All things aside, I look forward to it.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for polsci1503
polsci1503

3246

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 14

User Lists: 0

Loved the first one, second one is sounding even better. Is the cop from Heroes doing the voice work for Ethan again?

Upvote •