Two steps forward and three steps back for the condemned series.

User Rating: 8 | Condemned 2 X360
For Condemned two the developers tried to keep the series moving forward and also address issues that some gamers had with the first title. And as my title states they made some expense. The story picks back up with Detective Ethan only this time he is off the force and a drunk who's trying to forget the events of the first game. This time around it seems that they've ratched up the supernatural element to the story. The sequel looks much better as should be expected. The sound quality is still top notch, creating all the perfect bump in the night noises you want to hear and it helps to deliver the tension. The controls remain solid and weighty. The hand to hand combat has improved. The attacks are brutal and more varied than the last time(a plus) and the addition of enviromental finishers and combos worked great and added depth. The investigation aspect of the game is also easier and more satisfying to use. The enviroments themselves are more varied and in some ways more vibrant. I did not experience graphical flaws or slow down and there are no noticeable load times. So yes improvements over the first game were made and welcome. My qualm is that they perhaps went too far and some of the series identity was sacrificed in doing so. This game doesn't feel as real or gritty to me as the first one. The element of suspense was still solid, but the enviroments seemed less stifling and creepy. The supernatural element to the story was too prominent for my taste as well. It took the game too far away from potential reality. The most damaging problem with condemned 2 is the excessive use of firearms. Part of the appeal of the first game was the fact that 80% of combat was hand to hand and you felt very vulnerable(thus adding to the suspense). This time around I carried a gun probably 60% of the time. I felt more prepared for attacks and thus the suspense was somewhat reduced. Oh sure, the number of enemies you faced who were also armed with guns was higher, but that goes back to what I was saying about the games identity getting lost. Condemned 2 still delivered brutal realistic action and some solid suspense. Sadly it didn't live up to my lofty expectations after the first game. I still enjoyed it, rate it respectably, and would recommend it to most.

Verdict: Solid game chock full of intense confrontations. Improved on the first game in every way except the most crucial: suspense.