By Philip Dunkley
So the reviews are slowing down to a halt at the moment, due to the lack of releases for these 2 months, which for most gamers is one of the worst things ever, but trust me, for me it’s been a well earned break. What I have been doing in the last few weeks is actually playing games for fun, and not for review purposes, so I get the whole experience back, and not just the rushed deadline experience. What I have also had the chance to do, is to play a few games that have not been sent to us for review, and Condemned 2 is one of those titles that I have been wanting to play, but just not got around to, and it was never delivered to us.
Let me start by giving you the history of this series in my world. Firstly, picture the scene. 29th September 2006, Midnight. BTGames Brooklyn finally hand over my XBOX360, preordered and all, and that is very unusual for me to preorder anything. So check, I have my 360, now, which game to buy. It ends up being Rockstar: Table Tennis, and Condemned. I have a few drinks with some mates, and I head home to set up the Next Gen of console Gaming. First thing I do is get stuck into Condemned, and then realize that I don’t have a Memory Card, as I only managed to book a Core Machine. Damn. Next day, buy memory card. So I play this game â€œstukkendâ€, and I actually like it, and it took me a while to come close to the experience for a few months on the console. It also took me a while to pay off the Psychologist bills as well!!
So now, almost two years later, wiser and older, Condemned 2 makes it’s appearance, and I finally had a chance to sit down with it over the last few days, since I’ve been off work sick.
The story once again revolves around Ethan Thomas, only this time he’s a washed up drunk and has no real care for the world. When a few familiar characters return to the city, it does not take long for the authorities to come looking for you, and you get dragged back into a nightmare of a tale.
If you’ve played the first one, you will know that the Condemned series is not your normal FPS, as Guns and Ammo are few and far between, but you make do with an array of makeshift weapons found all over the place like electrical conduit or planks with nails in them etc. What this series does offer though, is a well-told story, and some investigation mechanics that add a rather more thinking persons twist to the game.
Now I know a lot of games out there are nailed by the general press and every parenting group known to man, ala GTA4, Manhunt and the likes, but how the hell this little puppy didn’t cause more of an uproar, I have no idea. It is singly one of the goriest and most disturbing games I have ever played, but in a real adult psychotic kind of way. It’s not trying to be gory, it just is. This is story telling for adults at it’s best!!
The control scheme is well thought out, and the game plays at a very slow pace, no insane fighting scenes, no massive battles, just planned mayhem that are timed at exactly the right moment. You also focus heavily on melee combat in this game, and this is actually done very well, with a variety of combo’s available to the player. When you do manage to get a gun, a new mechanic is introduced into the game; just to really let you know that this is not a gun based FPS. Your aiming is bad, not because they forget to polish this area, but because you are suffering with shakes from the alcohol withdrawals, but they do place a few bottles around for you to drink, and this steadies your aim to make that perfect headshot. It’s a mechanic that actually works, and does not feel bolted on right at the end.
The graphics in the game look good as well, not stellar, but more than adequate. I did notice quite a few glitches in the game from a graphic point of view, but nothing that ever interrupted the gameplay. What I did notice is that the game gets better looking as the story progresses, as if they put more effort into the last half of the game, and if you like the setting of Bioshock, you will fell right at home here, not because of it being under water, but because it has a dark twisted backdrop.
From an Audio point of view, the game performs well, and I never got the feeling that this part of the process had been neglected. One thing to note here, the voice acting is very good, and the game even features a South African woman as the newscaster on all the radios and TV’s throughout the game.
In conclusion, I have had a great time with this title, and if everyone passed this game up when it was released, go out and buy it now, especially since almost everyone has it for R399.00 at the moment. I know BTGames and AWX both have it at that price, and as far as I’m concerned, I would happily have paid full price for this game. It’s a dark sadistic view of the world, and if Horror and Gore is your thing, this is a definite purchase.
Gameplay: 9/10 [At no point did I feel like I wasn’t having fun] Presentation: 8.5/10 [Very Capable] Sound: 8.5/10 [Great Voice Acting] Value: 10/10 [R399.00, come on] Overall: 9/10 [Yes, This game deserves it]
Last Updated: August 14, 2008