Multiplayer Melee Mayhem
Of course, singleplayer gaming can be as clever as Fu Manchu but it’ll still only take you so far. Once the adventure is over, it’s over. Not everybody wants to replay games again and again and not everybody is interested in getting the highest possible detective ratings.
That’s where multiplayer steps in.
The original game was completely lacking in multiplayer of any sort and it was a major weakness in the longevity and replayability of the title, but the development team over at Monolith are a canny bunch and have worked hard to integrate it into the second game.
has four basic multiplayer modes, but all of them remove some of the basic singleplayer elements. Environmental kills, chain attacks and the taser are all missing in multiplayer for example in order to simplify things and make the levels more intuitive.
The first two of the multiplayer modes are fairly standard – we’ve got deathmatch and team deathmatch, both of which are simple frag-to-win affairs. We had a bit of an ad-hoc competition in the deathmatch mode (I lost) and I can tell you now that it’s a massively different experience to playing singleplayer. In singleplayer just one confrontation can last a good few minutes thanks to the wonderful AI – enemies will feint and doge realistically, swearing, screaming and throwing things. Simple thugs can be as intimidating and tough as they should be.
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In multiplayer, that naturally isn’t the case and a lot of the subtlety is gone from the battle. It’s pretty ironic that developers will spend ages trying to get enemies to behave like real people – ducking, weaving and hiding behind corners and yet, when two real players go head to head then they always act the same. Grab the nearest melee item and charge up to one another, smacking each other round the head with planks while staring straight ahead and laughing.
In our little competition it quickly became apparent that the key to winning in Condemned 2
multiplayer didn’t lay in understanding the level or your opponent, but purely in how good a sense of timing each player had. The difficulty curve is steep when going against other players and although I’d love to say that I eventually mastered the game in my short time with it, the reality is far less impressive. After dozens of losses, I was clearly not improving and was growing bored with my obvious inadequacies.
Thankfully then, the other two multiplayer modes sound a little more interesting. The first, called Bum Rush, is a multiplayer game that pits two teams—the FBI agents and the ‘Influenced’ Thugs—against each other. The FBI agents are unable to respawn and must survive as long as possible against an endless horde.
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The final mode, Crime Scene, tasks the FBI team with trying to track down evidence which has been stolen from them as the Influenced have to hide it. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to try this mode out so it’s still a bit unclear on if that’s as clever as it could be, or just CTF in different clothes.
Early ThoughtsCondemned 2
is looking like a fantastic looking game which, as you can see from the screenshots, doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to trying to creep out players. This is definitely a game for adult audiences only and the game is stuffed to the brim with filthy insults, blood and brutal, unrestrained fisticuffs.
However, it’s also got a cleverly delivered story in there too, both on a character-based and plot-based level. In terms of the series storyline Condemned 2
will see a whole lot of the mystery cleared up and Ethan will start to piece together the fragments and figure out what is happening to the world around him. Meanwhile, players will get deeply involved in Ethan’s personal struggles and see him battle against the loss of his sanity and come to terms with his alcoholism.
Certain additions to the gamestyle don’t sit too well with us – such as how the HUD will exclaim your combos, ruining the sense of immersion and horror, but there’s still a lot to like about the game. Just looking at some of those screenshots is scary enough and the game is definitely one of the gutsiest thrillers we’ve ever played – just sitting through the opening cutscene is like having scorpions crawling up your legs! Clearly horror and thriller fans are going to have at least one game to look forward to this year.