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Friday, May 16, 2008

First Impressions: Condemned 2

As I walked up to my mailbox last night, I could only hope that it was there. I fumbled with my key chain looking for the mail key. Got it! I unlocked the mailbox. Rather than look, I just pushed my hand into the box and felt around.

A few envelopes, a few fliers, and something covered in plastic! I pulled everything out and confirmed that a video game had arrived in the mail. I wasn't sure which game I was holding since it was carefully sealed in a dark grey, bubble-wrap envelope. I ran home (or at least walked as fast as my ample gut would allow) anxious to open my package.

I unlocked the front door and stepped into the house. I was immediately greeted by the sound of my kids laughing. Into the kitchen, I was greeted by my wife and kids.

Hugs and kisses all around.

Baby, could you pass me the scissors? Yes, I think this is the game.

A few quick cuts and I had Condemned 2: Bloodshot in hand. Awesome!

The rest of my evening was spent playing with my kids and hanging out with my wife.

At around 11 o'clock, I fired up my Xbox 360 and popped in Condemned 2. Unfortunately, I was really tired. I'd been exhausted all day. That's probably why I hadn't jumped at the chance to try the game earlier in the evening. As an intro cinematic filled my monitor's screen, I decided that I'd forego starting a new single player game and just stick with some melee practice in Condemned 2's new Bloodshot Fight Club. Wait - did I just break the first rule of Bloodshot Fight Club?

First impressions? Graphics and sound are both great! I can't tell you anything about the story since I have yet to start the single player campaign. But the enemies, weapons, and first-person view all combine for an intense combat experience.

After defeating my first opponent, I was pleased as punch when I heard the familiar "boop-boop" sound of an unlocked achievement. I love it when games are generous with achievements in the early-going! After playing for about 15 minutes, I'd unlocked the following two achievements:

The Final Word [10 GamerPoint]: You completed your first environmental finishing move.

I cleared this achievement in the Bloodshot Fight Club. I chose to fight one thug at a time in the Practice Arena. A few seconds after entering the arena, a little bugger came running down some stairs and threw a bowling pin at me! So I (in the role of Ethan Thomas) laid a few big punches on the guy. After five seconds of battering the thug about the face and arms, he stood there dazed and confused. I seized the opportunity to grab him by pressing both trigger buttons.

Once I had the thug firmly in my grips, little skull symbols appeared throughout the arena's environment. I quickly dragged the thug over to a barricaded ledge and threw him over the edge. He fell ten feet to his presumed death (he didn't get back up). Just like that, I was awarded The Final Word achievement for killing an enemy using an environmental fishing move.

I actually took out many more guys using other environmental finishing moves. It was quite satisfying to put a thug's head through a TV set. And picking up and throwing someone into a dumpster was a true pleasure. Then there was a finishing move involving trash cans. I thought Ethan would put the thug upside down in a can and kick him down the stairs or something. But instead, Ethan merely threw a thug into the trash cans then proceeded to kick him into a bloody pulp...? I don't get it.

GOOOAAALLLL! [10 GamerPoint]: The foosball piece was used successfully - again and again.

I then unlocked the GOOOAAALLLL! achievement by taking out a number of thugs in the Practice Arena using a rod from a foosball table. I used to be quite good at foosball in real life. Ethan is good at foosball too though he seems to play using rules I'm unfamiliar with. Instead of scoring goals over a few pints of beer, Ethan prefers to simply grab one of the metal rods from a foosball table and kill crazy people with it!

In any case, I believe this achievement is unlocked after Ethan kills his fifth enemy with a foosball rod. Although I prefer playing foosball in a friendly, non-violent manner, Ethan's methods earned me 10 GamerPoint.

My plans for the weekend involve birthday parties, a poker night, drinks, and some BBQ. Of course, I'll also get started on Bloodshot's story mode. I haven't yet decided whether to play the game through on Hard Mode from the get-go or not. Maybe I'll play the first level on Hard Mode, unlocking both the Beat Cop and the Investigator achievements in the process, before making my final decision.

I'll be back next week with my first impressions of Bloodshot's single player game. I'm anxious (and nervous) to see just how badly the game's creepy situations and environments will scare me.

Have a great weekend everyone!