Halloween is approaching and you gamers out there are probably looking for something a bit spookier than the average game. Well, Dead Space was just released, but with a sixty dollar price tag, it might make more than a few gamers scream like Jamie Lee Curtis with Mike Myers on her tail. Have no fear though, boys and girls! The Bargain Bin is here with affordable terrors likely to satisfy even the most twisted horror fans.
Condemned 2: Bloodshot (360, PS3)
We all know those moments in first-person shooters when you’ve eaten through the last of your ammo and all that’s left at your disposal is a stinking melee weapon. Unless we’re talking about Doom, where you can find yourself a beastly chainsaw, most FPS baddies will have little trouble chewing through you and your pitiful punches.
Condemned 2, on the other hand, makes a business of first-person fist fights. The sequel to the 360-exclusive Condemned, Bloodshot follows the continued adventures of police investigator/brawler Ethan Thomas. First, let me say that for the most part the story is lousy. Perhaps that is a bit too strong, but it certainly isn’t up to par. While it begins nicely enough. with you investigating the new serial killer on the block, it quickly devolves into a weird cult story that feels misplaced.
That being said, the game still thrives on some of the best use of environments and set pieces I’ve ever seen in a game. And what often ties it all together into a nice package it is are the fighting mechanics. Guns are a part of the game, but they are relatively scant, and mostly limited to the later levels. Most of the action is hand to hand and unlike most FPS games, where melee combat is all but useless, Condemned 2 pulls it off brilliantly.
The game makes it feel very natural to fight with your fists, and while much of the combat can be played out via simple blocks and jabs, Condemned 2 features a nice combo system to keep things interesting. The way it incorporates your lack of guns is generally very nice. For instance, a crazy drugged out hobo brandishing a dirty needle might not seem so bad when you have a pistol. With only your bare hands to protect though, said bum becomes a lot scarier. Similar examples abound, but I won’t spoil them. Let it suffice to say that the game is filled to the brim with tense, startling moments that rarely taper off.
Condemned 2 received great scores and is a great game, so it boggles my mind how it can be so cheap. But, as always, we shouldn’t argue with such gifts. Buy it, enjoy it, and make sure you’re wearing a diaper when you run into a particular rabid animal. You’ll need it.
Amazon.com (Note: Used Amazon.com prices are subject to change)
39.99- New (360, PS3)
12.00- Used (360)
19.97- Used (PS3)
17.99- Used (360, PS3)
Resident Evil 4 (Wii)
There are a lot of versions of Resident Evil 4 floating around out there, but the best is easily the Wii rendition and for our purposes it is the only one we’re going to talk about.
I have my gripes about RE4. The complete break from all of the series’ traditions -no zombies- irks me even today, years after its release. That said, it is an undeniably great game with great controls, a lot of action and still nice graphics for its age. The game, if you’re one of the two people left who know nothing about it, follows former Raccoon City police officer Leon Kennedy as he tries to save the president’s daughter from religious fanatics armed with mind controlling bioweapons.
The story is a bit odd, but it more than does the job. The real treat here is the action. RE 4 is a thrill to play. The Wii remote is put to probably its best use ever in this game and once you get used to it, the game controls like a dream. This is a good thing because your infected foes pursue you ruthlessly throughout, coming at you through various methods that don’t exclude lopping your head off with a chainsaw. It’s a tense, exciting experience.
RE 4 is not without flaws though. The aforementioned lack of zombies is again an issue that ever annoys me, though I doubt people new to franchise, or even just more jaded fans of Resident Evil will care as much. More detrimental is the game’s length. It may seem odd in this age of ridiculously short games to be criticizing something for a little extra bulk, but RE 4 is indeed too long for its own good. There are a few lengthy sections that could have been done without whose absence would have probably strengthened the game as a whole. As it is, Resident Evil 4 genuinely drags by its end.
Capcom was smart not to charge full price for the Wii edition of the game, and with used copies in abundance the deal has just gotten better with time. Resident Evil 4 is a modern classic that most any action fan would be a fool not to play. Now if only it still had zombies…
Amazon (Note: Used Amazon.com prices are subject to change)
Games to Avoid
Heavenly Sword is a great game. It boasts fun combat, a great story, and production values that really shine throughout the game. But honestly, for its price, it just isn’t worth it. With gameplay and story scenes combined, the game is likely to last no more than six to seven hours. It’s a great six or seven hours, but not nearly enough to warrant a pricey purchase. And it’s a shame too because just a few worthwhile bonus features, or even some shallow lengthening of the action sequences would have made this a near perfect action game. Rent Heavenly Sword, but unless you find it for under twenty dollars, don’t buy it. It’s just a bad deal.