You wake up one day, and suddenly your name is Ethan Thomas, and you've been completely remodeled since your last video game appearance. Instead of being a respected FBI agent, you're an alcoholic bum. Instead of being a strangely shaped man with a tiny head, you're clothing isn't poorly layered and you are otherwise proportionate...and mean.
You're not exactly the FBI punching bag you were the first time around, this time they're looking for your help, which gives you a few more options on the character interaction front. Besides the multiple options when examining a crime scene, you're given the option to respond to general dialog – usually aggressively, but the option is there none the less. It's not much, but anything to make video games feel like you're the one playing them is welcome to me.
Almost everything that could have been upgraded from the last game, has been. The forensics tools are much more in depth, as are the actual investigations. You're given multiple choices as to how to respond to each situation;
-How did the victim die? Find gunshot entry or exit wounds, or stab wounds on the body, as well blood splatter on walls and floors to piece together how they were attacked.
-Were they attacked where they lay, or were they moved – was the movement because they crawled away, walked away, or were they dragged?
You're given a score based on how you handle each individual death, and so far – I've done pretty well for a drunk.
The one thing I was wary of was the changed combat. I personally enjoyed the combat the first time around, and since it was harped on as being the primary change in the sequel, it made me nervous. The anxiety, however, was completely unwarranted. More weapons are available, more swinging (and throwing) options for each weapon, and every attack will be executed slightly different. Combo moves have been added to the fun, and the finishing moves have been upgraded to throwing maniacs into Televisions to watch them fry, into the edge of a wall to crack skulls, or use your imagination and watch the fireworks.
There is one aspect that appears to be relatively unchanged, and very deservedly so; the environments from the first game have transferred over nicely, leaving piles of rubble, dead animals, broken down buildings, and the eerie atmosphere fully intact and ready to give you the chills for a second run. Mirrors, however, have been used more actively in the gameplay (rather than cut scenes only) to give you a jolt when a maniac sneaks up behind you, having me mildly afraid of my own bathroom mirror.
You're given a few things to keep you busy while following the path to wherever it is you're headed - such as destroying “sonic emitters” which make people crazy, and meth labs, which...make people crazy. So far I haven't been entirely impressed with the overall storyline, as the first one was excellent from start to finish – though, I may have to leave that aspect to the end of the game to make a full judgment, I've been surprised before.
Now, imagine me, only drinking too much and ridding the world of crazy while being a crazy myself.