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Xbox 360 Review: Condemned 2: Bloodshot

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What do you get when you cross an alcoholic homeless man who runs around slashing at street junkies with lollipop-shaped razors and spends his time shooting at exploding girly dolls that just can't seem to die? Condemned 2: Bloodshot, of course! The first game in the series, Condemned: Criminal Origins, was hailed for its amazing first person horror style, giving gamers many shocks and scares, superb visuals, and an overall frightening environment. But does the sequel to this fantastic first person horror game really stack up to the original title?

You bet your ass it does.

Condemned 2: Bloodshot takes place 11 months after the original game ended. The game follows Ethan Thomas, who we see has turned into an alcoholic hobo since we last saw him, being recruited back in the SCU, rather quickly, to investigate a call for help from his old mentor Malcolm Van Horn. The plot also follows the struggle Ethan faces as he must also figure out just why exactly the city is turning so violent and going into such deep hysteria.

Condemned 2: Bloodshot managed to scare using a series of setups and scripted events, which is something I found very impressive. Instead of having a body spewing blood and random organs from every hole it had, Monolith Productions used deranged versions of real people to surprise you, such as an extremely disturbing looking druggie, or a mask-wearing rioter. I've jumped in my seat on more than one occasion while playing this game. There are so many random events that you do not expect to happen at all, it'll make players want to play more carefully, though it always, in the end, ends up still surprising. I think everyone will have a certain favorite setup scene during gameplay, as many of them are memorable because of the surprise factor.

The environment, of course, helped an enormous amount for each setup. The dark and gritty city alleys and buildings gave the chill effect, while the pop-out enemy would always send shivers down the spine. My favorite moment while playing the game would have to be opening a medicine cabinet, taking the health that was inside, then closing the cabinet and seeing in the mirror that a meth addict was loudly charging at me with a needle, totally unexpectedly.

Usually with each one of those kind of attacks, surprise or not, you will feel the impact. Combat in this game is top notch first person fighting. Players will be using the top triggers on the controller to deliver a left punch, or a right punch, to each enemy. Combos can be performed for more effectiveness and points. Players can even break necks, bang enemies into the environment for easy kills, and perform button combinations for brutal take downs. It is guaranteed that you'll feel the impact of each punch or kick you land on your opponent, and vice versa. The hard-packing sound of each punch is similar to those in the movie Fight Club. Fighting is especially brutal.

Melee weapons are also used in the game, which you may have already guessed; it adds a ton more gore. Pipes, toilet seats, bats, two-by-fours, bricks; most anything that looks like you can carry it can most likely be used as a weapon. Guns can also be used, but they don't feel as effective as bashing a man upside the head with a metal pipe. Using a gun, it takes a while to get an enemy off your back, with the exception of possible exploding headshots. It's also frustrating when each gun you find isn't loaded with a ton of ammo. Usually, you'll find a shotgun lying around with only a mere five bullets. You'll find that you're going to enjoy using your hands and items you find way more than shooting a gun.

There isn't much of it, but there are short forensic analysis spots in the game, much like in the first game. Unlike the first game, however, you will actually have to use your brain to do these. You'll closely examine blood splatters and determine if the blood is splattered outward, or just blotted on the floor, to find out just how a person was killed. You'll be looking for clues all around the crime scene, and even using a UV light to follow blood trails to see if the body was dragged, or if the person was crawling away. By examining the scene, you'll uncover clues as to how a certain person was killed, and eventually earn more points in the game, which in the end will earn you upgrades. As much as I loved the forensics features in this game, there really isn't a large amount of them. I would've loved to see more, but there are just enough to satisfy.

Condemned 2 also sports some multiplayer gameplay with up to eight players online. The four modes available online are Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Bum Rush, and Crime Scenes. The only one of these modes worth noting is Crime Scenes, where one team must hide two briefcases full of evidence for the SCU agents to find in a certain time limit. The agents must use whatever equipment they have to browse for the goal.

I honestly can't say many negative things about Condemned 2: Bloodshot. It delivered the chills and thrills I expected it to. I got my scares and I played through the entire game satisfied (though the ending did leave me a bit agitated). Monolith Productions have certainly produced one of the finest horror experiences you can find on current gen systems.

Condemned 2: Bloodshoot is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Use of Drugs and Alcohol. This game can also be found on the PS3.


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