In this sequel, set 11 months after the first XBox360/PC installment, Condemned: Criminal Origins, Ethan Thomas, formerly of the Serial Crimes Unit (SCU), returns in this brutal first person action title full of scares and tension. Players are constantly open to attack within Metro City as game makers offer a loud, graphic and violent extravaganza.
The quality production does succeed greatly with the scares while including some cinematic elements like mirror shots in addition to lighting touches and shadows. All these elements create tense, “surprise at every corner” experience. The evidence mode adds some nice variety while the scare factor never lets up because you can still fall victim to attacks at any time. The audio guidance and control/combo icons are very helpful, though the text is a bit too small.
The controls and action timing take some adjustment while the raw violence and movements contain echoes of The Punisher and Doom 3. The fighting controls respond a bit slower when you deal with multiple baddies. Don’t expect any kiss kiss bang bang right away. Players have to kick (R3), elbow and punch their way up to progress from hand-to-hand weapons to firearms. Practice at the Bloodshot Fight Club mode comes as a requirement for most players, especially when learning to throw items and creating effective combos to give you the edge in extreme combat.
Thomas also has several environmental pieces to use as weapons at his disposal. These pieces (various metal pieces, bricks, buckets, wood, bowling balls and even gumball machines) eventually wear down and the firearms have limited ammunition, which adds to the scare factor and effective tension. The useful stun gun is great for establishing vicious finishing moves.
The very challenging 11-mission, single-player campaign has plenty of twists, among low lit (which of course, can be adjusted) and occasionally repetitive environments. Great listening skills give players an edge as a wide variety of distinctive noises provide helpful warnings for an imminent attack. These creepy sounds add to the equally morbid urban setting while the forensics elements add some good role-playing/storytelling elements. The developers continued to develop Thomas’ past relationships with his previous team. Thomas encompasses an almost consequence-free atmosphere in Metro City. For example, after Thomas beats someone to death, his only consequence is getting kicked out of his favorite bar by the bartender. Scene transitions also make some confusing connections as the tactless enemies usually have just one approach — all out attack. Players would be wise not to follow that approach in most situations until directly engaged with enemies.
Players looking for instant action can jump right into an online game or join/host an Internet or LAN game. These modes diminish the tact and, predictably, the effective, individualized emotion as players group together in big gang fight levels like “Circle of Death”. This survivor/horror title should please genre fans and is good for some scares for non-squeamish players.
Condemned 2: Bloodshot 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 Xbox 360.