Condemned 2: Bloodshot Multiplayer Hands-On

Grab yourself a brick and join us as we put Bloodshot's multiplayer features to the test during an action-packed meeting with Sega.

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Earlier this month, during a visit to the San Francisco headquarters of Sega of America, we were invited to join an eight-player Condemned 2: Bloodshot multiplayer session alongside other members of the media. What ensued was one of the more memorable press events that we've attended in recent months, as editors from rival publications went after each other armed with bricks, toilet seats, meat hooks, taxidermy knives, sledgehammers, batons, drive shafts, pipes, and anything else that came to hand. There are firearms in Condemned 2 as well, of course, but nothing says "I have respect for your work and hope that it's mutual" quite like an up-close-and-personal melee kill.

Condemned 2: Bloodshot will offer four quite varied multiplayer modes that support up to eight players online, three of which are team-based. There's a free-for-all deathmatch, there's a team deathmatch that pits SCU (Serial Crimes Unit) operatives against "influenced" bums and bad guys, and then there are two more imaginative modes titled "bum rush" and "crime scene." Bum rush pits two SCU players with only one life each against up to six influenced players who can respawn as many times as it takes them to kill the SCU pair. The odds are definitely in the bums' favor, then, but we should point out that the SCU players have far more health and are the only ones who get firearms. The bum rush games that we played were fast-paced and rarely lasted much more than a minute, and we noticed that after each round the two players with the most kills (regardless of their faction) were always the ones who played as SCU in the next round. Theoretically, it's possible for the SCU players to win by surviving until the three-minute timer runs out, but none of us even came close on this occasion.

Even the SCU operatives don't get a lot of guns and ammo in multiplayer games.
Even the SCU operatives don't get a lot of guns and ammo in multiplayer games.

The most interesting of Bloodshot's multiplayer modes by far is crime scene, which tasks a team of SCU operatives with locating and scanning two crucial pieces of evidence (decapitated heads inside coolers) that the influenced players are attempting to hide and defend. Influenced players can move the coolers around at any time but move much more slowly when carrying them. SCU players are equipped with gas spectrometers that help them to pinpoint the locations of the coolers but that must be held out in front of them to work effectively, making it impossible to defend themselves. Further complications for the SCU team come in the form of scanner blockers that, if any influenced players choose to start with them instead of a weapon, can be placed around the level in spots where they'll mess with the SCU's spectrometer readings.

We played a few games of crime scene in and around a large farmhouse where dimly lit rooms, closets, fireplaces, and the like all made good hiding spots for the coolers. Like other Condemned 2 levels, the farmhouse is lit in such a way that there are plenty of shadows to hide in as well, but you'll also have to watch out for shadows that you cast yourself, which can potentially alert enemies to your presence long before they actually see you. There are no respawns whatsoever in crime scene mode, incidentally, and the time limits were pretty generous, so self-preservation is a good instinct to have unless you enjoy flying around and watching games unfold as a disembodied camera after you've been killed.

As we've alluded to already a couple of times in this preview, Condemned 2's multiplayer modes place a pretty big emphasis on melee combat, to the extent that any pistol, shotgun, or assault rifle you get your hands on will invariably come with very little ammo. As you might have guessed from the list of melee weapons above, you can find things to hit your enemies with just about anywhere in Condemned 2, and while many of the weapons are simply on the floor, some of them need to be pulled away from walls and such. Even without the great number of weapons that the improvised-feeling arsenal affords you, Condemned 2's fighting system is much deeper than you might expect.

Crime scene is certainly the most interesting of the four multiplayer modes.
Crime scene is certainly the most interesting of the four multiplayer modes.

The left and right shoulder buttons are used to control your individual arms, and when you're unarmed you can press both at the same time to attempt a grab move. Attack modifier and sprint buttons give you the ability to change what those shoulder buttons actually do (you can throw a jab, a hook, or an uppercut, for example), and once you've mastered the subtleties of the control system there are light combos, heavy combos, sprint combos, and special combos to learn. Combos in Condemned 2 have such delightful names as "snake fist," "Tuscan tea bag," and "bodybag," and there's even a "prison bitch" attack from behind. Combos are generally composed of three or four individual attacks, which, naturally, you'll have to land with good timing to get the full effect.

In case you haven't guessed, we had a great time with Condemned 2: Bloodshot's multiplayer features on this occasion, and we're really looking forward to putting our toilet-seat-wielding skills to the test online when the game arrives in stores a couple of months from now. We'll bring you more information on the game, which also features a single-player campaign that promises to improve upon the one in the original Condemned: Criminal Origins, as soon as it becomes available.

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