Condemned 2: Bloodshot was released on March, 11 2008 on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 this time around. I was also a little late on getting this Condemned, but I got it about a month or two after its initial release. From the opening of the game you can tell it has the same dark and grim surroundings and eerie sounds and shadows like its predecessor.
One thing that's updated in Condemned 2 is the combat system. It's still the basic melee combat with fists or weapons found around the within the surroundings, and fire arms found occasionally, but with a few tweaks for the better. Unlike in Condemned: Criminal Origins, in this Condemned you will do a left punch with the left trigger, and a right punch with the right trigger, blocking is done with pressing both triggers down simultaneously. You also have buttons for throwing weapons at the enemies, I'm not sure if that's available in Condemned: Criminal Origins since it's been a while since I played it. Like in the first Condemned you have the choice to pick up from an array of weapons found throughout the game. From simple pipes and 2" x 4"s to moose antlers and toilet seats. There's even a sequence in the game where you have to use a nail gun with unlimited nails to shoot off foes while you're unable to move. One thing that a lot of people saw as a problem in Condemned 2 was that two-thirds into the game they felt it turned into more of a first-person shooter than the original horror and up close and personal theme as Condemned: Criminal Origins, and the majority of Condemned 2. This is mainly due to the player progressing to Dorland's (the game's antagonist) facility where he has manly armed soldiers, thus many chances to get a hold of a gun, and many foes firing back.
I agree that it goes more first-person shooter towards the end, but I feel it's too keep with the story and setting of the final stages of the game, I don't think it will be a continuous theme in the games seeing as the Oro are more pro-sound waves, than pro-guns.
Also new to Condemned are these "run for your life" sequences where you have to sprint away from the enemy instead of trying to kill it. There's only two of these sequences in the game, would be nice to see a few more, but they are a nice addition to the scary tone. Some more additions to this game are these sonic emitters and news reports through out levels that affect your level completion rate, and medal. The sonic emitters are what help drive the maniacs in the city to be more rabid and crazed than usual. Destroy these help for the better. For the most part the emitters are in reachable places, but there's some in harder to get locations, such as high up points or past some immovable objects, where you'll have to throw an item or shoot them with a fire arm to destroy. News broadcasts are found on radios and television sets spread out across the various levels. To listen to them the player has to press A to grab the antenna of the television or radio and rotate the antenna with the analog stick to get reception. These broadcasts are all different and usually inform the player of what's going on around the city or near their current location.
At the end of each level a screen appears with the rank given for how the player did on the levels. Ranks go from bronze to gold badges and an award is given. The rank is determined by how many sonic emitters are destroyed in the level, how many broadcasts did the player tuned in too, and how they did in the optional objectives (for example: if they destroyed all the meth labs in the hotel level). There is also a reward given, the reward is always the same, no matter what rank the player obtained. All rewards are to help you in the game. Some rewards are things such as a holster to store a small side arm, such as a pistol, rubber soles on Ethan's shoes to make him have quieter steps, and an extra segment to the player's health bar.
It would have been nice to have better rewards for higher ranked in levels, or more rewards along with the rewards that are always given, for taking time to make sure you got all emitters, broadcasts, and completed the side objectives.
Now lets get deeper into the game. Level design in Condemned 2: Bloodshot is just as amazing as in Condemned: Criminal Origins. The levels are all lengthy and well-made, filled with plenty of objects you can pick up and bash a rioter or thug in the head with. This also gives me a chance to talk about the crime scene investigation in the game. I wasn't disappointed with it because it wasn't badly done. I was disappointed with it because it was so enjoyable and fun to do, but there wasn't enough of it. You do a decent bit of investigating, but not near as much as in the first Condemned. Speaking of stuff you don't see much of, you don't see a lot crime scenes of murdered victims either. I'm not exactly sure how many there are in the game but I'd guess around 2 to 3. Condemned: Criminal Origins are a few more, but I still would love to see more of the investigating elements in the game. The investigating system is also tweaked for the good. Now when you are in the investigating mode, you have options to choose from when examining say a bullet wound. You have choices that more accurately describe the bullet wound such as if it was an exit wound, inward wound, or what type of gun the bullet might of come from. After you complete the sequence you are them rated on how you did, if the player got all options correct that get a perfect 5 score, and if you missed one or two they get a good rating and it goes from there. The investigating system as a whole is greatly upgraded, and definitely a step up from Condemned: Criminal Origins.
Another thing that's a step up from Condemned: Criminal Origins in Condemned 2: Bloodshot is the graphics department. Condemned 2 doesn't have the best graphics in world, but they're definitely at the top. If you look back at Condemned: Criminal Origins the graphics where great during game play, the surroundings and enemies looked fantastic for 2005, but Condemned 2 really did a nice update to the graphics and everything flows really well, and the cut scene graphics on the characters look really great this time around.
What really makes Condemned remember able and enjoyable is the game's plot and characters. The plot picks up after Condemned: Criminal Origins where Ethan confronted Leland Vanhorn a.k.a. Serial Killer X, and fought and killed a strange, macabre figure with metal pieces planted in his mouth and body. It's been 11 months since the first Condemned and now Ethan is out of the SCU, and living on the streets and staying in bars drinking all the time trying to forget the demons that haunt him. Ethan is called back to help the SCU investigate a call for help by Malcolm Vanhorn asking for Ethan Thomas. Ethan goes to investigate the area the plea of help was coming from, and from there Ethan finds what makes him so special to the mysterious cult known as The Oro.
In the end Condemned 2 is a solid horror themed game, that lives up to the first one and in some aspects better than Condemned: Criminal Origins. This is a must try for any fans of survival horror, and horror based games in general. There's more to this game than head bashing with blunt objects, and foul language. The Condemned franchise in general has a great plot going for it and many interesting characters and surroundings that make the games worth the time and money.
As always, thanks for reading my review, and please recommend it if you enjoyed it, and if you thought it was wrong, or disagreed with me you're also welcome to give it the thumbs down.