Condemned 2: Bloodshot Review
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Condemned 2: Bloodshot does so many things right but many things wrong as well. The weapon system is the highlight in this otherwise decent game.
- Brilliant weapon system
- Excellent environments and graphical style
- Fantastic forensic investigations
- Extreme darkness leads to frustrating exploration
- Combat system falls apart when faced with multiple opponents
- Audio glitches
If you’d give us a nickel for every time we’ve hit a bum in the face with a toilet seat in the last week, we’d be rolling in dough right now. Outside of that bizarre bathroom encounter on Monday (we don’t want to talk about it), these events have taken place within the gruesome world of Condemned 2: Bloodshot. As Condemned: Criminal Origins was an Xbox 360 launch title, Monolith’s Condemned 2: Bloodshot is the first in the franchise available on Sony’s black behemoth. The game provides one of the most visceral and thrilling experiences on the PS3, but occasionally succumbs to several rather unfortunate design flaws.
You play as Ethan Thomas, and you’re mighty pissed off. You see, after leaving SCU, the city’s resident law enforcement agency, Ethan becomes a bit of an alcoholic. He often hangs around in dodgy places with nothing to accompany him except his drink and hallucinations. The wiring in his head has gone a bit awry, thus he sees all sorts of warped visions in the already abnormal city. The line between reality and illusion begins to blur as the SCU temporarily takes on Ethan to finish his investigations from the original, shortly leaving him left for dead soon after. The plotline, while not incomprehensible if you haven’t played the first, isn’t as clear to newcomers as it is to players of Criminal Origins. Either way, it manages to provide a suitable backdrop to the sinister city environments.
It’s the deadbeats within the environments that are truly frightening though. From irate bums to greasy black creatures and everything in-between, you’ll be getting consistently assaulted throughout the game. Luckily, the environment contains a lot of dangerous stuff. See a two by four with some particularly rusty nails sticking out of it? Snag it. How about a prosthetic arm in the hospital? A little tacky, but the game won’t mind; swing away. Simply put, anything and everything can be used as a weapon. The versatile system is a breath of fresh air in today’s “here are the eight weapons you’ll use over the next ten hours” type of games. There are a few firearms within the game (which are near unaimable unless you’ve had a swig of liquor), but Bloodshot isn’t primarily a first-person shooter; we’d classify it as a first-person horror brawler with some detective elements thrown in.
The combat is deep and rewarding in most scenarios. L1 and R1 act as your left and right attacks respectively, while pressing both buttons at once performs a block. There are a numerous amount of ways to execute combos and take advantage of your adversaries (kicks and finishers are included), but we can’t stress it enough that you have to learn how to block properly if you want to progress through the title. You see, you can’t just hold the buttons down constantly, you actually have to time your blocks in parallel to incoming attacks if you want to thwart your enemies.
Once you get parries down, you’re able to perform counter-combos, arguably the most useful technique within the entire game. It’s not the only one that you’ll want to use though. We particularly liked the high-speed bum rush, a sprinting elbow to the face followed by several brutal blows. The feel of the fights is instinctive and intense, especially if you have a DualShock 3. It’s when you’re faced by multiple opponents that the system falls apart however. The designers simply didn’t take into account the limits of the first person perspective during brawls. To stand a chance against multiple foes, we found ourselves channeling them into an area where they’d both be in front of us. If that wasn’t an option, we usually just ran backwards pitifully until it became a viable possibility. There’s simply no way to fight two opponents on either side of you.
Other grudges include the darkness and exploration in general. Let’s start out by declaring that the environments are unbelievable. Detailed and gritty, Monolith did a brilliant job of taking the chilling feel from the first title and upping the ante for the sequel. With high-resolution textures and some fantastic art design, the ... (continued on next page)