|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Monolith Productions||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 11, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8 (online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
When I took on Condemned 2: Bloodshot, I was pretty excited. Sure, I've played a whole bunch of "horror" games in my time, mostly from the Resident Evil series. But as most gamers will tell you, Resident Evil is not very scary. Games like F.E.A.R. and Silent Hill are scary games. And if I'm being honest, I have never made it through any of those games. I knew Condemned 2: Bloodshot was going to be a scary game, but I didn't realize just how terrifying a game could be. Condemned 2: Bloodshot definitely represents a great entry in the horror genre, and it's not just because it has a creepy story behind it. Condemned 2: Bloodshot offers an immersive experience that looks, sounds, and genuinely feels like a horror game should.
Of course, we have to talk about the story first: Condemned 2: Bloodshot picks up the story of former special investigator Ethan Thomas. Ethan has had a rough time since the events of the original Condemned, and now frequents bars and smells worse than a hobo. He is tormented by visions of the horrifying things he experienced as a member of the force, and can't shake his bad memories. However, when a strange message is left for the current members of the special forces, Ethan Thomas is forced to once again enter the underworld, where "Influenced" enemies with super-human strength and an other-worldly passion attack with an other-worldly viciousness. The "Influenced" encompass a host of people who used to be human, but have since been claimed in a most sinister and heinous way. One of the best things about the story in Condemned 2: Bloodshot is that it always keeps you guessing. As soon as you think you have figured something out, a new piece of evidence surfaces or alliances shift, and you're literally back to square one. While most games wait until the middle or end to reveal twists in the plot, Condemned 2: Bloodshot has its first significant plot twist right at the close of level one.
The gameplay involves a combination of melee-style fighting and investigation. When you are confronted with an enemy, you will be using your fists to fight back most of the time. However, as you find them in the different environments, you can also use weapons like 2X4s and bricks, as well as many different types of firepower. It may sound a little strange, but the control for all of these fighting options is basically the same. You use the trigger buttons to either punch, swing your weapon or fire your gun. The only real difference is that when you are using a weapon or your fists you can chain together combos and perform special attacks. But if you have a gun, you are able to kill the bad guys much faster. In addition to the fighting component of the gameplay, you can also investigate crime scenes and gather forensic data about the events in the game. You'll be required to analyze bodies and crime scenes, and will then answer questions based on what you see. Your answers to these questions will result in a forensic rating that will influence your end-of-level ranking. This is important because if you have a strong ranking at the end of a stage, you will get various weapon or armor power-ups. You can use forensic tools in your investigation, like a spectrometer, a high-powered UV light, and a digital camera.
One of the biggest things that makes this game so chilling has to be the visuals. The level designs are especially creepy and feature dark and slimy environments, small corridors, and plenty of suggestively frightening graffiti. Another thing that makes the levels very scary is the interaction between you and the environments; different actions in the game will cause your environment to change without your knowledge. One of the scariest moments in the game for me involved a snow-white mannequin in semi-formal wear. When I first approached the mannequin, I investigated it and decided it wasn't something I could really interact with and turned in the direction of the door. But before I left the room, I heard a noise and turned around. Instead of one mannequin there were now five identical mannequins, and they were staring right at me. This may sound like it might not be too scary, but trust me: when you're playing in the dark with the sound turned up, you'll jump.