The long awaited sequel was finally released last week (March 20) on the Playstation 3, a week after the Xbox 360 release. Here is a look at how the PS3 version stacks up. Was the delay worth it?
Trailer - duh!
Platform(s): Playstation 3 (reviewed), Xbox 360
Publisher/Developer: SEGA/Monolith Productions
Players: 1 (single player), 2-8 (online mulitplayer)
Plot:Condemned 2: Bloodshot takes place 11 months after Condemned: Criminal Origins. The game features a darker, grungier Ethan Thomas, whose life has descended into alcoholism and homelessness following the events of the first game. The game's plot features Ethan being recruited back into the SCU to investigate a call for help from his old mentor Malcolm Van Horn, and delves more deeply into explaining the mysterious phenomena causing city-wide violence and mass hysteria.
[Copy and Pasta from Wiki]
My Review: Controls and gameplay, it is what makes a game worth playing. The controls this time around has been changed. Instead of the one button attack (two if you count the kick), they have expanded on the controls to have two attacks. The shoulder buttons, L1 & R1, represent your hands respectively. On top of this, a new combo system has been added. If you successfully connect alternating or nonalternating attacks without being hit, you can deal a closing blow that is sure to do massive damage and even knock your opponent to the floor. With this new fighting system, it makes the game feel like a sequel in every sense of the word.
Another aspect about the controls that I relish in, they seem perfectly designed for the PS3. The 360 controllers have a nice shape and feel to them, but the bumper buttons don't seem to stand out. The SIXAXIS/DualShock3's shoulder buttons seem to be appropriately positioned to make combat easier. The only part that isn't beneficial in the controller is the stun gun. In the first game I found myself relying on it, this time around it seems rather hard to use while assigned to the Up button. I could probably count the times I used it on one hand. Of course the stun gun is implemented in a new way with batteries to make sure you don't use it as a crutch, good call.
And if you are wondering about L2 & R2, L2 is used for sprint which you don't need all the time. R2 is used for...oh yeah, throwing your weapon. Mighty handy when you come across noise machines or to trip up your chaser. Yes, throw it at their legs to literlally trip them up or at their head to daze them. Can be handy indeed but not as used as the other shoulders.
A new aspect to the gameplay lies within the forensic side of it. Instead of just using your tools of the trade on "x," there are times when you have to find the "x." It will tell you when you are at the scene but it is your job to locate the goods and literally make descisions about what happened. Use your brain to answer questions to progress the story and get a better score which leads to better bonus items at the end of the stage.
These are some good aspects but as I said, this is a PS3 review. Multiplatform games always tend to have the same review despite the console. It is more of the copy/paste syndrome where reviewers write one review and post them for each review. But what about the differences between the two? Well here is a chance to take a look at a version of a game most over look. Now I haven't played the 360 version but there are some "defects" I noticed in the PS3 version. The first noticeable one is the sound. Occasionally there are pops in the sound. It is more apparent in the beginning of the game and it either fades away or you get use to it and it is unnoticeable from mid-way to the end.
There are two other issues that "plague" the PS3 version. The first is a mild framerate issue. I said mild since it was only present within the beginning of the first level. The last concern is the controls. I know I mentioned how great they were but there was another issue. At random points my character would just walk without me touch any controls. Another time he kept spinning around in a circle for no reason. To stop this, I tried pressing the pause button or the oppose of what he was doing. The last incident was when I was aiming and then the pause screen came up. My controller was dead at that point so that makes me curious if it was just a battery issue or more than that. Hard to imagine that it was a low battery issue since the incidents were spaced hours apart. Or it could've been my disc since -D- never came across these problems I had.
Oh yeah, almost forgot. I have come across two loading issues. Neither were during the single player mode. The first was in the Bloodshot Fight Club mode and the second was Multiplayer. Both were the same, the game froze on the loading screen. I know it was frozen since it took over 5 minutes and still nothing happened. Other times it simply loaded quickly and effortlessly. This is either a glitch with my disc or a simple error embedded within the coding.
But the game evolves beyond these "problems." The first Condemned was fun to play with scares and a confusing and non-explained story. Despite this, it compels you to pick up the second title which not only continues the story but actually makes sense of the first and the first one's name. It is like one of those startling revelations that just hits you with amazement, just like in Batman Begins when Ra's Al Ghul reveals his true identity. It is astounding what can be done in story.
I'd hate to divulge any details on the story, for fear of revealing anything but there is a definite element of sci-fi. This isn't a bad thing though, just unexpected. To be fair, the first game did begin to tease you with a supernatural and crazy storyline. After a certain point in the game there is a startling revelation, Monolith knows what they are doing with the dark story.
More than just the story is dark. The levels are too. You do have a flashlight, but it doesn't light up too much like other games. Normally this would be a complaint but it fits with the atmosphere. And on top of that, it makes the setting and levels realistic. The levels are designed like they would be in real life. Hotel/apartment buildings aren't different around every corner. It is usually more of the same and that is what you find here. Power out in a building at night? Well you aren't going to find much light now are you? The point is, the levels are realistic which can upset some but I believe it adds to the charm. And what's more scary than real life? Well besides your mom.
Also it is very important to point out that the demo is rubbish since the first level isn't the best. I played it and was discouraged. I wasn't hooked but since it was already purchased, it only made sense to continue it. I'm glad I did. The game picks up after the first level and half or so. Not sure what it is that seems to bog it down, but whatever it is has faded away and you are left with some good melee fun.
Multiplayer is a different story. It is sort of gimped. There is voice chat but only in the PRE-GAME lobby, which doesn't work. So no voice chat? Otherwise the multiplayer is...it is "special." At first it comes across as something that seems like an after thought. This is soley because people are use to playing multiplayer where you run around and shoot people. To play this multiplayer, you have to play like a hobo from the game. Seriously, you have to imagine how the enemies in the game play and do that. I am actually going to do a "How to play Condemned 2 Multiplayer" blog in the near future to make sure you know how to have fun with it.
Conclusion: Condemned 2: Bloodshot is an odd game, and I use that term loosely. This is only because it didn't feel like I was playing 11 levels of a game but more so going through 11 chapters of an interactive story. It was unraveled in a way best for the situation whether it was in the form of a investigation, CRAZY case scene in the lodge, or even a short level that was straight to the point. Condemned 2 doesn't force you to go through needless sections and tries to make each section relevant along with being fun and engaging.
Play past the first level or two, it gets MUCH better. For the best possible experience, it is a MUST that the game is played in the appropriate setting: DARK room and a the sound volume UP.
PS: I did NOT read any review on this game prior to writing this. I did lightly skim Rev Anthony's but that was only in the beginning.
My Rating:8.5 - Bloody fun with a good story past the first level.