Condemned 2: Bloodshot (titled simply Condemned 2 in Australia/Europe/Asia) is a video game developed by Monolith Productions and published by Sega for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Condemned 2 was released on March 11, 2008, in North America, on the Xbox 360 on March 28, 2008, in Australia and later on April 3, 2008, on PlayStation 3, and April 4, 2008, in Europe for both platforms. It is the sequel to the 2005 game Condemned: Criminal Origins. A demo is currently available on the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live Marketplace. Due to its violent content, the game was indexed in Germany by the BPjM in April 2008 and subsequently banned in October 2008.
Similar to the original Condemned: Criminal Origins, Condemned 2: Bloodshot is a first-person action game focused on melee-oriented combat. The game features bare-fisted hand-to-hand combat, combat with melee weapons, and first person shooting. The game also has adventure game elements in the forensic investigation of crime scenes.
Unlike the original Condemned, Condemned 2 allows for hand-to-hand combat with the player's bare fists, with the left and right triggers controlling the player character's left and right fist respectively. Additionally, the player is now able to chain together attack combos, as well as perform various finishing moves executed via quick time events. The game also features context-sensitive "environmental kills" (such as shoving an enemy's head into a TV or a spiked wall).
Like the original Condemned, Condemned 2 also features melee weapons and firearms. However, melee weapons now break after several strikes or blocks, forcing the player to be adept at resorting to the new hand-to-hand combat system. As in the original game, firearms are limited to the bullets in the current magazine, as the player is unable to carry additional ammo (although they can reload their current magazine by picking up spare ammo lying on the ground). An additional twist to the firearms combat is Ethan's alcoholism, which causes his aim to become blurry and unsteady unless he regularly drinks alcohol. Firearms combat is more prevalent in Condemned 2 than in the original game, with a few levels focused on firefights with assault rifle wielding enemies.
Condemned 2 also features more in-depth forensic investigation gameplay. Players are able to investigate and catalog different elements of a crime scene, and make statements about the nature of the crime. Correctly guessing the nature of the crime earns the player a better ranking, which can lead to upgrades such as brass knuckles or body armor.
Condemned 2 also features several "Instant Action" maps, which are action-based levels independent of the game's plot.
Condemned 2 contains new powers for Ethan to use. Ethan's "instinct" powers are all but completely scrapped in this episode, however some useful combat abilities come into play. By building up a combo meter, Ethan can perform powerful "Chain Combos" that begin a short sequence requiring well-timed or rapidly placed button presses in order to deal massive damage. Later in the game, Ethan gains the power of the "Voice." This power allows him to produce a powerful shockwave from his mouth that can blast open doors, explode enemy heads, and destroy Oro "headpieces".
Unlike the original Condemned, Condemned 2 features multiplayer gameplay. There are 9 maps in total depending on the game mode being played. The game supports 8 player online and features four multiplayer modes:
- Deathmatch – the player to reach the kill limit or the player with the most kills at the end of the time limit wins.
- Team Deathmatch – two teams of multiple players compete for the most kills.
- Bum Rush – a time based game of SCU Agents versus Influenced bums. The SCU cannot respawn but get to use guns, have a lot more health and kill with one shot or melee, and must last as long as possible against the bums.
- Crime Scenes – another gametype putting the SCU agents against the Influenced. The Influenced must hide two cases of evidence, while the SCU agents must use their equipment to find and scan the evidence before time runs out.
Condemned 2: Bloodshot takes place eleven months after the events of the first Condemned. The mysterious phenomena causing insane violence and mass psychosis amongst Metro City's homeless population has only gotten worse, with massive riots breaking out across the city. Protagonist Ethan Thomas, having resigned from the FBI's Serial Crime Unit after the events of the Serial Killer X investigation, has been caught in a downward spiral and now finds himself homeless, violent, and an alcoholic. He still suffers from paranormal visions, and his alcoholism even manifests as an antagonistic alter-ego that taunts him during his hallucinogenic visions.
Under the orders of Director Farrell, Ethan is recruited back into the SCU to investigate the murder of his one-time mentor Malcolm Vanhorn. He is aided by his old partner Rosa and commanded by the hostile and antagonistic Agent Dorland, SCU's tactical commander. Over the course of Ethan's investigation, he discovers that his arch-nemesis Serial Killer X is still alive, having been nursed back to health by his uncle Malcolm Vanhorn after being shot in the head at the end of the original Condemned. Serial Killer X killed Malcolm Vanhorn, as well as Metro City's Mayor Rachel Mars, and eventually kidnaps Director Farrell.
Ethan and Rosa also discover the source of all the city's troubles is a secret organization known as "the Oro", the cult hinted at in the first Condemned, whose members use painful metal implants to develop psionic powers that allow them to influence and control the rest of humanity. Rosa theorizes that they are the source of all humanity's crimes, wars, and hatred.
Serial Killer X, having learned about the Oro, now wants to harness their psionic ability, and is currently killing and dissecting Oro members to obtain this ability. The Oro are much more powerful than previously thought; their members include many high-ranking members of society, including Mayor Mars, Director Farrell, and Agent Dorland. The Oro also control the SCU, and Dorland and his tactical teams attempt to kill Ethan when he discovers their secret. Ethan fights back with the help of Rosa and SCU Agent Pierce LeRue, and even Serial Killer X, who saves Ethan from the SCU, calling it "a future investment."
Malcolm Vanhorn, who has spent his life battling the Oro, leaves Ethan a videotaped message revealing the final truth; Ethan's parents were Oro members who defected from the organization and were killed for it. Ethan himself is "the Remedy", a long-prophesied being possessing "perfectly evolved" vocal cords capable of generating the Oro's sonic power without the metal implants the Oro use. Ethan's ability is more powerful than the Oros, capable of destroying flesh and bone. The Remedy is destined to be "the voice opposing that of the Oro." As a result, Agent Dorland and the Oro want Ethan dead. Director Farrell, part of a splinter faction of Oro that wants to recruit rather than destroy Ethan, sacrifices his life to unlock Ethan's sonic powers after the two of them are cornered by Agent Dorland.
Ethan proceeds to the Peninsula, an artificial landmass where the Oro have a secret base from where they monitor and control the entire city. Using his newfound sonic powers, Ethan defeats the Oro members, destroys the Oro machinery allowing them to control the city, then battles Dorland in a sonic duel within the collapsing Peninsula. Defeated, Dorland informs Ethan that the Oro's motives are "To create hostility, The unwavering desire to fight. To unknowingly become... our protectors." Ethan asks what they're protecting against, receiving no reply. Ethan tells Dorland he's nothing more than a puppet, and the former commander is flung to his death. Ethan escapes in a helicopter along with Rosa and LeRue, declining LeRue's offer of a drink and falling asleep. Meanwhile, the President of the United States suffers an apparent heart attack after receiving the message "The Remedy is among us!", suggesting that the President was a member of the Oro. Finally, strongly suggesting a sequel, Serial Killer X is shown receiving Oro metal implants in his mouth, similar in appearance to the those of the "final boss" Oro member Ethan fought and killed at the end of the first Condemned.
* Ethan Thomas (Andre Sogliuzzo): A former investigator for the FBI's Serial Crimes Unit. Ethan resigned from the bureau following the events of Condemned: Criminal Origins, eventually spiraling downward into alcoholism and homelessness. As a result, he is a much darker, more violent character than in the first game. It is revealed in Condemned 2 that Ethan's parents were Oro members who were killed by the organization when they defected from it. It is also revealed that Ethan is "The Remedy", the voice that is against the Oro. Due to this, Ethan is able to have more powerful sonic powers than Oro members and does not need metal implants for his natural ability to work.
* Angel Rosa (Angel Parker): A forensics lab specialist, and Ethan Thomas' old partner in the SCU. Rosa is once again assigned to help Ethan in the new Malcolm Vanhorn investigation, and the two of them eventually uncover the Oro conspiracy controlling mankind.
* Agent Pierce LeRue (Phil Lamarr): An SCU tactical agent assigned to help Thomas in the Malcolm Vanhorn investigation. Unlike Agent Dorland, LeRue expresses concern for Thomas' well-being, and remains loyal to Thomas after Dorland and other SCU troopers are revealed as Oro footsoldiers. His first name was revealed at the end of the game.
* Serial Killer X (Henry Dittman): Leland Vanhorn, the killer of serial killers. Ethan Thomas' nemesis from the original Condemned. SKX survived the gunshot to the face he suffered in the ending of the original Condemned, and was secretly nursed back to health by his uncle Malcolm Vanhorn. Upon learning of the Oro, SKX decided to "seek redemption through their power." He killed his uncle when he got in the way, and began killing and dissecting Oro members to "see how they work." In the final cutscene after the credits, SKX is seen with other Oro members, as they insert metal implants into his mouth.
* Agent Dorland (Dave B. Mitchell): SCU's tactical commander, and Director Farrell's right-hand man, Agent Dorland is hostile and antagonistic towards Ethan from the very beginning of Condemned 2. He is eventually revealed as an Oro member, after attempting to kill Ethan. At the end of the game, Ethan defeats him in a sonic battle and sends him plummeting to his death.
* Director Farrell (Paul Eiding): The Director of the FBI's Serial Crimes Unit, and Ethan's former mentor and boss. After being kidnapped by Serial Killer X, Farrell is revealed as a member of the Oro. Unlike other Oro such as Agent Dorland, Farrell has been protecting Ethan, hoping to recruit him to the Oro cause. Farrell is eventually captured by Agent Dorland, who attempts to force him to fight Ethan. Farrell instead sacrifices his own life to unlock Ethan's special sonic powers. The sign outside of his office states his first name is "Ike"
* Inferi (Keith Szarabajka): A thug with Oro metal implants who confronts and antagonizes Ethan in the game's first few levels by beating Ethan's head with a brick. Inferi fights Ethan and is killed by him at the end of the game's third level, the Commuter Tracks.
* Magic Man (Michael Bell): A former Oro member with a stage magician-themed appearance who escaped from the organization and is currently hiding in an abandoned theater. Ethan finds him on a list of SKX's intended victims, and tracks him down to interrogate him about the Oro. Ethan and the Magic Man fight each other, and Ethan tricks him into falling upon a bed of spikes. Ethan then questions him about the Oro, pushing him further into the spikes when he refuses to cooperate. Magic Man appears to be killed by Ethan's interrogation, but his body suddenly disappears and leaves a parting message for Ethan as he leaves the theater.
* The Alcohol Demon (Andre Sogliuzzo): A hallucinatory alter-ego of Ethan's with a mask-like face, the "dark side" of Ethan's personality and the manifestation of his alcoholism. Ethan eventually defeats this alcohol demon in a fight, allowing him to overcome his alcoholism. However, the demon returns in the opening cutscene of the final level to support Ethan, saying "I represent all of your demons, Ethan. Alcohol was just one of them." He helps Ethan accept who and what he is and to ultimately see what purpose lies before him.
* The Oro: Oro is short for "Oro Invictus", which means "Invincible Voice". This organization has supposedly been around for three thousand years. The root of the Oro's plan revolves around a tradition known as "sonic generation", which is the ability to produce complex sounds that project out through, not just the mouth, but the entire body. Their ability to produce these sonic tones is said to work by having an enlarged, hollow sternum and higher than normal bone density. Unique vocal cords can create, when trained, complex sounds that reverberate through the sternum and chest cavity like a finely tuned instrument. Various metal apparatuses surgically implanted into the bone and skin can amplify this effect. People subjected to these sounds experience acute bouts of paranoia, which is followed by hallucinatory episodes that slip quickly into psychosis and other forms of uncontrolled violent behavior. People with natural tendencies to be violent become even more so when exposed to these sonic emissions. These sonic abilities also have a negative effect on the Oro. Newborns exposed to the ability are mindless, deformed, and born without arms and sight, and because of these deformities they are used as watch dogs.
The April edition of Official Xbox Magazine review of Condemned 2 gave it an 8/10, praising the areas of atmosphere, graphics and sound for the game, and found it to be improved in almost all aspects over the original. The review did, however, find the ending to be weak and one of its major downsides.
The three reviewers in Electronic Gaming Monthly gave Condemned 2 an A-, B+, and B. They praised the atmosphere and improved combat system, but were not satisfied with the "laggy, unnecessary feel" of the game's multiplayer component.
Official PlayStation Magazine (Australia) gave Condemned 2 the Silver Award, with a score of 9/10. The magazine commented that the only minor problem was that the controls felt occasionally cumbersome.
Edge Magazine gave Condemned 2 a 5/10, stating that it had lost the first game's tight storyline in favor of a deranged psychotic bloodbath, in which guns and gore "occur anywhere and everywhere to ever-decreasing effect" and had taken precedence over the tension and fear factors which the magazine had enjoyed in the previous title. In a caption the review expresses surprise that "you can [...] make enemy heads explode by shouting at them" and noted that they did not expect that "the ABC Warriors would appear in the game's final act, and that you'd take them down with a sonic crossbow and giant magnet."