Condemned 2: Bloodshot

FeatureKillerspiele

In search of Germany's virtual scapegoats.

An October Saturday and Stuttgart is pale with the cold. Outside the State Opera House, the city's grand attraction, a skip sits awkward and incongruous to its surroundings. The sides are spray-painted with graffiti, a hip hop-cum-youth club pastiche probably commissioned to soften the otherwise stark utilitarian appearance of this giant iron dustbin. While the murals may obscure the rust, they do not obscure the function, which remains as it ever was: a receptacle for unwanted rubbish. Except, rather than industrial waste or the assorted debris of home movers, this skip has been put here to collect videogames: "Killerspiele", the name given to violent games by Germany's tabloid press.

Xbox 360 vs. PS3 Face-Off: Round Eleven

Digital FoundryXbox 360 vs. PS3 Face-Off: Round Eleven

Dark Sector, Superstars, Turning Point, Viking, Condemned, more.

Welcome back to the latest in Eurogamer's continuing range of Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 comparison features, designed to provide additional commentary to the original Eurogamer reviews for each release, while doubling up as an ongoing commentary on the state of cross-platform game development in the new era of high definition gaming.

Supplementing our views are in-depth technical analyses of the titles at hand, backed up by high quality screenshots of each game only possible in the new digital AV age. Lossless 24-bit RGB frame grabs are ruthlessly swiped from the HDMI ports of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Elite using a Digital Foundry HD capture station, the only kit available built from the ground up for videogames in high definition. 720p 'screens' are taken as a matter of course, with 1080p shots also grabbed for comparison purposes when the game in question supports it on PlayStation 3 (that'll be just one then in this feature).

Yes, you're all waiting for the GTAIV face-off, and we have something special lined up for that, but in the meantime, perhaps we can tempt you with this delicious range of cross-platform fancies?

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Condemned 2: Bloodshot

Condemned 2: Bloodshot

The filth and the fury.

I find it darkly amusing that while Manhunt 2 gets kicked all over the place, Condemned's far more gratuitous and realistic brutality slips past almost unnoticed. In Manhunt 2, much of the violence is optional, but in Condemned 2: Bloodshot you have no choice but to pummel your assailants. (You can see exactly how violent the game actually is in our recent Eurogamer TV show special.) Maybe the moral nannies will catch up with it later (I can hardly wait), but for now Monolith's excellent sequel to the undervalued Xbox 360 launch game serves as a one-of-a-kind horror title with much to commend, improved in every area - melee combat, investigations and production values among the most noticeable.

In the first game, the melee system had you swinging a pipe, axe or other instrument with the right trigger, blocking with the left and doing a comedy kick by clicking the left analogue. You could also use your stun gun now and then, but that was about as complex as it got. Bloodshot's much deeper. You can actually use your fists this time, with left and right punches assigned to left and right triggers, and blocking by forming an X with your arms, which is done by pulling both triggers at the same time. Right from the off, Bloodshot puts you in the bear pit, forcing you to learn advanced hand-to-hand and general melee combo techniques. Knocking opponents off-balance, for instance, is the key to building up one-twos and numerous other combos that deal much more damage than trigger-mashing.

At first, you get your arse handed to you, and it's a little disconcerting, but patience and practice quickly sees you through. Once you figure out the predictable timing to block and then strike in one motion, it all slots into place, and you can go about decking all-comers with manic, frothing abandon. You get a bit wide-eyed and feral while playing, and it's definitely not for those who dive behind the sofa during the creepy bits. For once, the BBFC's 18 certificate is something people should take very seriously - this is vicious, close-up pugilism full of desperate grunting and the schlocking sound of metal on bone.

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Condemned 2 slips a week

Greasy tramp hair to blame.

SEGA has told Eurogamer that the release date for PS3 and Xbox 360 title Condemned 2: Bloodshot has slipped to 4th April.

Samba summer, Condemned late March

SEGA adjusts release dates.

SEGA is currently targeting 28th March for the release of Condemned 2: Bloodshot on PS3 and 360, and has also updated dates for Samba de Amigo on Wii and others.

Condemned 2: Bloodshot

Tramp stamp.

Ethan Thomas, Special Crimes Unit Investigator, hunts down serial killers, and everyone knows that the best way to hunt down serial killers is to bash hundreds of tramps in the face. Ethan certainly knows this. Does it haunt him? Does he dream of going under railway bridges and lobbing nails into soup kitchens?

FeatureCondemned 2: Bloodshot

Isn't that double jeopardy?

Condemned then. Chances are if you have a memory of the original Condemned: Criminal Origins it'll be a hazy thing consisting mainly of beating tramps to death with locker doors. You probably won't remember the story either, since towards the end of the game the plot collapsed like so much dunked digestive. The narrative never quite managed to make two more interesting characters than 'The Locker Door' and 'The Tramp's Face'.