Thursday, June 25, 2009

Condemned 2 : Bloodshot's Unforgivable Lost Save Bug

After thoroughly enjoying the first Condemned game for the XBox 360, I decided shortly thereafter to pick up the second one, Condemned 2 : Bloodshot, when I saw it in the twenty dollar bin at Wal-Mart. I got in a solid day of playing with the game and haven't touched it since thanks to what I consider a catastrophic, unforgivable bug.

I had just started the fifth level when I decided to quit for the day. As I often do, I simply shut the system off, knowing that the game was saved at the end of the fourth level. The next morning when I started up the game to resume playing, all my save data was either lost or inaccessable.

It was there, on my XBox's hard drive - save data for the game. But the game program itself didn't acknowledge it. Four levels, a whole day of play, lost. I felt sick to my stomach, because an entire day's worth of playing - some of it very hard - was lost.

The consensus on the internet I found when searching for other cases of this bug was that the player MUST end their play session through the game's own menus, not by simply shutting the system off, to prevent this bug from happening. This seems so insane in light of the fact that every other game, including the first Condemned game, doesn't seem to destroy entire save files or access to them when the player just shuts the system off.

Damn, I wonder if a power outage during a play session would do the same? Scary.

An email sent to the game's creators, Monolith Productions, has gone unanswered for over a week. I asked them if they were aware of this bug, and if so, why hasn't it been patched in the last year-plus following the game's release. I also suggested that, if a patch was too much, then why not a simple warning message to keep players from exiting their games as I did? The lack of response has said volumes about what the company considers as support for their products post-release. Shameful, I'd say.

I consider the ability to wipe out one's own saves a completely catastrophic, unforgivable bug of the highest caliber. This should not have made it past testing, and certainly not to release. Once released and reported, this should have been fixed with all haste.

Monolith's failure to fix or even acknowledge this bug calls into question their other products for years to come. I enjoyed Condemned : Criminal Origins, and was having fun with Condemned 2 : Bloodshot up to this point. Both games were good and scary. Continuing to play this second title with the ever-present fear of losing all my saves, though, is really pushing the horror genre just a bit too far.

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