Review: Condemned: Criminal Origins
This was one of the first games I purchased for my 360. I was incredibly excited about this game after seeing the trailer on GameSpot. Plus, Monolith is one of the greatest companies to produce games. Back to the review, you star as a detective who is trying to track down a maniac who has a fascination with manikins. Already scared? He gets worse. You have forensic tools and you have to determine where washed away blood once was or where finger prints are and all that cool forensic stuff. Sadly, this feature is sort of thrown in as well since your phone rings are tells you exactly when you should use it and what area it’s in. During the hunt for this serial killer, your gun is stolen and is used by the serial killer to shoot a cop. Doh! Now you’re wanted by the law. Unlike games like Max Payne or something, you continue to investigate undercover from the law, and beat the crazed crazies that roam this city.
With a very creepy environment and loads of unique melee weapons, Condemned will captivate you throughout the whole game, mainly to see what is going to happen next and what is going to jump out of the shadows and beat the snot out of you. The only problem with this is you own a fast charging taser gun that basically is giving you an option to freeze your enemies for a period of time. But it charges so fast that you can go through level after level without ever taking damage. Besides that, you get guns. The guns… are useless. You’ll find a shotgun, take aim, blast a couple of baddies, then you just have to use it as a really crappy blunt melee weapon. I could have done with more ammo at least.
Although the graphics are spookylicious, there are some ugly things going on with the characters face textures and modeling. Mainly the textures. They just look slapped on there, not really giving them a realistic look to them but a very Dreamcast look. I guess they just stretched the faces too much on the models. The hand model doesn’t look too bad, but it’s still a little ugly. Other than that, it’s a picture perfect game as far as graphics. Especially the flames. Oh, yes, the flames look real nice.
The sounds are what creep you out more than the visuals. It’s like eggs and bacon. You can’t really enjoy eggs without a nice slice of greasy bacon. The things that scare you the most are the things that you can’t see and that’s what this game does real well of proving. Picture this: you hear a bucket fall over behind you. You just turn around to find the bucket rolling around. You move in further to investigate. It’s just a bucket. You hear someone yelling random mumbled profanities, turn around, and have a board lay you out. That’s what makes this game better than a bargain bin game. That’s the kind of scary crap that will make you lock your doors at night. You are living a thriller movie.
The story is terrific and has a pretty good ending (although I was a bit confused on some spots). Besides just finding out who the serial killer is, there are a few things to return to this game for. For one, the dead bird finding. I don’t know why, but that is freaking hard and worth running back through the game just to find all those darn birds. It’s nothing really big but it is a challenge and will keep you looking around forever until you can find them all.
I must say, that it’s a great game. I terrific game with many promising aspects but not something for the average gamer who wants a long, deep game with many things to do. Unless you just can’t wait to see some scary tricks and great melee fun, then I’d suggest at least waiting for a price drop or until you get tired of a few games and can cash them in for this one.
TL;DR: Buy if you plan on playing through a few times. Rent if you just want to run through it.
Reviewed on the Xbox 360.