Review by x MINDGAME x
"My instincts are telling me that this is a great game!"
Despite its flaws I still think Condemned: Criminal Origins is an amazing game, it's one of the best games out right now for the Xbox 360, and it's one of my all time favorite games.
GRAPHICS: 9/10 Let me first state that most of the graphics in the game are excellent, it's the little things, however, that drop my rating down a point. First off I loved the lighting in this game. The use of shadows made it feel very dark and creepy. It really looked great with the reflections off water, rays of light shinning though shutters, and excellent fire graphics. The shadows help give the game a very dark, noir feeling that reminded me of Doom 3. Some of the wall textures get kind of blurry when you get close to them. It's nothing to cry about, in fact you really don't even notice it unless you're that close to a wall, otherwise they look great. Another thing I noticed was Ethan Thomas' hands look rectangular/polygon-ish while you're holding a pistol and especially while you're holding a shotgun.
SOUND: 10/10 Perfect. Atmospheric: there was no actual music in the game just background noises like wind and sound effects. It really made the game feel very cold, silent, and lonely, which is exactly what they wanted you to feel. It helped set the mood that, again, reminded me of Doom 3.
CONTROLS: 6/10 The controls for sprinting are just annoying. In order to sprint you must press down the left thumbstick and push it forward at the same time. It's not that it's hard to press down the thumbstick, it's just hard to keep it pressed down AND move it forward. They could have made it a lot easier by just allowing you to change the controls. Another thing is that the "sprint-bar" goes down very fast so you can only sprint for about 5-6 seconds. Other than that the controls were pretty much fine, except for kicking which was pushing the right thumbstick. If a game doesn't need to use the thumbsticks as buttons it shouldn't.
WEAPONS: 8/10 There's a medium range of weapon diversity. Most of the weapons are just blunt objects you pick up along your way, but later in the game you start to see more guns and knives(kind of). For some reason Thomas can only carry one weapon and a taser when he's hauling around all those forensic tools in a duffle-bag. He should have been able to at least carry around an extra clip of ammo for the pistol or some shells for the shotgun. The enemies have an unfair advantage because they're able to re-load their guns, even thought there's absolutely no spare ammo in the game. And when you kill them you think you'd be able to scavenger their body for this mysterious ammo they're using, but sadly that's not the case.
GAMEPLAY: 9/10 There's no in-game map, but you don't really need one. It's really easy to find your way around most of the time. I only got lost once or twice throughout the entire game. You don't need a walkthrough either, unless you're looking for all the "scavenger hunt" items (dead birds and metal pieces), which actually, you could probably find most of them on your own. The objectives are fairly easy to accomplish on normal difficulty. There weren't any parts that were extremely difficult, except the final boss, who was way too hard for my liking. I played most of the game on normal difficulty but I had to set the game on easy to beat him, but that's just me. A lot of people like the challenge. One thing that made this game stand out was the special moves. You can perform these special moves when you temporarily disable an opponent and he's down on his knees. The four "Special moves" are Ram, Snap, Punch, and Slam. They're not really that much different from each other, but they do add some spice to the game, that's what makes it fun to play.
SAVE SYSTEM: 4/10 The checkpoints save the game automatically, but there is still an option that lets you save manually. However, it is completely pointless because when you save manually, it doesn't save from your current position, it saves from the previous checkpoint. Which really bugged me, because why put it in the game if there's absolutely no reason to use it? Also you can't delete saved games in the game menu. You have to go on the xbox dashboard and go into the memory tab.
SCARINESS FACTOR: 10/10 Lots of parts that make you jump, flinch, and scream like a little girl. The enemies don't pop out from secret hidden doors but they will sneak up on you from time to time. They also like hiding behind things, (i.e.; pillars, walls, etc.) which can really surprise you if you don't stay on your toes.
Rent or Buy? Definitely rent, it's a short game and it'll take you a week at most to beat.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/12/06, Updated 01/25/10
Game Release: Condemned: Criminal Origins (US, 11/16/05)
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