Review by Zork86

"Don't you just love violence and serial killer plots?"

Some people still might think that the 360 doesn't really have something for everybody. Well to those people, I say you're wrong. The new X-Box will soon have many different titles under it's sleeve and soon enough it won't be all about Halo, when in fact it's not. Microsoft has really tried to make a move as far as software variety goes. In comes this nice Survival Horror title called Condemned. Condemned has almost everything going for it for such an early title and it's at a lower price than other 360 games at the moment, everyone should at least try this game.

Presentation

Condemned has done something slightly different with it's overall presentation. The game is played in a 1st person view the whole time and yet there really is no HUD. The picture is completely clean. Only whenever you decide to sprint, or you get hit, or you manually check your ammo will indicators come up. I really like this and I hope that other developers will take note of this very clean and still very effective interface.

Other than that the menus are nice and effective and the story you are presented with keeps you guessing and you'll not really know what exactly is going on until the very end.

Score : 9.7 – Amazing

Gameplay

While you're playing Condemned you'll be notified of goals on the screen and you must complete them in order to advance further in the area. You play as FBI Agent Ethan Thomas and you are to investigate this recent string of killings and everything will advance from there. Sometimes in certain areas you'll have to use your forensics tools in order to find clues to continue throughout the game. While the tools thing is a good idea it's a nuisance sometimes to find what you're looking for because sometimes you have to turn your flashlight off and now it's pitch black, it's usually really dark anyway so sometimes you are having a hard time already. The whole tools thing can be seen as a way to take a break or slow the pace down a bit, I just hope in the eventual sequel that they will do something a bit differently about this.

All the other mechanics however work really well. You can sprint by holding in the analog stick, you consume first aid kits in order to restore health, and you pick up weapons to combat psychos. The weapons and combat of this game are the real highlight and some people may not expect that. You have guns and random melee weapons. The gun combat is what you would expect, pretty average and thankfully there are no reloads so guns are pretty sacred in this game and it doesn't belittle the melee combat.

The melee combat is where the game shines, have you ever wanted to grab a sledgehammer and bash someone's face in? Go right ahead because you can. How about ripping a desktop off of one of those school desks and beating someone silly…you got it!
You can also block hits with melee weapons and counter attack when you get the chance, some weapons are even used as tools in the game, like bashing a door open with a sledgehammer or cutting things with a fire axe. Also there are killing moves after you beat someone down enough they'll get to their knees and be dazed, and you have a choice to punch them in the face, do a massive headbutt, or even snap their necks. The combat is gritty, brutal and unrelenting and one of the best parts of this game.

Score : 8.3 - Great

Graphics

This game's graphics are pretty top notch and really the only downside to it is how there appears to be a layer of furniture polish on everything. Other than that the environments look very amazing and detailed. The weapons will eventually become bloody after beating someone or so many people down with them. I'll hand it to Sega, they really threw a large bag labeled “grit” into this game.

Score : 8.8 – Great

Sound

There really isn't very much music in this game, either that or you're barely noticing it because you're too busy being tense and waiting to bash someone in the face with whatever you're holding before you turn a corner. The voice acting in this game is pretty good and must have it's mention, sometimes Ethan and his analyst buddy come off as a little flat but nothing to complain about. I've also got to hand it to Sega about how they handled using sound to freak people out, it didn't happen as much as I would've liked but they did a good job anyway. I must mention the brutal sound effects made whenever you beat someone down, the crunching and wet smacking all that good stuff…it's pretty sick.

Score : 8.6 – Great

Replay

Honestly after you play through this game there isn't much of a reason to do so again unless you'd like to experience the game again. You could try to unlock all of the achievements to get a better gamer score on X-Box Live if you care enough. There is no hidden game content to unlock, once you beat the game it's over.

Score : 5.4 – Banal

Overview

Condemned was a game I honestly didn't expect from Sega, I didn't think they had something like this in them, I'm not saying their childish like the reputation Nintendo has, but it kinda came out of nowhere for me. Condemned is a good game to have in your 360 library if you're looking for something a little different other than shooting, or fighting or racing. Try to get the game used if you can because you may be disappointed with how quickly the game will end, (I beat it in 10 hours) and the real lack of replay value.

Overall Score : 8.2 – Great

Modified to 8/10 for Gamefaqs.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/14/06


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