Review by fatalframe202

""A first person horror game that shows us what the xbox 360 is capable of""

Condemned Criminal Origins for the Xbox 360 is a first person thriller that redefines the word scary. The game follows a middle-aged man named Ethan Thomas who starts the game off investigating a crime scene. Right away, you can see what the game will be like and you will be able to gasp at the breathtaking graphics.

The gameplay in Condemned was done extremely well and after experiencing it, you will note that a lot of time was put into making this game. . You can use an assortment of weapons, such as firearms, axes, sledgehammers, crowbars, steel pipes, metal signs and much more. To add excitement to the game, there are four finishing moves that you can deploy on an enemy once you get them down on their knees. These range from snapping their necks to head butting them and a few others.

What makes this game different from other first person games, such as first person shooter, is that the game pace is very slow. Rather than a quick run through and shoot every thing you see, its a slow investigative game that takes patience and skill to master. You will also get to use different forensic tools that will allow you to send evidence back to the crime lab and seek out bloodstains and evidence that is invisible to the naked eye.

When facing your enemies, you get the option of striking them fiercely with your weapon, or blocking their on coming attacks and following up with a quick attack that will most likely finish them. The enemy A.I. in the game is very good. The enemies will take fake swings at you, sidestep out of the way and block your attacks, even if it means multiple blocks before they try and swing at you.

The graphics in the game will surely impress. Upon seeing the opening movie you will see how detail each thing is as well as how good small and unnecessary things look, such as metal cans that are on the ground or unfinished walls. The buildings and other scenery that you will visit are done in good detail. The game sets a shadowy mood from the beginning, which shows how good the shadow and lighting effects are. The character models are definitely something to talk about. The character models show what a next generation game should look like.

The storyline in the game is interesting as it is dark. The game will keep you wanting to play the next chapter as you play for hours and hours until you beat it. The game pits you right in the middle of a crime scene and from there you find yourself tracking down a serial killer, all the same while trying to clear your name with the police. You will use your forensic tools to find clues throughout the game as well as solve mysteries and link clues together that will in the end come together to form one big theory.

The audio in the game is very sharp and clear. The most impressive thing about this game is the realistic sound you get when you smash a steel pipe into your enemy's head. Every time you swing and make contact with something, you get a realistic sound that will deliver a eerie feeling. Depending on your weapon, you will get a different, unique sound that also adds to the terror of the game. The sounds of your forensic tools doing their job and the sound of the little things, such as footsteps, picking things up, and making grunts when you get hit by the enemy, all add a sort of realism to the game.

The game does have some replay value. Throughput the game you can seek out hidden rooms that upon finding different objects you can unlock achievement points. You can also track dead birds and metal pieces that will unlock certain things such as videos to concept art to game files that reveal more about the story. The game takes about 6-8 hours to complete it on your first play through. There is no multiplayer mode, but you can post your scores and check out the leader board for the game.

Overall I would recommend this game to anyone, whether that be a rental or a buy. Some people that are not a fan of the horror genre might find this game to be boring after one play through, but fans of the genre will find that this game may last them for quite some time.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/27/06

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