Review by Oni Chikara

"Scary YES, Fun SURE, Replayable NO (POSSIBLE SPOILERS)"

Introduction – This is a horror game set in present day, about an FBI agent tracking down a serial killer who is killing serial killers. In hunting down serial killers you find that there may be a much more sinister plot behind these murders.

Gameplay – The gameplay was pretty fun. You had the ability to swing and hit people with different improvised weapons. You could use pipes, rebar, fire axe, crowbar, sledgehammer, and more. You could even use desk drawers, or locker doors, or signs in a subway tunnel as weapons. One thing that was a great touch was the fact that each weapon had different stats, which made the game really realistic. For instance the fire axe would do a lot more damage than the gas pipe. However, it would be a lot slower and have a lower defense because of its size. That was all over the game, the different weapons would have a different stats based on what the weapon was. It was too difficult to pull off swinging combos though, the enemies could pull it off very easily, however, you as a player could not force your character to perform a combo without either, a lot of time just practicing to get it down, or dumb luck. A great feature was the taser and eventually the super taser which was activated with the left bumper. I used this weapon more than anything; it is very helpful to either slow down an enemy for a free hit or an easy kill in the case of the super taser. The taser would fire out and if it hit an enemy it would shock them and give them a short stun so you could go up and hit them with your melee weapon or shoot them with your gun. The super taser would shock them to the point of the enemy falling to the ground. At that point you casually walk up and hit them or kick them for a free and easy kill. Another great feature with the gameplay was the executions of enemies who just would not stay down. You use the directional pad and you could either head butt them and kill them, snap their neck and kill them, punch them and kill them, or kick them and kill them. With the executions you would get up close and in your enemy's face to watch them get killed, a great way to relieve some stress or very satisfying if this particular enemy hit you a lot. There were also guns to play with, a pistol, a six shooter (looked like a small caliber magnum), a submachine gun, a shotgun, a sawn off shotgun, or a rifle. You could hit the right bumper and hit enemies with the butt of the guns which was fun. There of course was a reticle to shoot with and head shots proved to be especially effective, another point for realism. You had a flashlight which basically had to remain on if you wanted to see anything; you controlled that with the right stick and the B button to turn it on and off. The right trigger, as with any first person shooter type game, is the right trigger. I would recommend turning up the sensitivity on the look joystick for the reason that there are many places that you are surrounded by enemies and they do not care if you are engaging an enemy in front. On that note, it was a great and real touch that enemies could and frequently did, so use it to your advantage, hit each other and in some cases kill each other, making it easier for you to stroll up and finish the job. Next is the investigate, you have, and God only knows how you are carrying all of this equipment, a camera, a gas spectrometer, a black light, and an organic reading gun, I forget the name. To use them you use the X button and the directional pads to focus in and out and on the right area to take a reading or a picture so that it can be analyzed and give you a clue as to what to do next.

Story – The story was of average quality. An FBI agent is framed for murders and goes on the hunt for the real murder to clear his name. The agent, Ethan Thomas, finds out that there is something more sinister controlling this serial killer of serial killers, and that he has innate abilities that will help him find and stop this evil villain. It has a supporting actress that does not have an emotional attachment to the main character and of course the police chasing Ethan down. The ending was a bit of a surprise the first time I saw it though.

Graphics/Sound – Because this was a horror game at its core, I have to give it a great rating for graphics and sound. The entire time you were always turning around and you would hear sounds that you could not pin point where or what they were. The detail on the enemies and the gore that went with the deaths and injuries was very good too. The actual horror scenes were very predictable; however, you still got scared. There was one scene that I knew what was coming next and I still skipped a breath when it happened, meaning that it was very well done. The smoothness of characters could have been better. The skin seemed almost like sandpaper on everyone, and the eyes just did not look right on the faces. But hey we are not to the point that the games look like movies to a tee yet.

Play time/Replayability – Play time was about nine plus hours at a minimum if you wanted to get everything, if you were running through it I would say about four plus hours. There were points that were just too long and dragged, but then there were also points that moved really fast. The replayability was not as good. I finished this game and I probably will never pick it up again, especially because all of the achievements were achieved.

Final Recommendation – If you have an opportunity to pick this up used or new for cheap I would avoid it unless it was really cheap. The recommendation is to just go and rent it for five nights and have it beaten by the time it is due and it would only cost you between five and ten dollars. But all in all I would say that this game is pretty good, I'm glad I played it, I now have a good basis to compare other horror games to.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 09/24/07

Game Release: Condemned: Criminal Origins (US, 11/16/05)

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