Review by MadAndReason

Reviewed: 11/23/05

Condemned to great ratings?

What can I say about Condemned: Criminal Origins? Can I say it's the best game I've ever played? No, I certainly can't say that. Can I say it's in my top 10? Why, yes, I can. Top 5? Why not? This is one of the best games I've played in a long time. And I mean a long time.

The gameplay, while both aspects seem to have been done before, molds together the survival horror element with the thought-invoking element. Noy only do you get to investigate scenes and use your forensic tools to help you find not only the guy your chasing but also your way out, but you also have to fight for your life, using your environment to find weapons that can be used to aid you. The gameplay is seamless, as well. You could be taking clues one minute, see an enemy (which I affectionately call "homeless crackheads"), and put away your tools, grab a weapon, and defend yourself all in a few seconds. The gameplay is both original and addictive, and I'd rate the gameplay a ten out of ten.

The atmosphere of the game, the sights and sounds, are what make this game what it is. The game has no default background music, so you're walking around in the dark (with a flashlight, of course) with absolutely no noise save that which is made by the environment and that which is suddenly made by the "homeless crackheads." The place you visit are very dark and very creepy, with no sound and a flashlight that likes to flicker and go out without warning. The overall environment of this game is very immersive, as you can be walking quietly in the dark, hear something move, and get creeped out while you wait for the crackheads to come. For immersion and atmosphere, I gladly give a ten out of ten.

The graphics of this game are what really make it stand out. The environments are incredibly realistic looking, the detail is amazing, and the lighting and shadow effects are top notch. This is the best looking game I have ever seen, hands down. For graphics, I gladly give and eleven out of ten.

Now, you're probably wondering why I gave this game a nine out of ten, when all my areas are tens (and an eleven). That is because of replayability. I didn't see this game as very replayable. A lot of the game is finding the right tool to get on with your objectives, whether it be a sledgehammer to break a lock or a fire axe to break down a door. And to go through it again would be, while fun, a bit repetitive because you'd already know what to do. For replayability, I leave the score up to you. As for me... I'd say eight out of ten.

So, if it weren't for replayability, I'd give this game a ten out of ten. It is one of the best looking, original, and most immersive games I've played in years. I give this game a nine out of ten.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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