ADD Gamers – Game Review
By: Luke Harris
Game: Condemned: Criminal Origins
What are you doing with that rebar?
Letter Grade: B-
+ Good graphics.
+ Horrid atmosphere.
+ With scary enemies.
+ Use anything as a weapon.
- This guy’s a cop…?.
- Convoluted story.
- Shallow detective work.
- Unfair blocking.
- WTF mechanics.
- A tad short.
The Xbox 360 is out? What are you gonna get? Well, the overwhelming abundance here is FPS, so why not SEGA’s latest entry, Condemned: Criminal Origins? It’s scarier than Oblivion, and not as lame as Perfect Dark. Well, you picked it up, and you’ve played it. Here’s my two cents: Condemned is a good game and all, but so much of it doesn’t make sense. That shouldn’t stop you from picking it up and playing it though. It’s a scary game that made me jump on more than one occasion, and it shows the graphical limit of the newest Microsoft console.
You play the game as fat-cop Ethan Thomas trying to kill a mysterious murderer. Okay, so far so good… He’s on the run and you and your police partner try to stop him. He steals your gun, knocks you out, and shoots your partner in front of you, killing him. The rest of the game is spent going through this run-down, poverty-ridden city filled with lunatics, murderers, and druggies trying to kill this guy who framed you for killing your own partner.
The game is entirely first person, only leaving said perspective to show cut scenes, which are usually boring and always un-skippable. You don’t have your detective gear when you leave, unless you’re talking about a digital camera, a black light, a green light, a headset, and a radio GPS, but no weapons. Go figure. You can carry all these in your back pocket, but in the game play you can only carry a single weapon. Maybe because he’s so fat, and can only sprint for about five seconds… Luckily, just about anything in your environment that can be used as a weapon…can be used as a weapon. See a signpost? Rip it out and use it as a beating stick. See a chair leg? A Billy club! See that subway station sign? A um…subway station sign that hurts! Each and every weapon has its own durability, range, speed, and strength, displayed for you when you switch weapons. You do however get the chance to use different guns, but you cannot switch ammo between guns, or hold it in your pocket for later. Besides, who needs a shotgun when you can use a mannequin arm?
Some of the non-gun weapons are used to open certain doors. A locked door will require a fire axe to break. A lock itself will require a sledgehammer. And an electrical lock will require a shovel. …But couldn’t these have worked fine the other way around? Can’t I just as easily break this lock with an axe than a sledgehammer? Which is weaker than the axe?! Okay, let me backtrack two stories down to pick up the hammer I dropped for the shotgun that I dropped for the axe when I ran out of the one bullet my enemy left for me. Makes perfect sense. [Smiley face]
Between your killing of mindless enemies and you getting from point A to point B, you will be required to do illegal detective work. (Remember, you’re on the run from the cops) This is limited to a single room, where it tells you exactly what to use, and if you leave the area, your equipment automatically goes away. If you need to find a blood sample, find it. Look around and see if you can find it in this 15’x15’ room. It’s there somewhere. Oh, there it was, right in plain view. I thought the murderer might have some sense to at least hide this gallon of blood.
Speaking of hiding, the plot itself only really comes out when you’re starting the level, or beating it. Most of the in-game play itself is trying to survive and beat the crap out of these mute bad guys. The story can be confusing, and right when it gets back on track, it high-centers itself on it’s own…weirdness. I won’t spoil anything here, but the game won’t win any awards for best story of the year.
The fighting system is very standard FPS. You move, block, swing/shoot, and try to avoid your opponent killing you. You can run, but for only a couple seconds. And not up or down stairs. You can’t jump, and your tazer and kick are very overpowered. Blocking seems to be broken in this game. In which you can’t hold to block, but your enemies can, and they’re good at timing, whereas you have one second to block, and you still take damage even if you block. Not really worth it if you can just tazer them, then kick them, which usually kills them. Useless to have a weapon almost, huh?
All-in all this was a decent game. It was scary, gave me a good FPS experience, but didn’t really fulfill my wallet. I paid $45 for this, and I beat the game at around 7 hours. That’s less than… [pulls out calculator] …Heh, I spelled “BOOBS”… Well, anyway, with little replay value, and no multiplayer, this is a criminal that will only get parole, don’t expect a life sentence.