Product Type: Sega Xbox 360 games
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Condemned: A True Ciminals Origin
Condemned: Criminal Origins (Xbox 360)
Member Name: TJGardner
Condemned: Criminal Origins (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Atmospheric, Unique Gameplay
Disadvantages: A bit too short lived, No Online Play
Condemned: Criminal origins is the next game made by Monolith Productions and I in the same category as there last game F.E.A.R, survival horror. Is it scary? Well we shall soon see.
You begin the game as a forensic officer investigating a crime seen that was discovered in an old abandoned apartment block. However the suspect is still inside the building and it is up to you to find and stop him, as your team mates have more or less ran for there life, ok so they climbed up a ladder, but its still trying to get away.
Straight from the off, before you get to fight or even see any enemies you are put into the role of a forensic officer, you need to use various tools to find bits of evidence around the crime scene and then send the data collected back to the lab for analysis. This sort of thing makes the game more atmospheric and makes you feel like you are actually there. These scenes where you need to use the forensic tools are scattered all over the game and really add to the experience, a great feature for the game.
The combat system in Condemned is also different from any other games that I have seen. The first thing you will notice when you start playing is the fact that you have very, and I mean very limited ammunition for your weapons, there are no ammo pickups in the game, if you run out of ammo you will need to find another gun, either off of an enemy or lying around in a cupboard or desk. However if you do run out of ammo, it does not mean that the weapon is useless, you can just turn it around and start beating the enemies with the handle side of the gun, which is extremely fun.
This is where the gameplay gets interesting, thats right, the melee weapons. There is a huge number of weapons in the game from a plank of wood with nails in it, a station sign all the way up to a huge fire axe. There are about fifteen different melee weapons in total which may not seem like a lot, but trust me it is, as you will need to play the game through more than once in order to find them all. When using a melee weapon you have two options, attack or block, if you block at the right time, and you need to get the timing right, it will cause the enemy to fall backwards giving you the chance to ram your weapon into the enemies skull. Once you are done battering the enemy to death there are a number of things that ca happen, usually they will just fall to the ground dead, however sometimes they will only fall to their knees, this is the point where you get the option to perform one of four finishing moves, these moves are a more gruesome way of killing the enemy, such as snapping their necks.
The physics in condemned are very good, you can be walking along and accidentally bump into a bucket or table and it will move according to how t would in the real world, if you knock a bucket on its side it will roll away depending on how the ground is sloped. You can hit nearly any object in the game and it will fly off just how it should. The AI in the game however is not as good as it could be. The enemies will see when they are in trouble and they will then run away and hide behind a pillar or around a corner and then pop out and attack you when you go near, however a lot of the enemies will get confused, and start randomly running away and never coming back or just simply running round in circles, which while is very entertaining, does somewhat ruin the experience. The AI however is a lot better when facing each other, I know this sounds strange, but if you sit back and watch the AI fight each other then it can not only give you a bit of breathing time, it also gives you something that is sometimes spectacular to watch.
The graphics used in Condemned are excellent. The surrounding area and the environment that you are in are rendered very well, the walls have darkened areas with blood splattered everywhere, the blood from an enemy that you have just hit round the head with a mallet will fly onto the wall and stay there, making a very realistic experience. The environments are musky and dark, just like you would expect from a survival horror game. The fire effects in the game are impressive but not amazing, there are better fire effects in games such as Call of Duty 2, however the fire effects on one of the weapons is very good, it acts as a torch lighting up the surrounding area, which once again adds to the atmosphere.
However one of the downfalls of this game is the main characters animation, his face looks more like a cartoon than anything else and does not match with the rest of the game. However the animation and looks of the enemies make up for this. If you are about to hit lets say a hobo in the subway with a fire axe, you can actually see his facial expressions change from anger to fear as the axe comes crashing don towards his face. This adds a whole new level of character interactivity.
The sound matches the atmosphere and adds to it as well. Just walking along and accidentally bumping into a bucket or walking on top of some glass, will make you either jump or shiver as you will begin to think that there is something stalking you. Not only does your own movement make you turn around and become worried but so does the enemies movement, if you are downstairs in a house, you can actually hear the enemies running around upstairs, this makes you wonder if it is safe or not to go up stairs and adds to the dramatic situations.
The voice acting in the game is done very well, you can hear it very clearly and the way that they speak also matches what is going on in the game. The enemies voices are also pretty clear and easy to understand, when they are shouting at you telling you to go away, it really makes you feel as though you are there.
The music in the game once again matches in with what is happening in the game (yes I know you are tired of me saying that now), but it truly does. You may be walking down an abandoned school corridor, then as you step into a classroom some haunting music will start, this lets you know that something is going to happen however it gives you no indication of what it is.
The game is not the longest game there is but it does have some replay value. It will take you roughly eight to ten hours to complete on easy and a lot longer on a harder difficulty. The replay value that I spoke of is that there the two different things that you can do at the end, I will not say what they are because that would most likely ruin the game for a lot of you, but they are life altering decisions, and worth playing again to see.
You can pick up condemned fro between £25 and is well worth it at that price.
Condemned: Criminal Origins is an excellent game and very atmospheric and will draw you in and make you jump. If you like survival horrors or just want a scare, then pick this game up. It is a great game and one that you should check out.
Summary: A truly uniqe experience, but one you should not miss.
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