Condemned is a game for the Xbox 360 console which I bought used, along with Condemned 2 costing £5 for the two games.
The age rating for this game is over 12 years old. There is a bit of bad language and violence in the game but I personally wouldn't have a problem with under 12's playing it, there would be very few games available for them to play if we all took notice of the age rating.
You play the character Ethan Thomas, who is investigating murders and crime scenes. You will meet many enemies along the way and can pick up weapons along the way to defeat these. The weapons are quite interesting, you can pick up guns including a shotgun, machine gun and a range of pistols. There are not many guns and you cannot pick up ammunition so if you run out you must find another gun. If the gun is out of ammo you can use it to hit enemies.
Along with the empty gun, you can also hit with your hands. You may need to pick up a crowbar to open doors and you can also use this as a weapon. A fire axe may also be used as a weapon and as a useful tool to gain access to areas.
You can find some sort of weapon just about anywhere, planks of wood with nails can be collected, a pipe from a wall and even a crutch and prosthetic leg can be collected in the hospital and used to whack an enemy.
A taser gun can also be used and a meter will be on the screen to show when it is fully charged and ready to use.
You will be taught how to perform combos to increase the amount of damage you inflict on an opponent. Some combos may also be used to knock out or stun an enemy rather than killing them which will be required in some missions when you have a secondary goal not to kill anyone.
The enemies are also something a little different, there are some guards, plenty of zombies and also some funny enemies like a zombie with a huge pigs head.
The game isn't all about killing enemies though, you must also investigate crime scenes with the help of some tools such as a cell phone, GPS, UV scanner and camera. You may be required to take photographs of evidence (fingerprints, fibres etc.), follow blood trails and collect information.
This aspect of the game could do with some improvement. On one particular level I was asked to find out where a wheelbarrow came from. No more instructions or hints are given - you need to turn on hints on the main start menu, which I stupidly didn't do. After battling enemies for the previous half an hour I forgot all about the investigation and wandered around a room for ages before remembering the UV scanner and using it to follow the tire trail from the wheelbarrow.
When gathering evidence, especially with using the camera you may need a couple of attempts as you have to zoom in and out until and adjust the focus until the picture is good enough.
The evidence collected will be processed by Rosa who is on the other end of your cell phone and will get back to you with results and further instructions.
Also on your screen is a health meter and endurance meter. Endurance is used to sprint, this meter builds back up when you are stood still. The health meter obviously decreases when you are injured when being attacked. You can pick up health packs along the way to use to replenish health. Some health packs are in glass cabinets which you will need to smash to acquire them.
The graphics are quite good, although the game is quite dark in a lot of scenes both indoors and outdoors. You will need to use your flashlight quite a lot.
The music and sound effects are also fairly good and do build up quite a bit of suspense, it's one of those games where you know someone is going to jump out on you but still have a bit of a jump when they do.
I enjoyed playing this game, I did expect the investigative side of the game to be more interesting than it was. The game took quite a while to complete and by the end I had got a bit bored of it. It has it's good points though, the ability to use a lot of items from your surroundings as weapons is good and the difficulty level is also good, not too easy or difficult.
You can choose between three difficulty levels: easy, normal and hard.
The game is also available to play online with Xbox live.You can't play multiplayer with 2 controllers on the same Xbox though which is annoying.
This game would be a good choice for anyone that likes zombie shooting games, with a bit of extra investigating included. I personally prefer something which requires a bit more thought and tactics. I like to have a map on screen all the time too as I don't find the gps very useful and wander around until I find what I'm looking for.
It's not a favourite of mine, but I know many people who really enjoy this game and it was definitely worth the price I paid so I'm going to give it an average 3 stars.
I was inspired to buy this game after reading the excellent review from ReviewKing which is listed here also. Condemned was a game that has passed me by as I didn't get an XBox 360 until a couple of years after its release, and there were an awful lot of games for me to choose from by that point. It's currently available from www.amazon.co.uk from £4.00 for a pre-owned game on the marketplace.
The back of the box info: "The hunt for a serial killer has never been so terrifyingly real.
A cunning and ruthless killer is taunting authorities with a series of grisly murders. As FBI agent Ethan Thomas, your investigation will pit you against the most violent side of humanity as you unravel clues left by the killer.
+ Stay alive using any weapon you can from firearms to lead pipes to whatever you can pry from the fully interactive environment.
+ Unprecedented high-definition graphics and meticulously crafted 5.1 surround sound plunge you into a world of violent crime.
+ Use sophisticated forensic tools to investigate crime scenes and uncover evidence in this intense one-of-a-kind psychological thriller."
Condemned was released in 2005 and is a collaboration between Sega and Warner Brothers Studios. Gaming legends Sega constantly come out with innovate and exciting games, and WB lend this game an interesting twist. Through some stages it feels very much like you are playing through a movie, as the cut scenes are involving and cinematic. The plot is also very much like a crime thriller and you could imagine it being portrayed in film format.
This video game follows a crime / thriller storyline and uses horror and fantasy elements to tie it all together. You play as FBI agent Ethan Thomas who is an FBI agent framed for murder, and is on the case of tracking down a serial killer. The scene is set right from the beginning with decaying ruined buildings, and a view of the city that is full of human waste, violent undesirable people, and rife with crime. You are trying to chase down and stop the serial killer, and encounter various crime scenes along the way where you will have to use your forensic equipment to gain clues. This is a bit simplified as you will not be able to use your equipment unless you are in the direct vicinity of the crime scene. If you are searching for a trail of blood for example, the button that allows you to take a sample will appear when you are near to the blood trail. If you leave the area, the button will disappear and so alert you that you have strayed off course. This makes it less of a hunt and investigation, and takes some of the edge off.
As you journey across the city you will encounter a wide range of opponents. Sometimes it will just be one or two at a time, but the AI is really cleverly used and is quite advanced in the way that it behaves. Some of the undesirables you come across will be fighting amongst themselves, or become distracted on their way to you and start to attack another AI character if they get in their way. They can attack you in gangs from all directions so you need to be on your guard. One of the interesting things about this game is the fighting style. You start each level empty handed and will have to search for an item that can be used as a weapon before you can have any real chance of surviving fights. You may need to pull a pipe off the wall, or search through cupboards until you find a gun. Most of the weapons are melee style and allow you to give the bad guys a good beating at close range. Each weapon displays stats before you pick it up so you can decide if you want to switch for something quicker or stronger. You also have the use of some extremely brutal finisher moves at your disposal. The fighting is very violent and you feel fully immersed in it thanks to the first person perspective.
Condemned is gory and violent throughout. It certainly deserves its 18 certificate rating and some of the topics that are followed in the game are most definitely not suitable for children. Dealing with mutilation, torture, and murder are all just part of Ethan's day to day job and you see some things in quite clear detail which is not for the squeamish or faint-hearted. The underlying tone of horror is reinforced by the dark, grimy surroundings and the disturbing events you have to witness. The atmosphere is eerie and at times I was on edge enough to literally jump when something scary happened! There is also a side-story which could possibly be linked to the supernatural, or may be the result of some sort of psychosis. The plot becomes difficult to follow in some places and I was left feeling confused at the end even though things seemed to have reached a resolution.
There are very few characters through the game, and by playing as Ethan you get to know him and his behaviour quite well (apart from some unexplained episodes!). The personalities are captured during the cut scenes, and the accurate facial expressions along with Ethan's sarcastic sense of humour make him a likeable character. This touch of humour also helps to give you a bit of a break from the dark topics that are covered in the storyline.
The graphics do not seem as high quality as they are claimed to be, and can seem blocky in places. It is also hard to pick out detail in some of the surroundings, and the darkness level can make it difficult to spot things when you are searching for evidence. Be careful when adjusting the brightness level at the beginning of the game, I would advise setting it a little lighter than you think you might normally need.
The only real downside is that the game play through the levels in linear and restrictive in some ways. It felt very repetitive even on my second/third play through, and I don't think it has a long lasting re-play value. It is also a bit too basic in places, for example with the use of the tools and the hints that tell you what to do at every stage. Luckily it is very easy to obtain the achievements, and after my second run through the game I had scored an impressive 48/50 achievements.
I thought Condemned was an intriguing and exciting game that I enjoyed playing through. It is unique in the way that you enter combat, and the crime scene investigation is really innovative. The AI oppponents are impressive and can be tougher than you think thanks to the way they behave and interact. This is an interesting game that was fun to play but not so much fun to re-play. I After about 2-3 weeks of playing I have had my fill and gained as much as I possibly can from the experience. This is good for an early 360 game, but there is a lot that could be improved upon. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the follow up game, Condemned 2.
'Condemned' is a horror game like no other. With an emphasis on melee combat, and all gameplay taking place in a first-person perspective, it aims to immerse you into a twisted world where survival is paramount. You assume the role of an FBI detective and your aim is to hunt down a serial killer who has been terrorising the neighbourhood through a series of grotesque murders. Though things at first seem simply unusual, things soon take a grotesquely supernatural turn...
The first thing you're likely to notice in the game is the unique combat system. The idea of a first-person perspective has been about for years, but Monolith decided to take the system to another level. Rather than rely on powerful weaponry to get their protagonist through the game, the idea was to make a truly survival-oriented game: gone are endless machine gun clips and a primary character armed to the teeth. To fend off your enemies here, you'll have to rip gas pipes off the walls, locate fire axes or simply grab whatever you can from your environment. Each weapon has its strengths and weaknesses, and it soon becomes a matter of looking for the perfect melee weapon. The choice is surprisingly varied - not only are there 4 x 2s and lead pipes, but you'll come across paper cutters and even the awesomely vicious meat cleaver. While guns make an appearance, you'll often have a near-empty clip to work with: this makes them almost unusable, and is a wonderful design decision which breaks tradition with other survival horror games to great effect.
Likewise, your environments are suitably confined and eery. The sound has been perfectly nailed, offering a distinct sense of unease and the feeling of utter isolation. This is compounded by other interesting design choices. For one, your surroundings are nearly always plunged in darkness, with you relying on your trusty flashlight to help you feel your way around. When this is factored in to the claustrophobic level designs, including a metro station, you begin to feel overwhelmingly isolated from the outside world.
The feeling of immersion you notice cannot be understated: in one later level you find yourself in complete darkness. Your flashlight is busted, and your taser is broken. There are flaming logs you can grab to guide the way, but your enemies are equipped with hunting rifles. Do you choose firepower and make your way in the crippling darkness, or light the way and accept your inferior defence against your foes? These decisions create a complete sense of survival in the game, and Monolith should be commended for these astute design choices.
As an FBI officer, you also gain access to a feature unseen in other horror titles: forensics. Although you can't use the tools at will, the best parts of the game are the forensic investigations. Using UV lights and forensic scanners you can unveil secret trails and important evidence, relaying them via mobile to one of your most trusted colleagues. This not only furthers the story well, but is a fresh addition to a rather saturated horror genre which tweaks the formulae to good effect.
For a game which was released at the start of the 360's cycle, the graphics are also surprisingly good. Environments are rendered well, and the melee weapons look suitably realistic. Weaponry looks less impressive, and you won't feel like a shotgun is that much more powerful than a pistol, but this is to be expected in a game which overlooks firepower as a key component. The enemies you face are also well rendered, and mutter insanely to themselves as they lurch or sprint towards you.
The AI is strong, too, as foes will scramble around looking for a weapon to destroy you with, and will intuitively block attacks to give themselves a fighting chance. Importantly, weapons feel rather powerful: hit an enemy in the head with a fire axe and one blow is enough, though it feels suitably heavier and you lose faster reaction times. A lead pipe will allow you to strike with speed, but lose that killer blow which is so important.
Unfortunately, for a game which allows you to use ferocious weaponry there is a notable lack of gore. Take a case in hand: a cool addition to the game allows you to finish off foes: you can choose to headbutt, punch or snap the foe's neck. However, the consequences of your actions remain the same. Slam the enemy's head to the ground and his face will look the same as it did before you did so. Snap the enemy's neck and it looks exactly the same when they hit the ground. Likewise, hitting an enemy with an axe doesn't dismember, nor does a lead pipe graphically seem to cause less damage to a foe than a sledgehammer. This means the game feels less realistic, as the weaponry you use may affect how quickly you defeat a foe but it won't show the gory consequences à la 'Dead Space'.
Moreover, some design choices in the game feel confounded. Yes, darkness works well in a horror game, but this of course poses serious gameplay issues. With no map to aid your movement, you'll often be literally lost for hours looking for where you need to go next. There is not arrow indicator leading to the next objective, nor any indication of where you exit may be. You literally have to search every nook and cranny in the darkness to find your way around. An isolating method, yes, but literally leading gamers down a blind path doesn't make for the most intuitive game design.
Unlike other horror games, too, healing has been restricted to health packs. Not only is it difficult to scramble around looking for them when you most need them but this makes the game even less realistic. If you were being chased and pummelled would the first thing you do be to let him chase as you click a button to recoup health? Surely a design where you had to hide and wait until you partially healed would make more sense in a game which manages to immerse the player so well in every other respect?
Fortunately, for those willing to follow the rather engrossing - if often confusing - 10 hour story, the achievements framework is a very interesting one. Not only do you earn gamerscore points, but you also unlock concept art and videos, giving you an incentive to hunt down every achievement in the game to unlock these rare little trinkets.
In summary, 'Condemned' does a good job of totally immersing the gamer in a twisted, horrific world. You feel isolated, under-equipped and downright scared at times, which makes for a rather gripping survival-horror experience. Sadly, it is a very frustrating game to play. The darkness aids the horror elements but detracts from the gameplay, often making the game more a pain to play than a fun 10 hours. Likewise, questionable design elements like health packs and no objective guidance whatsoever detract from the overall game design. Ultimately then, the ideas are nearer to five stars and the execution nearer to three: a comfortable four Dooyoo stars for 'Condemned'.
The game can be snapped up for around £5 online (Amazon Marketplace). I got mine for £3 and think that's probably the fairest price to pay for a game from 2005.