Condemned: Criminal Origins

By on August 19, 2006

What do you get when you take a dark FPS game and add a few CSI elements to it? Maaz finds out.


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First Impressions
My reaction is

Having made its debut on the Xbox 360, Condemned: Criminal Origins has now moved on to a PC release and the good news is that the PC version looks and feels as good as its 360 counterpart.

Condemned: Criminal Origins reminds you of the movie ‘Seven’ tough you are playing the lead role in this one. Condemned: Criminal Origins puts you in the role of an FBI detective, Ethan Thomas, whose day starts of with a murder investigation. Ethan, his partner and a police officer are investigating and tracking down a serial killer named “The Matchmaker”. Soon, he finds himself being framed for the murder of his partner and a police officer by the suspect himself. Now, you must track down ‘The Matchmaker’ whilst hiding from the FBI and unraveling the dark, creepy and bizarre story. The story is rather dry and teases players.

Condemned: Criminal Origins’ graphics are pretty good as it is made on the same Monolith engine F.E.A.R was built on. The atmosphere and the environments are highly detailed and interactive. You can actually see the blood on the weapon where you hit your enemy. The guns in the game do not look as good as the melee weapons because they are not highly detailed and realistic. The game uses rag-doll physics so enemies collapse to the ground in a pretty way. Judging just by the graphics of Condemned: Criminal Origins, you can say that survival horror has never looked this good.

In this game the first person hand-to-hand combat is bloody, gory and insanely mind-blowing which alone makes this game worth playing.

The controls are mostly standard and easy to learn using the mouse and keyboard. The weapons in the game are vast and almost anything harmful can be picked up from the environment and used to kill your enemies. However, you can carry only one weapon at a time and you won’t be shooting much in this game. You will find many health packs and med-kits around the place but you will hardly find ammunition for the guns. So prepare yourself for a melee combat brawl. All this action is broken by the puzzle solving aspect of the game in which you have to use these high-tech gadgets to find clues, which is quite refreshing — very CSI-like.

The A.I is brilliantly impressive as the enemies come rushing at you from the shadows. They lurch forward to attack you and even throw in a fake move before the powerful blow. But as you progress the A.I becomes predictable and at the same time difficult as they come in groups and there are few mini bosses fights too. 

The gameplay has not much depth and variety in it and it gets repetitive after the first 3-4 hours. Even the movement is limited; you can’t duck or jump — in fact you have to press the action button to crouch, which is ridiculous.

Condemned: Criminal Origins has nothing to offer at all in the online and multi-player sector. Even FPS fans wouldn’t like to play the game more than once and there are some decent extras that barely add-up to the replay value of the game.

The sound in this game brings the “Wow” factor. There isn’t much music in the game except for some ambient tracks. To appreciate the audio in this game, you need to get yourself a good sound system and turn up the volume. The sound effects in the game are excellent — crisp & crystal clear; it will make you jump out of your skin sometimes. The atmospheric sound adds a lot to the scare factor. For instance, you can hear footsteps here and there, the breathing of the enemies and the piercing sound of the breaking glass. Even the voice acting is done pretty well in the game, so it’s the audio that deserves huge credit.

Even if you are used to games like F.E.A.R and DOOM 3, Condemned: Criminal Origins will still give you goose pimples and a spine-tingling sensation. This game is neither for light-hearted nor for kids.

Condemned: Criminal Origins’ solid hand-to-hand combat, bone shaking sound effects, spine-shivering & adrenaline-pumping gameplay, dark & dead environments and a touch of CSI makes this game worth playing.

Condemned: Criminal Origins may be the best melee-combat oriented game to date but many of you will go through the game once only. To sum it up, if you are a Monolith fan, get this game; if you liked F.E.A.R/Doom 3, get this game; if you are a FPS lover, get this game; if you are a Survival/Horror fan, get this game.

The Scorecard
Solid hand-to-hand combat system with slightly repetitive gameplay.
Highly detailed graphics that will leave you drooling.
Crystal clear sound with great ambient music
Some extra contents but no online and multi-player modes.
Despite a few minor gameplay issues this game is one hell of a scary experience


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