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Condemned: Criminal Origins Game Review

by: Finn Orfano ; edited by: Bill Fulks ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Condemned: Criminal Origins puts you right in the action as FBI agent, Ethan Thomas, part of the famed Serial Crimes Unit (SCU). Charged inexplicably with the murder of two fellow police officers while on duty, you decide to solve the case to save yourself and bring the serial killer to justice.

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    Taking advantage of the recent popularity of TV shows like CSI, Condemned: Criminal Intentions uses the dramatic effect involved in the act of collecting evidence from active murder scenes as a main part of the fun in this title. Add outstanding hand to hand combat with a variety of nasty, but decidedly fatal weapons found all over this dark and weird universe, and Condemned: Criminal Intentions isn't a game you want your mother or kids playing. You play the part of the detective on the trail of a deranged serial killer intent on killing as many people as he can, before his inevitable violent death. Get ready to deal with an army of off the wall, non-stop killers you need to deal with before you get to him though, they just keep coming.

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    The good

    Outstanding presentation of eerie, dark, and decidedly evil environments that draw you into their weird personalities using a combination of great story telling, intelligent construction, and immersive sounds and graphic visions.

    Amazingly graphic scenes of hand to hand, sometimes over the top, non-stop violence between uncompromising opponents. Top-notch detail in all aspects of visual feast is impressive and immersive, taking you on an emotional ride, again and again.

    The sound effects were outstanding, making me flinch at points, and giving me clues at other times, a definite bonus to the over all immersive effect of the game.

    Well written story that puts you right in the action and never lets up.

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    The bad

    The hallway levels need more variety to the visual look because they become mundane after a few minutes, taking away from the immersive effect of the game, since you should be thinking about what's happening in the game, instead of how all the halls look the same.

    The combat system is outstanding, but could have been a little better thought out. After all, I am sure that FBI agents get at least rudimentary training in hand to hand combat styles and techniques, but in the game you are only able to do single blows, no combinations.

    With only one mode to play in, it took me seven hours to complete game and I was left wanting more. Give me more!

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    Game graphics

    The developers did an outstanding job creating the shadowy environments and graphic scenes in this game, and every part of this visual feast was entertaining for me. The visual details are some of the best you'll find, when you find them, but the ones they put in the game don't get much better. Frighteningly life-like animations of violent hand to hand scenes grab your senses, you'll wince and frown at several points, if you're human. Keep your eyes on the shadows in this game, though, sometimes things are hiding in them.

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    Sounds of the game

    The soundtrack is hardly noticeable at times it's so subtle, but what you do hear simply adds to the immersive effect because of its sombre mood.

    The voice acting is good, but sparse, with voices that are interesting and additions to the games effect when used.

    Fantastic sound effects have been used to great effect and make the environments more immersive. You will flinch to the sound of breaking glass, the adrenalin will flow when you can't identity a subtle sound... totally immersing you in the moment, and giving your heart a jump start.

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    The story

    You're Ethan Thomas, an FBI agent and member of the Serial Crimes Unit tasked with hunting down and locating serial criminals committing depraved and often very violent crimes. You arrive at the latest crime scene intent on doing your job, which is to collect evidence on the latest murder by a serial killer dubbed the 'Match Maker' by the press. This investigation turns in an unusual direction and inexplicably you find yourself somehow charged with the murder of two fellow police officers and decide you will need to find the murderer to save yourself and stop his reign of terror. You spend the game meeting strange characters, collecting evidence and fighting to the death with deranged criminals completely intent on finishing you off before you can clear your name.

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    Unfortunately, once you get beyond the 8 or 9 hours of game play in the single mode of this game, there's no desire to really play the game again, unless you just like the mindless violence.

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    The final mark

    The desired effect of the developers was certainly met with this title, the dark, dangerous and strangely attractive world portrayed can draw you in and keep you busy for a few hours of outstanding entertainmnent value. This is not a game for the squeamish or young at heart though, the graphic violence is extremely detailed and well designed. CSI fanatics will certainly have fun this with game, but will probably be disappointed with the lack of control over any aspect of the evidence gatheriing in the game.

    The combat system is fun, interactive, and extremely easy to learn and use, which is a bonus as it allows you to get into this part of the game with little thought, just common sense and action. Savage, hand to hand battles are normal in this game, there's no negotiating with these guys, doing violence onto you is their only goal. Everything is a weapon and implements of violence are available everywhere for use; metal pipes, sledgehammers, paper cutters - anything will do.

    The artificial intelligence in this game is surprisingly fun and reactive, making the title especially fun to compete against, at times your opposition will be so intelligent, you'll wonder if it's a real person.

    The entertainment doesn't last long enough, and the replay value isn't there, but other then this, Condemned: Criminal Origins is a game that is top-shelf in the genre, and one that will definitely get your blood flowing.

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