Condemned - Review

A Blast from the past Process. Today we look back at an old classic.

Sega and Warner Brother Interactive present a Monolith Productions game, Condemned: Criminal Origins.

Originally produced for Xbox 360 in 2005, this game has been available on Steam for a while. The graphics are a little dated but we are going to see if it still packs a scare.  

The game opens with a death investigation with two FBI agents. I play as Agent Thomas.  

Evidence is gathered at the crime scene. The crime having been committed by a serial killer called - The Matchmaker. He is known for killing women and setting them in a scene with mannequins. 

It becomes apparent that the homicide suspect is still in the building. The game is a bit like 'CSI'. It is the player's responsibility to check the ammo in the gun as there is no on screen prompt. If you forget to do this, you can resort to kicking encountered enemies.

Over the introduction the player is gradually introduced to various abilities. Glimpses of the past hint at what has happened. Early in the game the player looses the firearm and instead has to resort to using found weapons, pipes, wood etc. This gives a unique feel as the majority of games allow you to carry a whole bag full of weapons and found items.

The game is more about counter attacking rather than going in with weapons swinging. You need to counter the enemy moves in order to take them down. Even during the combat sections, there is still investigation to be done with the characters wide array of gadgets and tools. The environment is suitable scary with rats scuttling in the shadows. The only way to obtain health is to smash open first aid lockers found at various points in the game, although are hard to come by so keeping healthy could become a struggle.

Secrets can be found off the beaten track and finding these unlocks achievements. Only one item can be carried at any time and so making the choice between gun, fire axe or other weapon is important. As in real life, the different weapons have different effects. The Taser is a good weapon for bringing down enemy characters temporarily.

At the end of each chapter, the game gives you a breakdown of your favourite weapon, how accurate you have been and what secrets you have found. Meaning people who want to 100% the game can try and improve their detective technique before moving on to the next stage of the game. I managed a fairly abysmal 40% accuracy on my first walkthrough.

Chapter two sees FBI Agent Ethan Thomas awakening in a new setting and suffering from strange hallucinations. An old friend of his fathers informs him that the death of his colleagues last night is thought to be of his doing after the killer used his gun. Ethan proceeds to go on the run, leaving his apartment as the police begin to knock on the door. Ethan flees into the subway and though abandoned buildings.

Moving through a variety of settings makes the game feel realistic. Even running, Ethan does not move overly fast as you try and find somewhere safe to go. Ethan holds on to his phone as he still has some friends back at base.

A slight bug in the game play as a character I encounter manages to walk through a wall in order to attack me. This was a one off incident during our time playing the game. Ethan manages to get hold of another gun, hinting that there will be an occasion coming up where he needs to use it.

Exploring the environment is made all the more challenging as enemies turn off the lights and use the environment to their advantage. During the game play it did feel a bit like I was going around in circles, but there was enough to keep me interested. Some backtracking is required to collect the required items, however, there always seems to be a weapon close to hand when the need for combat arises.

The sound files in the game are realistic and certainly enhance the game play.

At some points in the game it is tricky to know what you should be doing, but the game will lead you in the right direction. It proves a little challenging to investigate and attack enemies at the same time. If anything, I'd like more of the investigation and less of the combat.

Although enjoyable to play, it does feel a little drawn out at times. For an eleven year old game it still holds up today with both action and scares. For anyone who wants to live the life of an FBI agent on the run, this game will be right up your alley!